Subject: IWC: An Intuitive Response to the IWC/Makah whaling resumption (fwd)

mike williamson (
Wed, 29 Oct 1997 13:45:54 -0500 (EST)

Subject: An Intuitive Response to the IWC/Makah whaling resumption

Thanks to David Smith at Breach Marine Protection for his continued,
dedicated efforts on behalf of the California Gray whales.

October 17, 1997

For Immediate Release    Contact:  D.J. Schubert (202-588-5206) (US)
                                                   Jon Lovvorn (202-588-5206)
                                                    Sue Arnold - (Aust)
                                                    David Smith - (UK)



     Today, in federal district court in Washington, D.C., Congressman
Jack Metcalf, Australians for Animals, Breach Marine Protection, a
Makah tribal elder, and others filed suit against Commerce Secretary
Daley and other government officials to stop the government from
allowing the Makah Tribe to slaughter whales.  The lawsuit claims that
the U.S. governmentth ongoing efforts to facilitate Makah whaling in or
near the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary violates several
federal environmental laws, including the National Environmental
Policy Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and the Whaling
Convention Act.

     A U.S. government delegation is currently attending the
International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Monaco in order to
solicit an IWC quota of gray whales for the Makah.  The quota would
permit the Makah to kill or maim up to 34 gray whales over the next
four years.  The diverse coalition of Plaintiffs contend that the
government, through the National Marine Fisheries Service, has failed
to properly evaluate the environmental impacts of this action as
required under both U.S. and International law.  Several Plaintiffs,
including Congressman Metcalf, have joined a cadre of animal and
environmental protection organizations, and several Makah Tribal
elders, who have traveled to Monaco to oppose the government's plan.

     "The U.S. Government has made a whale of a mistake in pursuing
this ludicrous proposal," claims Congressman Metcalf.  "It is shameful
that the United States would endorse a proposal which is not only
illegal but which flies in the face of the values, interests, and
desires of the majority of U.S. citizens who believe that whales
should be protected not persecuted," Metcalf added.

     Opposition to the proposal is not limited to the U.S., but
includes individuals and organizations from around the world,
including many members of the Makah Tribe.  Indeed, out of 71 comments
submitted to NMFS on this proposal, 69 were strenuously opposed to
allowing the Makah to begin whaling.
     Alberta Thompson, a Makah Tribal elder, who is also a plaintiff
in the lawsuit, is staunchly opposed to her own Tribe's actions and
claims that there is no traditional basis or subsistence need for
Makah whaling in 1990s.  In her comments to NMFS, Ms. Thompson stated
that, "All that remains is the desire to kill.  Not for subsistence,
we do not need the whale meat to survive.  We have become pawns in the
global struggle to resume commercial whaling operations by countries
like Norway and Japan.  Our culture will be the mask behind which the
Japanese and Norwegian whalers will profit."
     Sue Arnold, President of Australians for Animals, asserts "Whales
are not inanimate objects who are there for human use and
exploitation."  "These magnificent and highly intelligent animals
deserve our compassion, sympathy, and complete protection, not to be
chased, harpooned, shot with military rifles, and ultimately cut up
into parts for human consumption," states Arnold.

     "Whaling is inherently brutal, inhumane, and unethical," adds
Dave Smith, Director of Breach Marine Protection, a U.K. based whale
protection organization.  "If whales die as a result of this proposal
then their blood and their immense suffering and pain is on the hands
of the Clinton Administration and the federal agency bureaucrats who
endorse this brutal slaughter," concludes Smith.
     Congressman Metcalf, who traveled to Monaco at his own expense,
will participate in a press conference on October 18 in Monaco, along
with musician and songwriter Julian Lennon, to express their
opposition to the Makah whaling proposal and to deliver a letter,
signed by 43 of Metcalfths Congressional Colleagues, urging the IWC to
reject the proposed whaling quota.