Gore's response to whaling flap
- SEA SHEPHERD INTERNATIONAL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2000
GORE DEFENSE OF U.S. POSITION ON WHALING DOES NOT CONVINCE
Response to Sea Shepherd omits details on next week's crucial IWC vote
The Gore 2000 Campaign has disavowed yesterday's statements to whale
activists that indicated the United States would approve the attempt to
ratify the "Revised Management Scheme," overturning the global ban on
commercial whale hunting. A Gore campaign worker had told a Washington State
activist that the Vice President would be in favor of eliminating the global
ban so that whaling activities could be 'better regulated.' The
International Whaling Commission is meeting in Adelaide, Australia, next
week to deliberate on the state of current protections for whales, which are
coming under increasing pressure worldwide.
In a statement sent to Sea Shepherd International today, Gore said "I
strongly support the international ban on commercial whaling," and
maintained that he was "a leading advocate in the creation of landmark
sanctuary protections for whales under the IWC. As President, I will
continue to advocate new sanctuary protections under that body."
The statements the Gore campaign now disavows as unofficial and unauthorized
closely echoed the recent sentiments of IWC Secretary Ray Gambell, who urged
removal of the ban in favor of expanded "regulated" commercial whaling in a
June 12 BBC interview.
In an October 5, 1993, memo to the Prime Minister of Norway, Gore promised
"We are willing to join you in working in good faith within the IWC to
complete all aspects of the Revised Management Scheme in 1994." Gore secured
provisional adoption of the hunt protocol at the May 1994 meeting of the
IWC, creating a furor in the environmental community.
"The Vice President's support for the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in 1994
was a quid pro quo deal that appeased Norway, avoided mandated sanctions for
their ongoing whale kills, and didn't protect any whales," said Sea Shepherd
President Paul Watson. "Mr. Gore's statement today had nothing to say on the
main point we asked him to clarify - the U.S. position on the Revised
Management Scheme - and his record is not encouraging."
"Al Gore's statement is a fluffy way of saying the Clinton/Gore
Administration will continue to work to undo 30 years of conservation
efforts, as it has been doing since they took office," said U.S. Citizens
Against Whaling founder Sandra Abels, who spoke with the Gore 2000 campaign
on Thursday. "Actions count, and we have seen nothing from Mr. Gore to
counter his campaign worker's statement to me that there are plenty of
whales out there for the killing."
Gore recently served as the Administration's champion for the revived gray
whale hunt of Washington's Makah Indian tribe, claiming the tribe has a
"subsistence need" for whale meat, which the IWC has refused to recognize.
Earlier this month, an appeals court found the federal government's approval
of the Makah hunt to be in violation of the National Environmental Policy
Act due to probable bias and ordered the preparation of a new Environmental
"We are receiving reports from this week's preliminary IWC committee
meetings that the delegations are under heavy pressure from the United
States and are being instructed to 'sit on their hands' rather than cite the
U.S. for unilaterally permitting the Makah whale hunt," said Sea Shepherd
Information Director Andrew Christie. "We don't need to know what Mr. Gore
promises to do to protect the whales if he's elected President; we need to
know what he's going to do next Monday."
The International Whaling Commission will meet in full session July 3 - 6.
Andrew Christie, SSI 360-370-5500
Mark Messenbaugh, Gore 2000 Inc. 615-340-3279
Sandra Abels, USCAW 206-361-0736
Al Gore's statement on whaling:
I strongly support the international ban on commercial whaling in the IWC.
I am pleased that, thanks in part to the leadership of the Clinton-Gore
Administration, we were able to defeat "back door" efforts by other nations
(e.g. Norway and Japan) at the April 10-20, 2000 meeting of the Convention
for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to resume commercial
whaling by removing protections for whales in the CITES. You have my
commitment that, as President, I will fight to maintain the ban on
commercial whaling, and to block any effort to decrease protections for
whale species protected by the CITES. I will also continue to fight
against any efforts by Japan and others to expand "lethal research" whaling
under the scientific research loophole in the IWC.
I would also point out that I was a leading advocate in the creation of
landmark sanctuary protections for whales under the IWC. As President, I
will continue to advocate new sanctuary protections under that body.
Paid for by Gore 2000, Inc., Nashville, TN 37203.
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Sea Shepherd International
P.O. Box 2616
Friday Harbor, WA 98250