Whaling Commission rejects ban

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) rejected a call to end the commercial killing of whales Tuesday despite pleas by conservations who say the species faces extinction within 10 years.

The IWC voted 13-9 with two abstentions in favor of banning hunting, but the measure fell short of the required 75 percent vote by the 24-nation body. A move to call a moratorium in two years' time -- to give economies time to adjust to the loss of whaling revenues and jobs -- returned the same vote and also failed.

Pro-whaling nations, led by Japan and the Soviet Union, argued that the size of the world's whale population has been underestimated by conservationists and that there are plenty of whales to sustain commercial killing.

The United States, France, and the Netherlands, which proposed the moratorium , wanted to indefinite ban on killing so that the population could be assessed in detail and decisions made as to whether whaling could continue in any form.

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