Humane Society of the U.S. pushes for import sanctions against Iceland
as Iceland begins whaling in defiance of international ban
14th August 2003
Iceland plans to start killing 38 minke whales as early as this Friday. After a 14-year hiatus, Iceland now wants to kill whales in defiance of world opinion and an international ban on the commercial killing of whales.
In response, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal protection and environmental groups are calling on the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, upon confirmation of the first whale killed, to begin the process under which Iceland could face trade sanctions.
In a letter sent today, The HSUS and others are asking Secretary Evans to invoke a U.S. law known as the Pelly Amendment, which requires the Secretary of Commerce to certify to the President when foreign nationals are diminishing the effectiveness of an international conservation program. The President may then authorize the Secretary of Treasury to prohibit the importation of any fish or wildlife products from that nation.
The HSUS and others believe that Iceland's whaling clearly undermines the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the body in place to protect whales. Iceland is circumventing the whaling moratorium by exploiting an unintended loophole in the Convention, which allows "scientific" whaling.
Less than two months ago, the IWC rejected Iceland's so called scientific proposal to kill whales as unnecessary and further called on Iceland to abandon its plans to go whaling. Iceland's stated purpose for killing these whales is to examine the contents of their stomachs in order to prove that whales eat fish. Iceland is trying to prove that a few thousand endangered and threatened whales are to blame for the depleted fish stocks. Globally 75 percent of fish stocks are now over-exploited, this is primarily the result of over-fishing by humans-- not whales.
"We believe that Pelly sanctions are essential to signal to the Icelandic government that United States citizens will not stand idly by as whales are killed," said Patricia Forkan, executive vice president of The HSUS. "We must not tolerate this unnecessary killing of whales."
Other groups that have co-signed the letter sent by The HSUS are the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Island Institute, International Wildlife Coalition, Greenpeace USA, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Cetacean Society International, Environmental Investigation Agency and Monitor International.
The HSUS is the nation's largest animal protection organization with over seven million members and constituents. The HSUS is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife, animals in research and farm animals and sustainable agriculture. For nearly 50 years, The HSUS has protected all animals through legislation, litigation, investigation, education, advocacy and field work. The non-profit organization is based in Washington, D.C. and has 10 regional offices across the country.
Belinda Mager of the Humane Society of the United States,
For more information, visit The HSUS' Web site -- http://www.hsus.org