Adam Ash

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The whales still need saving

Create Your Own Whale Song Remix to Save Humpbacks -- by Gregory Wetstone

Most Americans assume that the whales have been saved because whaling was banned twenty years ago. Boy are they wrong.

Whales are as at risk today as ever. Japanese whalers have killed more than 25,000 whales since the whaling ban was imposed and selling the meat to upscale restaurants and markets. Last month, Japan’s whaling fleet returned from the southern ocean with meat from nearly twice as many whales as killed in past years.. Sure, they claim it’s just “research” but ten out of ten legitimate scientists agree that’s a whale tale. Sadly, they’ve announced plans to kill even more whales next year, including the threatened humpback whale.

What a lot of people don’t know is that humpback whales sing beautiful, haunting songs that they can copy from one another, remix and rhyme. Their songs can even travel thousands of miles across oceans and pass from whale to whale.

Now anyone can create their very own humpback whale song through the “Whale Remix Project” sponsored by my group, the International Fund for Animal Welfare .

This is a truly unique contest where users can go to and create songs using the sounds of humpback whales. You can even download the whale tunes to mix in sounds of your own and pass them on to your friends, much like whales do in the ocean. The top whale remixes will then be judged by a celebrity panel. The winning song will receive a video iPod and have their song featured in upcoming IFAW public service announcements about illegal commercial whaling.

The celebrity panel who will judge the top ten entries includes: Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre; Tom Dumont of No Doubt; Lisa Kekuala of The Bellrays; electronic music composer and producer BT; composer and producer Wayne Kramer (founding member of MC5); hip-hop artist and producer Head-Roc; Sid Barcelona of Thunderball; composer and producer Chris Vrenna (former member of Nine Inch Nails and touring drummer for Marilyn Manson); and Mike Ski of the A.K.A.s.

We’re launching this contest to help spread the word about Japan’s illegal whaling and inspire Americans to help save the whales, and this time for good!.

Japan’s hunting methods, unchanged for decades, are positively horrific. Whalers are using harpoons with explosive grenade heads. Whales that survive harpooning are then hoisted up the side of the ship by their tails and left hanging with their blowholes underwater as they slowly drown.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) will hold an important meeting in June that could determine the future of humpbacks and other whales. Japan is on the verge of overturning a 20-year-old international ban on hunting whales commercially. How can they do such a thing? Japan has slowly been building international support by using foreign air to enlist new countries, some of which have no coastline at all, to join the IWC and support their whaling.

Officially, the United States opposes Japanese whaling. But the Bush administration has failed to take strong enough action to keep Japan’s illegal whaling industry from careening out of control. We are now at a critical turning point and it is up to the United States to lead global efforts to pressure Japan into compliance.

We’re asking the U.S. to oppose Japan ‘s bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council until the country shows respect for international laws that protect whales. Create your own whale song with the Whale Remix to spread the word about this impending disaster for the world’s whales.

We have been given a second chance to save the whales, but this time it may be our last.

(Gregory Wetstone joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare following 11 years at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) where he served as the organization's first Legislative Director, Director of Programs and, most recently, Director of Advocacy. Prior to joining NRDC, Wetstone served for more than a decade as Counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.)


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