US Congress lobbies Bush to sanction Japan over whales
Seventy six members of the US Congress have written to the President of the United States urging him to condemn Japan’s whale hunt in Antarctica and asked that he consider imposing trade sanctions on Japan for undermining the moratorium on commercial whaling.
Humane Society International’s US office, which is the world’s largest animal protection organisation and speaks for over 10 million Americans (1 in 30), has applauded the letter and reiterated the request put to President Bush.
The Japanese whalers, who left for Antarctica on November 18, are side-stepping global commercial whaling laws by claiming to be part of a scientific fleet. This expedition’s real goal is to kill more than 1000 whales for their meat, including endangered fin and humpback whales.
Under the ‘Pelly Amendment’ to the US Fisherman’s Protective Act, the US is able to certify and sanction a country that is undermining international conservation or fisheries law. When the US Government has certified Japan on previous occasions it has been very effective.
“A lethal scientific study is not a credible justification nor is it the true purpose of this hunt,” said Rep. Gonzalez. “Regardless of the legality, I believe the Bush administration should take a stronger stance on Japan’s undermining of an important international agreement; the American people are counting on us to protect these fragile creatures.”
“Japan is trying to revive an outdated and cruel industry by its reckless assault on the humpback whale, a vulnerable marine species and a favourite of whale watchers worldwide," said Kitty Block, HSI vice president in Washington. "This administration must send a strong message of condemnation now, and not wait for Japan’s commercial whaling fleet to return to port with the bodies of hundreds of whales destined for supermarket shelves.”