Friday was a monumental day for whales, but no one would have known about it had it not been for Greenpeace.

The environmental protection group discovered that U.S. delegates at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) next week were planning to argue for the instatement of a “scientific” whale hunting program, similar to Japan’s heavily-criticized commercial whaling scheme, carried out under the guise of research.

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The original proposal stated that “lethal sampling (i.e., whaling) is appropriate in relation to achieving the stated objectives.” Greenpeace translated this as: “You can kill as many whales as you want if you promise to run experiments on their dead bodies.”

However, shortly after posting this leaked document – which unleashed a tide of outrage from environmental groups, animal advocates, and ordinary citizens – Greenpeace were contacted by a senior U.S. official, who assured them “that the U.S. will NOT be proposing any resolution on Annex P (which discusses the validity of so-called ‘research’ whaling) at the upcoming International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting. We were also informed that the draft language in the leaked proposal will NOT be used. Greenpeace is optimistic about being able to support this new position.”

In March, the UN Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that Japan’s whaling program did not have any real scientific purpose. It was incredibly disheartening to learn, not long afterwards, that Japan was seeking to get around the Court’s ruling by inventing a new “scientific whaling” program. And it would have been even more disheartening if the U.S. had gone ahead with its plans to join in. Thanks to Greenpeace, however, this plan was foiled.

You can help keep the organization to keep up the pressure on President Obama, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and acting U.S. IWC Commissioner Ryan Wulff, by signing and sharing their petition today.

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Let your elected officials know that the U.S. should be a leader in whale conservation at the IWC, and should never support – much less propose – any resolution that promote the senseless slaughter of whales in the name of “science.”

Image Source: Alex Carvalho/Flickr

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