September 19, 2011
Obama Warns Iceland: Stop Whaling
President Barack Obama informed Congress on September 15 of his decision not to apply trade measures to Iceland for commercial whaling in defiance of the IWC ban on such activity. However, the president did promise Congressional members that this issue continues to receive the highest level of attention.
On July 19, 2011, in response to a Pelly petition filed by HSI, The HSUS and other coalition members, then-Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke certified under the Pelly Amendment that nationals of Iceland are conducting whaling activities that diminish the effectiveness of the IWC conservation program.
This certification triggered a 60-day time period for the president to determine what causes of action his administration would be willing to take in order to stop Iceland’s commercial whaling. The president affirmed that “Iceland’s actions threaten the conservation status of an endangered species and undermine multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales.” Though he chose not to issue trade measures at this time, he did put forward a number of political options designed to force Iceland to stop whaling.
Many of our members called on the president to apply the strongest possible measures. We thank each and every individual who took the time to weigh in on the side of the whales. We also thank the many members of Congress who wrote [PDF] to President Obama encouraging the imposition of tough actions against Iceland.
We are hopeful that the measures offered by the president are sufficient to force an end to Iceland’s inhumane and unsustainable whaling. Whales are already facing significant threats from climate change, marine pollution, ship strikes, etc., and it is irresponsible for industrialized nations such as Iceland to put even greater pressure on these animals by hunting them to supply a luxury food market.
We will continue to campaign and work with the Obama administration and our partners around the globe until Iceland is once and for all out of the bloody business of commercial whaling. Give now to support our efforts.