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What Does Obama Have Against Whales?

Japan kills hundreds of whales annualy for "scientific research".

Before a moratorium on commercial whaling was adopted 25 years ago, on average an estimated 38,000 whales were being killed each year. Since the moratorium, that number has dropped to about 1,240, and whale populations have begun, little by little, to rebound. While the system is not perfect – see Whale Wars on the Discovery Channel that chronicles the Sea Shepherd Society’s attempts to stop Japanese whaling – whales now have a chance at survival. However recent administration moves have put into jeopardy the entire whale species, overturning 25 years of successful conservation efforts to save the whales.

Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney and director at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Los Angeles published a thoughtful Op-Ed in today’sLA Times:

The Obama administration argues that the [International] whaling moratorium should be suspended because it has loopholes that are being illegally exploited by Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic whalers. They believe that after 25 years of conflict within the International Whaling Commission, commercial whaling should be legalized in the hope that, by bringing the killing out into the open through agreed-upon quotas, a consensus eventually will emerge in support of a phase-out of whaling altogether.

America should be concerned. The Obama administration is at best misguided upending a course set 25 years ago to protect the whales. They are not working with natural constituents and supporters that put them into office. They are willing to make sacrifices to a very vulnerable group, in the hope that it will bring influence in other areas. Basically this amounts to appeasement, is dangerous for America and the world. Does this all sound eerily familiar?

The Sea Shepherd Society, Greenpeace, NRDC, and other groups are untied in opposing this move by Obama to renew commercial whaling. These groups rarely agree, but they all realize that this latest affront to conservation is dangerous and must be stopped.

You can send your own note to the White House if you want via Greenpeace

Whale Wars

Meanwhile, while we are lighting our menorah for Chanukah, there are brave people trying to stop Japanese whalers in the South Seas.

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The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin closed in on one of the vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet at 0730 Hours GMT (1930 Hours Sydney Time) on December 26th off the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory north of the Mawson Peninsula.

The Kaiko Maru emerged from dense fog in front of the Steve Irwin. The Sea Shepherd crew pursued and delivered 10 bottles of rotten butter and 15 bottles of a methyl cellulose and indelible dye mixture.

“That is one stinky slippery ship,” said Sea Shepherd 2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden.

The Japanese ship was ordered out of the territorial waters of Australia by Australian citizen Jeff Hansen from Perth, Western Australia. The message was delivered in Japanese.

Animal Planet has been airing a series on last year’s Whale Wars. It is gripping and interesting TV, most of all because this entire drama is usually so far away. With the TV reality show, on TV, on YouTube, and online, the drama to save the world’s whales has never before been so tangible.

Seeing the carcasses of these majestic creatures dragged bleeding through the waters onto the Japanese ships makes a lasting impression.

We need to stop whale killing by commercial ships – it serves no purpose other than continued decimation of the largest mammal on Earth. Native peoples that consume small numbers of whales are not the problem – it is the Japanese. They are the ONLY country that refuses to ban whaling.