Feds Hold Hearing on Makah Whale Hunt in Seattle

On October 11, the National Marine Fisheries Service held its third public comment session in Seattle, Washington, to hear opinions about the request by the Makah tribe to once again begin harvesting small numbers of whales.

The Makah killed their first whale in 70 years in 1999, but subsequently the Ninth Circuit Court ruled it needed a formal exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Makah have filed for such an exemption, and the NMFS has held public comment sessions as part of that process.

More than 100 people showed up for the session, most of the opposed to resumption of even small scale whaling. Animal rights activist Carol Janes, for example, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

I travel a lot for my work, and it means something when I say I’m from Seattle. [People] know about Mount St. Helens and the Mariners. I don’t want that meaning to change to: ‘That’s the place where they kill whales.’

The Humane Society of the United States’ Kitty Block told the Seattle Times,

We are worried about the precedent this would set. This law has saved millions and millions of animal lives.

We don’t want to come across as anti-tribal. And I am not denying their treaty right. But what does this do to our marine-mammal protection? And it is not just conservation; it is a humane issue. There is no humane way to kill a whale.

. . .

We have developed relationships with these animals [through whale watching tours]. It’s like a bait-and-switch: We go out there to see them — I’ve seen footage where people are leaning over and touching them — and now they are leaning over with a harpoon. It breaks a trust relationship.

Makah and Native American activists appealed to their long history of hunting whales, and the treaty they signed with the U.S. government guaranteeing the tribe the right to hunt whales (the tribe voluntarily refrained from hunting whales for decades after commercial whale hunting caused a drastic decline in the number of whales).

David Sones, vice chairman of the Makah Tribal Council, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

The animal rights groups would rather just see our culture disappear and that’s their right. But we really believe that we will get this waiver.

Bob Anderson, director of the Center for Native American Law at the University of Washington, noted that the current Makah predicament is a largely result of the tribe electing to work with federal officials in the mid-1990s instead of going its own way. Anderson told the Seattle Times

If they had gone out and just gone whaling, that would be allowed. By doing something they didn’t have to do, they triggered this federal action, and that resulted in the 9th Circuit ruling. Now the Makah are bound.

A final decision on the resumption of whaling by the Makah is likely years away, as once the National Marine Fisheries Service makes its decision on whether or not to grant a waiver that decision will be litigated for years regardless of which side the Fisheries Service comes down on.

Sources:

Hearing shows Makahs, public divided over whaling rights. Claudia Rowe, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 12, 2005.

Makah Tribe seeks federal waiver to let it once again hunt for whale. Lynda Mapes, Seattle Times, October 11, 2005.

Third Makah whaling hearing draws 120 in Seattle. Jim Casey, Peninsula Daily News, October 12, 2005.

Seattle Activist Is Not A Terrorist, But She Is A Liar

Seattle-based animal rights activist Nancy Pennington penned an op-ed to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer complaining how unfair it is that animal rights activists like her are called terrorists (though she doesn’t provide any specific example where she’s been called a terrorist) and generally defending her own activism.

According to Pennington,

I’ve never understood the hostility of some people toward animal activists. As for the “get a life” epithet hurled at us by people whose dedication to anything is questionable, everyone I know in the “animal movement” has a job (except those of us who are retired) and a willingness to make conditions for animals better the central part of our lives.

The hostility could come from activists such as Pennington who defended PETA’s comparison of animal slaughter to the Holocaust, but lied about that campaign. Pennington claimed that Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel supported PETA’s efforts when, in fact, Wiesel vigorously opposed PETA’s use of a picture of him as a young man imprisoned at Buchenwald, and publicly said that PETA’s comparison of animal slaughter to the Holocaust was “wrong.”

So, remember, if you run into Ms. Pennington, the correct epithet is liar or idiot, not terrorist. Instead of, “get a life,” the proper response is “get a clue.”

Source:

They’re animal advocates, not terrorists. Nancy Pennington, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 18, 2005.

Washington State Sen. Wants Bestiality Ban — Don’t Tell Ingrid!

After a man died on July 2 after having sex with a horse at a farm near Enumclaw, Washington, state Sen. Pam Roach introduced a bill that would make bestiality a Class C felony in that state, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $100,000 fine.

Did Roach run this by everyone’s favorite animal rights crusader Ingrid Newkirk? After all, Newkirk’s on record as saying there’s nothing inherently abusive about bestiality,

If a girl gets sexual pleasure from riding a horse, does the horse suffer? If not, who cares? If you French kiss your dog and he or she thinks it’s great, is it wrong? We believe all exploitation and abuse is wrong. If it isn’t exploitation and abuse, it may not be wrong.

So far there’s no evidence that the horse suffered in the Enumclaw incident. It might just meet Newkirk’s criteria for being non-abusive (at least for the horse).

The odd thing is that, according to the Associated Press, bestiality is explicitly illegal in only 30 states. In the Enumclaw case, local police knew of the farm’s reputation for offering animals for sex, but had no authority to do anything about it (besides, they didn’t want to piss off Newkirk).

Given the almost universal revulsion at bestiality, its odd explicit bans aren’t routinely in place as part of other sex crimes packages.

