SANTA MONICA—Women and men who call themselves “whale-huggers” converged on Sunday, May 23, at the famous Santa Monica Pier. The animal rights activists plan to restart a crusade to save the whales from being killed. These people had believed that they had won the battle previously, so this time around their slogan is, “Save the Whales Again.” This group and others have fought since the 1970s to the hunt for whales in the Pacific.
On Sunday approximately 120 people attended the protest. The group is protesting the proposal to lift the 1986 commercial whaling moratorium, which also sets limits on the three nations which still allow legal whaling. Those countries are Japan, Norway and Iceland. The proposal aims to reduce over the next 10 years the amount of whales killed, but opponents state it would only cause rogue actions and legitimize the hunting of endangered species. The group is targeting the Obama administration for helping to draft the proposal. In 2008, then candidate Obama made promises to this group to strengthen the moratorium.
Records show the ban has reduced by over 80 percent the number of whales being killed, from a record 38,000 a year to around 2,000 currently. The group that calls itself “whale-huggers” see this as a groundbreaking achievement and want the ban strengthened, not changed to allow further hunting.
Those who attended were not just residents of the coastal communities but politicians and other notables as well such as Jefferson Wagner, Malibu’s surfing mayor; Dick Russell, author of “Eye of the Whale” and Louie Psihoyos, who directed “The Cove,” which is a documentary on dolphin slaughters.
The group plans further protests. You can find out more about the group’s activities by going to their official website whalehuggers.org.