Today's plenary session consisted of more debating, but not much action. Thankfully, one item was put to rest that had remained open from yesterday's session.
After much deliberation and an overnight 'sleep on it' message last night from Madame Chair, the countries finally reached consensus today on the proposed recommendations presented by the U.K. regarding Whale Killing Methods & Associated Welfare Issues.
Let's back up to yesterday's discussion on WKM & AWI recommendations:
- The U.K. presented a paper, which included recommendations the intercessional working group on welfare created. They stated that the U.K. has always been a huge proponent of animal welfare, and therefore hopes the IWC will incorporate a variety of issues pertaining to welfare (ship strikes, marine debris, acoustic noise, strandings) - rather than only welfare issues in regards to direct killing of whales. They conveyed their hopes that the recommendations would be immediately adopted by consensus.
- The floor opened for discussions.
- Norway used the 'cultural differences' explanation for their decision to not support the welfare issues raised by the workshops and ad-hoc working group.
- Then, Japan stated its support and mutual concern in general with animal welfare and whale killing times. However, Japan stated it has and will continue to provide data and participate in discussions in NAMMCO, but not to the IWC due to interest groups and NGOs using only their "worst" data points, as if it represents the whole picture.
The statements from Norway and Japan were to be expected; however the statement that followed from the Russian Federation left me scratching my head.
- The Russia Federation tried to make the argument that welfare is a philosophical issue and that since there isn't even a definition of death in humans, let alone whales, how do you define when and if a whale is dead in the sea?
The item did not reach consensus, so the U.K. decided to keep the agenda item open for further consultations with the opposing countries. Later that evening the U.K. uploaded a revised paper for discussion, which basically split the whaling and non-whaling issues, appeasing the whaling countries.
"Fast-forward" to today's plenary:
The proposal was adopted by consensus!