In a letter to President Obama dated March 31, 2016, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and the Humane Society of the United States called for an end to Japan’s commercial whaling and urged the U.S. federal government to take additional steps to address this critical issue.

“During the last several years, Japan has flouted international law and world opinion concerning whaling, without any meaningful diplomatic consequences, and the situation is getting worse,” the letter states. “The United States is well-positioned to lead a comprehensive effort to persuade Japan to abandon commercial whaling as an anachronism that is imprudent, unnecessary for food security, and economically unsound.” This timely request was sent today to President Obama in a joint letter signed by Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld and Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently visiting Washington, D.C. for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. The joint letter is a product of a recently announced partnership between SeaWorld and HSUS focused on the health of our oceans and the animals that call them home. SeaWorld and HSUS are working together to protect fish and marine mammals, promote healthy oceans and increase the use of sustainable seafood. The letter urges the United States and Japan to view this new partnership, which required a difficult decision by both organizations, as an example of working together for the benefit of the environment and marine life. “The United States is uniquely positioned to engage Japan in the same way, for still greater benefit,” Manby and Pacelle conclude.

The letter’s recommendations for action by the US federal government include:

  • The U.S. delegation to the IWC taking a stronger stand against whaling in the October 2016 meeting and detailing actions the United States will consider if whaling persists;
  • The U.S. government advancing the case against commercial whaling in all trade agreements; and
  • The U.S. Commerce Department carrying out an extensive survey of Japan’s assets to prepare for a new Pelly certification.

Japan’s whaling fleet recently returned from the Antarctic with a take of 333 minke whales—103 males and 230 females, more than 2/3 of whom were pregnant. In March 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan’s previous “research” whaling in the Southern Ocean was illegal and in contravention of the 1982 moratorium on commercial whaling adopted by the International Whaling Commission. The United States joined more than 30 nations in a December 2015 démarche calling upon Japan to end scientific whaling. The HSUS and its global arm, Humane Society International, have been participating in the global effort to end commercial whaling for many decades.

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