TORONTO, May 5 1999 - In a scathing three page letter that doesn't pull any punches, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) has accused the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister David Anderson of lying to millions of Canadians. At issue is whether or not Anderson had issued a licence last year to Americans to chase a grey whale into waters off the coast of British Columbia and then kill the animal.
At the time, Anderson and DFO officials told HSC Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan the they never issued a licence. However, in an open letter to Anderson, he reveals that his group's investigation proved otherwise: "... This was and is, as you are aware, a bald-faced lie. Documents obtained by The Humane Society of Canada under the Access to Information Act clearly show that, in fact, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had prepared multiple licences for the Makah to rely upon..."
"Calling you or your officials liars is not something I do lightly. However, in over thirty years of dealings with governments here in Canada and around the world, I cannot recall an instance where I have encountered this degree of breathtaking dishonesty..." I look forward to a prompt response to this letter, if you are capable of one that bears some relation to the truth," concluded O'Sullivan in his letter to Anderson.
The hunt is illegal, and Anderson's actions and those taken by his officials would further violate at least three international wildlife treaties to which Canada is a signatory. Anderson would also directly be involved in breaking Canadian criminal laws relating to restricted weapons, conspiracy, public safety, cruelty to animals and immigration laws. Finally, it would also pave the way for the resumption of commercial whaling in Canada -- something O'Sullivan says he will do everything in his power to prevent.
"Right now, grey whales and their calves are travelling northwards through the waters of Washington State and British Columbia. We are aware of efforts by the American whalers to try and kill them again. We have no intention of allowing David Anderson or anyone else to violate Canadian and international laws," warned O'Sullivan.
Last fall, when he ignored their concerns, O'Sullivan filed a criminal complaint against Anderson with the RCMP who later said they found no evidence of wrongdoing. However, O'Sullivan points out that no whale was ever killed and intends to present the RCMP with this new evidence. And warn them that they better not be shielding Anderson just because he's a Cabinet Minister and because RCMP officers were involved in some of the meetings with the American whalers.
And he has a final message for Anderson: "If you believe Canadians are going to allow a bunch of trigger happy Americans to cross our border, firing an anti-tank gun at whales, you need to have your head examined," said O'Sullivan.
Note: The Americans intend to use a dangerous and powerful .50 cal anti-tank gun, which is a restricted weapon in Canada, to kill the whale. The three international treaties include CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species), IWC (International Whaling Commission) and 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.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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