Update Sunday June 27: Whaling Commission meeting ends without formal agreement. See BBC News report.
Right now, the International Whaling Commission is meeting in Morocco for a final vote on a proposal that would legalize commercial whale hunting for the first time since 1986. Delegates attending from 88 countries are debating the fate of the whales; in all likelihood your country’s representatives are sitting at the big table. In the past, several countries, unhappy about the moratorium on whaling withdrew from membership. [My own Canada? — could find no mention in today’s Globe & Mail, Canada’s self-styled “national” newspaper). The outcome rests on whose voices are heard most clearly in the final hours: the pro-whaling lobby or the world’s people?
At the whale summit in Morocco, an Avaaz team is setting up billboards, front-page newspaper ads, and a giant, constantly-updating petition counter — all to ensure that delegates, from the moment they step off the plane until they cast their votes, will see from our explosive numbers that the world will not accept legal whale slaughter.
Citizen pressure is our best hope — and it’s working. The whaling lobby expected to win easily, but thanks to actions like ours, champions of the ban are standing strong. It was a worldwide social movement in the 1980s that led to the commercial whaling ban we’re now protecting. Access to the talks is being limited, so this powerful petition campaign is a vital channel of worldwide pressure in the final hours of negotiations.
Let’s deliver 1.5 million signatures inside the talks before it’s too late! — sign now and spread the word:
Inform yourself: Click for background on the International Whaling Commission; “Under Pressure, Commission Discusses Lifting Whaling Ban” in New York Times, June 22, 2010; “Will Commercial Whaling Soon Become Legal?” in DER SPIEGEL (English site, June 21, 2010); “IWC whaling proposal ‘offensive” in New Zealand Herald; “Flights, girls and cash buy Japan whaling votes” in Times of London; IWC Chairman defends whaling proposal; “Nations Push To Develop New Whale-based Products” – anticipating the end of the whaling ban, whaling nations planning whale-based products including golf balls and detergent. image: english edition DER SPIEGEL 25/2010.