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) (US) Sue Arnold - email@example.com (Aust) David Smith - BreachEnv@aol.com (UK) CONGRESSMAN METCALF LEADS CHARGE IN LAWSUIT TO HARPOON GRAY WHALE HUNTING BY MAKAH TRIBE 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.