Source:

Roach seeks law against bestiality. Associated Press, July 19, 2005.

Makah Tribe Asks Congress for Exemption from Marine Mammal Protection Act

In February, the Makah tribe filed a request for a wavier from the Marine Mammal Protection Act so that it can legally hunt whales as its 1855 treaty with the United States guarantees it the right to do so. Apparently wanting to hedge its bets, the tribe has also approached at least one U.S. Senator and Representative asking for legislation that would exempt the tribe from the MMPA.

Makah Chairman Ben Johnson told the media in March that the tribe had contacted U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Washington) inquiring about the possibility of legislation that would exempt the tribe from the requirements of the MMPA.

Johnson told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

We’ve just talked to them a little at this point. Whether anything will come of it, who knows?

For opponents of the Makah, however, the MMPA is beside the point — they just don’t ever want to see a resumption of whaling, regardless. As The Humane Society of the United States’ Naomi Rose told the Post-Intelligencer,

For us, it’s a real simple equation: We do not want them hunting gray whales again, period.

Remember this the next time the HSUS claims it doesn’t oppose hunting on principle.

Source:

Makah try long shot: asking Congress to allow whale hunts. Lewis Kamb, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 21, 2005.

Makah officials ask Cantwell, other officials to waive marine mammal act for whaling, but no bill on table. Raul Vasquez, Peninsula Daily news, March 11, 2005.

Is SaveToby.Com The Next BonsaiKitten.Com?

A new website at SaveToby.Com is vying to replace BonsaiKitten.Com in the hearts and minds of the over-sensitive and humor-impaired.

The site purports to tell the tale of finding a cute rabbit during a storm. Alas, the rabbit’s newfound owner cannot afford to keep the bunny, Toby, and so offers an interesting proposition — either the site owner receives $50,000 in donations or on June 30, 2005, Toby gets killed and eaten,

Unfortunately, on June 30th, 2005, Toby will die. I am going to eat him. I am going to take Toby to a butcher to have him slaughter this cute bunny. I will then prepare Toby for a midsummer feast. I have several recipes under consideration, which can be seen, with some pretty graphic images, under the recipe section.

I donÂ’t want to eat Toby, he is my friend, and he has always been the most loving, adorable pet. However, God as my witness, I will devour this little guy unless I receive 50,000$ USD into my account from donations or purchase of merchandise. You can help this poor, helpless bunnyÂ’s cause by making donations through my verified PayPal account by clicking on any of the Donate buttons on this site, or by purchasing merchandise at the Savetoby.com online store.

The recipes section includes pictures of Toby sitting in a large pot with the caption, “Get me out of this pot!”

You’d think people would have learned from the hilarious outrage over BonsaiKitten.Com not to fall for these sorts of sites, but some folks just can’t contain themselves.

Of special note was one Marine Black who apparently works for the Washington State Department of Ecology (apparently they don’t have very high personnel qualifications at the department). Upon learning of the site, according to East Valley Tribune, Black contacted the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission in an effort to get the site shut down. Black told the Tribune,

ItÂ’s emotional extortion and itÂ’s potential animal abuse so itÂ’s emotionally pulling on people.

Wow. Lets hope Marnie doesn’t stumble across BonsaiKitten.Com — seeing it so soon after SaveToby.Com could cause permanent emotional damage.

Other outraged individuals have also contacted GoDaddy.Com, which the anonymous owner of SaveToby.Com used to register the site. But GoDaddy.Com public relations specialist puts the site in its proper perspective (emphasis added),

It is distasteful, but itÂ’s not illegal to kill a rabbit, and itÂ’s been checked out thoroughly by our own legal group, who says it doesnÂ’t violate our terms and services.

Unfortunately the web is filled with pernicious sites dedicated to the joys of animal flesh. Wait until Marnie finds out that McDonald’s, Burger King and even the Saltgrass Steak House all have somehow been allowed to open web sites. Somebody, stop this madness.

Source:

Hare-raising plot on Web. Katie McDevitt, East Valley Tribune, March 2005.

Washington State Senator Proposes Repealing Law Making “Slander of A Woman” A Crime

Washington state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles recently introduced legislation in that state’s senate that would repeal a 1909 Washington state law making “slander of a woman” a crime. The law makes it illegal to use “false or defamatory words or language which shall inure or impair” the reputation of a virtuous woman, though the statute does allow individuals to slander “common prostitutes.”

Although it hasn’t been used in decades, the law was upheld by Washington’s state Supreme Court in 1914, which affirmed the conviction of a woman who was fined $50 for slandering another woman.

Kohl-Welles told the Associated Press, “This is one of those old laws that is really irrelevant now.” In a radio interview, Kohl-Welles added,

It violates equal protection — not only is it patronizing and a relic of a time when there were different cultural traditions, where women were placed upon a pedestal but were not given equal rights ? but its also unconstitutional.

Kohl-Welles’s proposal to strike the law passed the state Senate in February and goes on to the state House.

Source:

Seattle Senator wants to repeal slander law. Associated Press, January 24, 2005.