Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obama, Say NO to Commercial Whaling!

It has been horrifying, to say the least, to read the recent news reports indicating that the United States is actually going to be proposing a deal that would suspend a ban on commercial whaling! What??!! It's true...But there is no justification for commercial whaling. None. Nada. Nil. There should be no discussion on this. Greenpeace has a petition that I urge you all to sign. You can find the petition here.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare also has a petition campaign here.

This is what Greenpeace says about it:

If you’re a whale (and, we’re guessing that you’re not) public enemy number one to you right now is President Obama. It’s hard to believe, but unfortunately very true. The Obama Administration is proposing a deal that would re-open commercial whaling for the first time in over two decades.

President Obama has been backing away from his promise to save the whales and instead moving towards a deal that would benefit corrupt Japanese business ventures.

Tell President Obama that this is outrageous! Commercial whaling is cruel and unacceptable. We WILL NOT stand by and watch commercial whaling paint our oceans red with the blood of whales.

On Earth Day Philip Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA was in Washington, D.C. and wrote this on the Huffington Post about meeting up with the President:

"Look, I love whales," said the President with a smile as he shook my hand.

Yesterday, on Earth Day, I thought I would be calling on the President to push legislation that would actually solve the climate crisis. No such luck. Instead, I found myself on the national mall leading a march on the White House to stop the President from his back room attempts to undo the 35 year moratorium on whaling.

Later that afternoon, I was invited to the White House to meet with the President. I asked my team what I should ask the President. The funniest suggestion was to give him a fist bump and say "drill, baby drill." As much as I wanted that on film, I decided to ask him about the reversal of his written campaign promise to Greenpeace to end commercial whaling.

He walked person to person, saying hello, as advocate after advocate threw him softball questions. I shook the President's hand, and said:

"Mr. President, I am Phil Radford from Greenpeace. We are concerned that your administration is overturning the ban on whaling."

"I know" he replied. "I've seen your ads in the papers."

"Great," I replied. "What is your plan to change your administration's position?

"Look," said the president, sounding like his Saturday Night Live doppelganger, "I love whales. I will do what I can to protect them."

"Will you reverse your administration's position?" I asked.

The President responded "Oh come on, don't lobby me here right now..."

I'd made our point. There was no point in lobbying the President more. After all, Earth Day should remind us that lobbying played a minor role in securing the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and ban on commercial whaling. People taking action made the difference. The 200 million people in the streets on the first Earth Day are who brought about the change. We'll be in the streets again until President Obama lives up to his written promise to end commercial whaling.~ Philip Radford

Here's the press release from the Natural Resources Defense Council last week on this:

Proposal to Legalize Commercial Whale Hunting Released
U.S.-Led Deal Would Suspend 25-Year-Old Ban on Whaling

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2010) -- Today the International Whaling Commission announced a draft proposal that would legalize commercial whaling for the first time in a generation. In 1986, after two centuries of whaling pushed whales to near extinction, the whaling commission banned commercial whaling worldwide. The draft proposal will be voted on in June.

The Natural Resources Defense Council believes the 1986 whaling moratorium to be one of the 20th century’s most iconic conservation victories. Unfortunately, the United States has voiced support for the dangerous new proposal to overturn the international moratorium, claiming it will rein in Japan, Iceland and Norway’s annual killings currently in defiance of international law. The Obama Administration must formally decide whether to support the proposal at the IWC meeting in Agadir, Morocco in June.

Following is a statement from Joel Reynolds, senior attorney and director of NRDC’s marine mammal protection program:

“Whales are among the most magnificent creatures ever to inhabit the Earth. This deal would legalize their slaughter, and there is no ethical, moral, political or economic justification for it. Obama Administration officials portray the United States as leading an effort that would be a “step forward” for the whales, but this deal isn’t a step forward at all. It is a step backward, to a time when it was acceptable to kill whales for profit.”

“The moratorium has done more to save whales than the revival of commercial whaling ever could. We will do everything we can to stop it – and to persuade the Obama Administration that it should too.”


Japan, Iceland and Norway have killed roughly 30,000 whales since the moratorium was introduced in 1986. In Japan’s case, the killings have been justified under the guise of “scientific research.” Under the deal being considered by the whaling commission, hunting would be legally sanctioned. Prior to the 1986 whaling moratorium, roughly 38,000 whales were killed annually between 1945 and 1986, compared with an average of 1,240 whales killed per year after the moratorium (1987 onwards).

The deal would suspend the moratorium on commercial whaling for 10 years and reward Japan, Norway and Iceland for years of defying international law. It could also open the door to whaling by other countries; Korea has already stated its interest in resuming whaling.

In addition, the deal does not base catch limits on science, gives no guarantees that the whaling nations won’t continue to whale under legal loopholes, and breathes life into an otherwise dying industry. The deal also acknowledges that countries could not reach a compromise that would prevent whaling nations from trading in whale meat or products. Under the deal, hunters will be permitted to kill humpback, minke, fin, sperm, sei and Bryde’s, whale species.


  1. Signed! Thanks for keep us aware of this atrocity.

  2. Hi Geoffrey, thank you for supporting the whales!