VANCOUVER, October 11, 2002 - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) has sent a letter to President George W. Bush requesting that his government reconsider reported plans to conduct a special meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The meeting scheduled to take place in Cambridge, UK on October 14th will attempt to reverse the US failure at the IWC meeting held earlier this year in Japan, to obtain an aboriginal quota for Bowhead Whales.


The proposal was to increase the shared US / Russia quota to 280 bowhead whales to be landed during the years 2003 - 2006, with no more than 67 whales struck in any year (and up to 15 unused strikes may be carried over each year). By way of a blatant double standard, the US has repeatedly criticized Canada for its annual Bowhead Whale hunt of one animal.

The Humane Society of Canada believes that conducting such a vote will adversely affect the IWC, other treaties, animals and the environment.

"We believe that if the United States asks for such special consideration or conducts an IWC postal vote then they will be responsible for opening a Pandora’s box that will undermine the treaty itself and other international treaties, such as the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)," states Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director.

HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan, who has long participated in such international treaty negotiations, is deeply concerned that if the US asks for special consideration that such a vote will open the door for Japan, and other countries, to cast similar votes when decisions don’t go their way.

"The Japanese and her proxy nations will cast IWC votes in favour of the United States’ request to reconsider the aboriginal quota, and the quota will be granted," predicts O’Sullivan. "The ink will barely be dry on the paper, when Japan and her proxy nations will then call for special IWC meetings or postal votes of their own to reconsider their own request for an aboriginal quota - and in the future on any other matter which does not go their way at such meetings".

"Japan’s next step will be to marshal her more numerous proxy nations at other international treaties, such as the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, and they will use such special meetings and postal votes as a devastating tactic to try and reverse decisions on issues ranging from elephant ivory to the trade in whale meat to the sale of turtle shells".

As we predicted several months ago in our letter to President Bush, on Aug 2/2002, without warning Japan asked that their coastal whaling quota request be put on the agenda for the special meeting in Cambridge.

The Humane Society of Canada strongly urges the United States to resolve their issues with the Makah and others who hunt whales in a way that does not undermine the IWC and other international treaties to which the United States is a signatory.

"We believe that such hunts conducted outside of the scope of the International Whaling Commission by the United States or any other country for that matter, are illegal. We are in the process of preparing a complaint under the NAFTA Environmental Accords against the United States and Canada for their participation in such hunts. Japan will also feature prominently in our complaint because of their role inflaming the situation by providing logistical, financial and technical support for such hunts," said O’Sullivan.

A copy of the letter to President Bush can be found here

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[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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