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Action To Tackle Whale Suffering Endorsed By IWC



Action To Tackle Whale Suffering Endorsed By IWC

The IWC’s shift from ‘whalers’ club’ to whale welfare has been well received by various animal organisations.

Whale welfare is firmly on the agenda as the International Whaling Commission in Slovenia today endorsed plans to assess and address human-induced suffering of cetaceans. The move has been warmly welcomed by animal protection groups including Humane Society International, and fourteen organisations co-signed a statement read to delegates at the meeting in Slovenia. The work endorsed by the IWC today marks the first time an intergovernmental body has recognised a responsibility to take action to protect the welfare of individual animals harmed accidentally in their habitats, in addition to conserving whole species.

Claire Bass, UK Director of Humane Society International, who addressed the IWC on behalf of the groups, said:

“This is an important milestone in the shift of the IWC from its early days as ‘a whalers’ club’ managing the commercial exploitation of cetaceans to prevent species extinction, to a thought leader on work to mitigate serious animal welfare problems. Some of these welfare issues are very serious indeed – cetaceans caught in fishing gear can suffer for hours, days or even a slow death over months, while animals struck by ships or affected by underwater noise can suffer agonising injuries. It’s hugely encouraging to see the IWC pivot more towards compassionate conservation on this its 70th anniversary.”


It’s hugely encouraging to see the IWC pivot more towards compassionate conservation on this its 70th anniversary.


At its 65th IWC meeting in 2014, the Commission adopted by consensus a revised and updated Animal Welfare Action Plan. This plan formally broadened the scope of the IWC’s welfare considerations to encompass incidental threats to cetacean welfare, including entanglements in fishing gear, ship strikes, whale watching, pollution and other environmental concerns. In addition, the Commission agreed a new workstream on strandings response including the appointment of an IWC global strandings network coordinator.

The IWC’s intersessional welfare working group, led by the UK, held a workshop in May 2016 to develop a welfare assessment tool which would provide the IWC with a scientific, modern and holistic approach to understanding and measuring animal welfare. Once completed, it will allow the Commission to assess the welfare impacts of various human activities in the whales’ environment, with a view to recommending mitigation measures.

The IWC also discussed the welfare of hunted whales. HSI expresses concern that whales are subjected to enormous suffering and further observes that Japan, Norway and Iceland do not share data on times to death with the IWC.

HSI’s Claire Bass continued :

“The whaling nations would like the cruelty of whaling to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ so it’s perhaps not surprising that many of them choose not to share their grim death statistics with the IWC. Commercial whaling is a brutal anachronism – the use of exploding missiles on fully conscious animals simply cannot not be sanctioned by the international community as an acceptable means of acquiring meat for commercial sale and consumption.”

The statement co-signed by animal groups reads:

“Thank you Mr Chair. My name is Claire Bass and I am the UK Director of Humane Society International. I speak today on behalf of fourteen observer organisations and will provide the list to the rapporteurs.

We wish to congratulate the United Kingdom, and all members of the intersessional welfare working group, for the progress made since the IWC’s Welfare Action Plan was agreed in 2014. This is an ambitious programme of work and we believe it to be the first time that an intergovernmental body has committed to systematically assess and articulate welfare problems caused incidentally by human activities in wild animals’ habitats. The Cetacean Welfare Assessment Tool under development provides a holistic approach, taking into account cetaceans’ behavioural and social needs in addition to their physical well-being. This enhanced understanding will enable the IWC to create effective mitigation responses to human-induced threats, protecting individual animals as well as their populations and species. I am pleased to announce that several NGOs wish to make financial contributions of at least $3,000 towards the delivery of workstreams 1 and 2 in IWC’s Animal Welfare Action Plan, including the strandings and disentanglement response programmes.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express the long-held position of many NGOs, representing many millions of people around the world, that the use of exploding missiles on fully conscious animals should not be sanctioned by the international community as an acceptable means of acquiring meat for commercial sale and consumption. Despite the best efforts of Norway and some other countries to improve killing methods, there will always remain large margins for error which result in extreme, prolonged and unacceptable animal suffering.

In this the 30th anniversary of the whaling moratorium we celebrate that many tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of whales have been spared this suffering. We urge Parties to recognise the ongoing value of the moratorium not just in saving species, but in protecting individual animals from harm.

Statement supported by: Animal Welfare Institute, Cetacean Society International, Danish Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals, Dolphin Connection, Environmental Investigation Agency, Humane Society International, Iruka and Kujira (Dolphin and Whale) Action Network, Fundación Cethus, International Fund for Animal Welfare, OceanCare, Pro Wildlife, Whaleman Foundation, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, World Animal Protection.”

In the two year intersessional period ahead, the welfare working group will further develop an innovative Cetacean Welfare Assessment Tool, as well as develop and build action plans to provide rescue responses to both stranded and entangled whales.



Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness



Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move



Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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