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TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

SECTION THREE Whaling in

SECTION THREE Whaling in the twenteth cemntury WHALE WATCH.org Section Three Whaling in the twenty-first century 12 A comparison between slaughterhouse standards and methods used during whaling 5092 13 Ethics and whaling under special permit 50104 14 Legal precedents for whale protection 50111 SECTION ONE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 91

92 A REVIEW OF THE WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF MODERN WHALING ACTIVITIES 12 A comparison between slaughterhouse standards and methods used during whaling Philip Lymbery, Director of Communications, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), London, UK. Philippa Brakes, Marine Consultant, c/o WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society), Chippenham, UK. Kitty Block, Special Counsel to the UN & Treaties Dept., the Humane Society of the United States (the HSUS), Washington DC, US. When animals are slaughtered for food it is considered important in many societies that, for ethical reasons, the process used does not cause unnecessary suffering (Wotton, 2001). A killing method that is truly painless and causes minimal distress to the animal can be classified as humane slaughter. The following chapter examines the regulation of slaughter and methodologies used in the slaughter of livestock and compares these with methods used during the slaughter of whales. An assessment is made of the welfare impact of the different methodologies employed. The guiding principle for the humane slaughter of livestock is the achievement of an immediate state of unconsciousness in the animal, followed by rapid progression to death, and this ‘best practice’ principle is enforced by legislation in many countries. In a study by Gregory and Lowe (1999), it was found that in the majority of countries reviewed, there was a requirement for the humane treatment of animals prior to, and during slaughter, with emphasis on induction of insensibility with a stunning procedure in order to avoid suffering during the slaughter process. Modern whaling activities fall outside current livestock legislation. Nonetheless, a legal argument can be made that there is an emerging customary international legal requirement for the humane slaughter and treatment of commercially slaughtered animals for human consumption. The meat from whaling operations, whether it is commercial, aboriginal subsistence or ‘special permit’, is ultimately intended for human consumption. Even when cetaceans are killed during ‘research’ activities, the meat is made available for human consumption. It is, therefore, legitimate to consider the welfare implications of whale killing methods alongside slaughter practices for other ‘food animals’. National and international regulation of welfare at slaughter The international community is showing a growing care and concern for the general welfare of animals. An enforced humane killing standard for animals whose meat is sold commercially is becoming commonplace. Many states around the world have some type of humane slaughter laws or practices. International organizations, European Union regulation and multi-lateral trade agreements are codifying and improving upon these practices. More specifically, there is an emerging

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