Have Their Krill and Eat It Too
by Alexis Sadoti
March 30, 2010
Yes, here at Greenpeace we are back to saving the whales, and in full force! When people ask me about Greenpeace they say, “how is saving the whales going?” and I always make up something about how that’s not all we do and that they have the stereotype wrong. But not this time, the whales need our help and we are prepared for battle.
Many believe that the whales are protected under a worldwide ban on whaling issued by the International Whaling Commission (IWC)…but there are some devastating loopholes in it. Countries are allowed to file for scientific research permits that allow their whaling to be legalized as Japan has done for their hunting in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. Norway and Iceland simply objected to the ban and continued whaling. But now, the United States delegation of the IWC is supporting a proposal that will restart COMMERCIAL whaling including in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. We are supposed to be saving the whales, not the whaling industry. This would only legitimize whale slaughter rather than phase it out.
But this is an absolutely ridiculous plan of action; it has no scientific merit. Countries would be given quotas on how much whaling they were allowed based on political need; where is the science in that? And to add insult to injury, if adopted, all IWC countries would be forced to financially support commercial whaling, which means taxpayers from countries that oppose commercial whaling would have to support it whether they are for it or not!
We are now asking citizens to call on President Obama to NOT overturn the ban on commercial whaling. As a candidte, President Obama said, “As president, I will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable.” (March 16, 2008 – Greenpeace candidate questionnaire). We have made huge progress in the conservation of our whale friends, but if the U.S officially endorses this proposal, it would be a step back in time to the brutal slaughter of past centuries that have brought so many populations of whales to the edge of extinction.
Let’s just hope Obama keeps his word and lets the whales have their krill and eat it too!