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Staffordshire Whaling furore spouts debate

Secondary pupils from around the country are being invited to Staffordshire in November to discuss the whaling industry.

One teacher and one key stage 3 pupil from selected schools will debate whether the international ban on whaling should be lifted.

The junior whale conference, sponsored jointly by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and Sea Life centres, will be held at Alton Towers theme park. Topics to be discussed range from "scientific" whaling procedures used by countries such as Japan and Norway, to the life history of whales. Pupils will also debate whether whale-watching is a useful conservation activity.

Chris Butler-Stroud, chief executive of the society, said: "If the pro-whaling interests get their way, the world's oceans could soon be opened up to a bloody and cruel slaughter that should have been consigned to history."

Pupils must live near a Sea Life centre to attend and submit a 50-word statement on why they believe whales deserve protection. The closing date is July 20. ab

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