This post was filed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Kerry Branon who was helping to produce video of the event. For more information and to take action, please visit www.ifaw.org/stopthesellout
We had a great turnout yesterday for our Earth Day rally for the whales on the National Mall in Washington DC. Thanks to everyone who was there in person – and in spirit – to help us celebrate Earth Day and our efforts to save our planet’s great whales.
IFAW’s Whale Program Director, Patrick Ramage, was the master of ceremonies for the event, and IFAW President Fred O’Regan gave a rousing speech calling on President Obama to stop the new deal to resume commercial whaling. Actress Kristin Bauer (HBO’s True Blood) and her husband Abri van Straten joined with IFAW staff and our giant inflatable whale to help us spread the word that the whales need to be saved again.
It’s hard to believe that, on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we had to hold a rally to save whales – again – from commercial whaling. But incredibly, on the very day that the world celebrated our beautiful and fragile planet and all its inhabitants, the International Whaling Commission released its new plan to legalize commercial whaling.
The proposal, if adopted, would overturn the 1986 ban on commercial whaling. It would legalize Japan’s whaling in an internationally recognized whale sanctuary around Antarctica…grant new rights to Japan, Iceland, and Norway to kill whales for commercial purposes…and ignore established IWC scientific procedures for estimating sustainable whaling limits.
The plan is to be considered and acted on in June at the IWC’s annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco.
Obama administration officials have portrayed the deal as an effort – led by the United States – that would “end whaling” by Japan, Norway, and Iceland – the three countries that still hunt whales in defiance of international law.
The proposal released today would do no such thing. In fact, it would do precisely the opposite.
“This plan is a whaler’s wish list,” said Ramage. “It throws a lifeline to a dying industry when endangered whale populations face more threats than ever before. This would be a breathtaking reversal of decades of U.S. leadership and conservation progress at the IWC.”
Let’s hope the Obama Administration was paying attention to all of those who joined with us at our Earth Day rally in saying “Stop the Sellout, Save the Whales!”