Immediate immobilisation of a Minke whale using a grenade harpoon requires striking a restricted target area
Approximately 1500 Minke whales are killed annually under permit from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). This hunt supports a modest industry in Norway and in Japan; however, the welfare of whales during hunting and killing is such a cause of concern that in 1980 the IWC formed a sub-group entitled 'Working Group on Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues' devoted to discussing the issue. This commentary suggests that, when using the Norwegian penthrite grenade-tipped harpoon ('Whalegrenade-99'), it is necessary to hit a relatively well-defined target area in order to effect an immediately immobile, and presumed unconscious state in the Minke whale.
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