VANCOUVER, May 17 1999 - Earlier this morning, Makah natives off the coast of Washington State finally got their wish when they harpooned a grey whale and finished the animal off with their .50 calibre anti-tank gun. In the past, the Makah, Canadian natives and other aboriginal politicians have said it is their "cultural right" and that "non-native protestors and the media should mind their own business."

 

The Humane Society of Canada believes that protecting whales from cruelty is everyone's business and native politicians better get used to the idea. As we enter the dawn of the new Millennium, we are moving ever closer to the day when this kind of pointless animal abuse will no longer be tolerated," said HSC Western Regional Director, Al Hickey.

Cruelty to animals isn't anyone's cultural right. The majority of Canadians and millions of people worldwide condemn whaling for the brutal and barbaric practice that it is," said HSC Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan. He says shooting whales with a camera instead of an .50 cal anti-tank gun also makes more sense. Each year, around the world, whale watching operations in 65 countries bring in an estimated $US 504 million.

ast week, his group accused the Makah and their Canadian native counterparts, like the World Council of Whalers based in British Columbia, of being secretly financed and supported by the Japanese Government and whalers who are desperately looking for allies to overcome Japan's image as an environmental outlaw. Japan is also working to reopen commercial whaling, and he says the Government of Canada has done everything in their power to help make this happen. His group is also continuing with their ongoing investigations into former civil servants who once worked for the Canadian Government and who are now employed as lobbyists for the Japanese whalers.

The only thing that stands between whales and people who want to kill them, are average Canadians, just like you and me. Children, women and men from all walks of life. Some native politicians also like to shame and silence their critics by accusing them of being guilty of `cultural genocide.' What absolute nonsense," said O'Sullivan.

He is also convinced that it is a tactic which will backfire on native politicians badly. "Cultural genocide is when one stronger group acts in its own interests to harm or even wipe out a weaker group that can't defend itself. Kind of like exhausted whales and their calves being chased by speed boats, wounded and then killed using high powered 20th century weapons," said an angry O'Sullivan.

While I don't pretend to speak for every Canadian, I can speak on behalf of our 110,000 supporters nationwide. As her calf looks on helplessly, his mother writhing in agony, staining the sea red with her blood, you can be sure that it doesn't make any difference to the whales who pulled the trigger. And it certainly doesn't make any difference to us," said O'Sullivan.

e intends to take this fight to the International Whaling Commission next week. He has also filed formal complaints calling for a series of public investigations into the role played by Minister David Anderson and his Department of Fisheries and Oceans in offering to help the Americans break international wildlife treaties and violate Canadian laws. The complaints have been filed with the RCMP, the Canadian Ethics Counsellor, the Office of the Prime Minister, CITES Secretariat (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) and the IWC Secretariat (International Whaling Commission). He is preparing a formal complaint under the NAFTA Environmental Accords.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

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