06/08/05 World Ocean Day

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For the first time this year, Animal Freinds will mark World Ocean Day

June 8, 2005 is World Ocean Day and it is marked ever since it is created in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. World Ocean Day is an opportunity each year to remind ourselves on the importance of the oceans and their inhabitants and also to warn about the destruction and how we affect them and the life in them.

This year, World Ocean Day focuses its attention on the protection of whales and on the efforts all around the world, including those by Animal Friends, aimed at trying to block the lifting of the world moratorium on whale hunting, which stands in contrast to the interests of rich and developed countries.

Thus, Animal Friends will send a letter to the government of the Republic of Croatia in which they will ask for an immediate accession of Croatia in the International Whaling Commission (IWC). This move was already supported and recommended by the Department for the protection of biological and geographical diversity in the Ministry of Culture. This will enable Croatia to play an active part in the protection of whales, a mammal with no national boundaries, to which every nation has a duty of care. We call all citizens to support the efforts of Croatia to immediately join the IWC.

Honoring the World Ocean Day, in cooperation with the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals), Animal Friends will organize a workshop and a screening of a video, aimed at raising the awareness of citizens, and turning special attention to children who should at an early age realize the importance of oceans and the big responsibility that awaits them in the future.

Thus, on June 8 and 11, beginning at 12 noon, in Varsavska ulica, in front of Europa movie theater, Animal Friends will organize workshops, prize winning games and drawing competitions for children on the theme of sea mammals and their protection. There will also be a display of informative billboards for citizes and educational materials and flyers will be handed out.

Apart from these public events and the letter to the Croatian government, Animal Friends will mark the World Ocean Day on June 8, beginning at 7 P.M., in Mama Club, by a movie projection showing whale hunting, followed by a presentation depicting the killing of sea mammals and fish for human food and profit.

In the last century, two million great whales were killed, leaving some species at the brink of extinction. Methods which were used resulted in slow and painful deaths. Concern over the survival of some whale species led to the world moratorium on commercial whale hunting in 1986. Despite the moratorium, 1,400 whales are killed annually, using methods which haven't changed through the century.

"If we can imagine a horse having two or three explosive spears stuck into its stomach and being made to pull a butcher's truck through the streets of London while it pours blood in the gutter, we shall have an idea of the present method of killing. The gunners themselves admit that if whales could scream the industry would stop, for nobody would be able to stand it." - Dr. Harry D Lillie, who spent a season as ship's physician aboard an Antartic whaling ship

Many fish and mammal populations living in oceans are in rapid decline because of whaling, coastal habitats are destroyed by pollution, while others are disappearing at an alarming speed, and the coral ecosystems are deteriorating.

Everyone should be aware that no matter where we live, we are all influencing the health of oceans, seas and all their inhabitants by our eating habits and our lifestyle.

For more information please visit www.whalewatch.org.

Open letter to the Prime Minister of Croatia

Government of the Republic of Croatia
Att. Prime Minister, Dr. Ivo Sanader
St. Mark Square 2
10000 Zagreb

June 6, 2004

Dear Mr. Sanader,

We adress you on behalf of Animal Friends, the World Society for Protection of Animals (one of its members is Animal Friends) and Whalewatch - a coalition of over 140 animal welfare societies in more than 55 countries. At the present moment, Whalewatch is campaigning to raise the profile of animal welfare within the IWC- International Whaling Commission (the body responsible for the regulation of whaling) and for the upholding of the current moratorium on commercial whaling.

Since Croatia is currently considering membership in the IWC, we would like to encourage this process and stress the urgency of the current situation within the IWC.

Every year new countries join the IWC. The IWC operates a voting system and is essentially a "numbers game." Worryingly, the number of pro-whaling countries joining is increasing year on year. In addition, many middle-minded countries, generally supportive of whale welfare are adopting a compromise position, eager to a certain extent to appease the pro-whaling nations and reach some kind of agreement.

Each year member countries of the IWC meet to discuss whaling issues and propose revisions to whaling within the IWC's competency. By some calculations, pro-whaling nations are becoming ever closer to gaining a majority within the IWC. They, along with several compromise-position countries, are pushing for the adoption of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), a proposed regulatory system that consists of rules, and in many cases guidelines, for managing commercial whaling if the existing moratorium is lifted.

Whalewatch, WSPA and Animal Friends believe that there is no humane way to kill whales in the open sea and that the RMS package is inherently incapable of controlling whaling. Owing to Croatia's international reputation as a conservation-minded country, as demonstrated by Croatia's contribution at CITES and marine organisations such as ACCOBANS, we would welcome your consideration of membership and urge a hasty accession in order for Croatia to actively participate at this year's critical meeting. We sincerely hope that Croatia will join the IWC on a whale welfare and pro-conservation platform, allowing Croatia to play an active role in the protection of whales, a mammal with no national boundaries, to which every nation has a duty of care.

Respectfully yours,

Luka Oman

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