Brits to Stop Saving Stranded Whales

Marine experts say refloating causes suffering and rarely works
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2009 8:30 AM CDT
Brits to Stop Saving Stranded Whales
Rescuers lower a whale into the water at Flinders Bay in an attempt to return it to sea after being beached in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia, Monday, March 23, 2009.    (AP Photo/Department of Environment and Conservation, Emma de Burgh)

Whales who get stuck on British shores will now get a lethal injection instead of a lift back to the ocean, the Independent reports. The policy is backed by marine experts and animal welfare groups as the more humane option, based on new research showing that refloated whales usually die painfully from dehydration and kidney failure before they can make it back to deep sea.

"All the blood samples we've taken have shown the same picture of dehydration, kidney damage and severe muscle damage," a whale expert said. "Every stranded whale should ideally have a vet in assistance. We have a choice either to refloat them as quickly as possible or euthanize them by lethal injection, and that, usually, is the best decision." (More whale stories.)

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