Greenpeace deliver whale to Japanese embassy
19 January 2006
BERLIN – A huge whale delivered to the Japanese embassy in Berlin as part of a Greenpeace anti-whaling protest was removed Thursday less than 24 hours after activists trucked it into the German capital’s city centre from the Baltic Sea.
The 17 metre, 20-ton fin whale – found earlier this week beached on the Baltic coast – was being taken to a museum in the northern city of Stralsund.
Hundreds of people, including school groups, turned up to view the whale which was used by Greenpeace to underline its opposition to Japan’s continued whaling.
Despite a ban on commercial whaling imposed by the International Whaling Commission in 1986, Japan has insisted on hunting whales allegedly for scientific purposes.
“This has been a huge success,” said Greenpeace whale expert Stefanie Werner, adding: “We never thought that so many people would support us.”
Harald Benke, the head of the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund who was tricked by Greenpeace into allowing the whale be transported to Berlin, said he was no longer angry with the group.
“I was unhappy in the beginning and disappointed over the unannounced action by Greenpeace,” Benke said.
Greenpeace had offered to transport the whale to the museum free of charge but had initially claimed it wanted to bring the whale first to Berlin in order for it to be examined and measured.
Benke said he joined Greenpeace in condemning Japanese whaling.
“Under the guise of science hundreds of whales are killed each year by the Japanese,” he said, adding: “At the same time, whaling is only really for commercial purposes: for example to provide delicacies to restaurants.”
Benke praised Greenpeace for dumping the dead whale at the Japanese embassy.
“This fin whale in Berlin did more to combat whaling than a lot of words,” he concluded.
Subject: German news