President Obama's decision this week to censure Iceland for its continued commercial whaling activity was welcomed by many animal activists, including "Heroes" actress Hayden Panettiere.
The 22-year-old has been involved in efforts to end whaling around the world for several years, most notably as a spokesperson for the Save the Whales Again! campaign. On Thursday, she lauded the president's decision and implored him to expand his disapproval to other whaling countries.
"I am here to personally thank and applaud President Obama for his bold actions taken against Iceland today for its illegal slaughter of minke whales and fin whales which is in direct violation of the commercial whaling moratorium," she said. "And we urge the president to take similar action against Japan and Norway as well!"
The Obama administration is citing Iceland under a domestic law called the Pelly Amendment that allows the president to act against foreign countries that defy international conservation laws and treaties. His recommendations of action were largely without bite, as no trade sanctions were imposed — but orders to the secretaries of state and commerce to ramp up pressure on the government in Reykjavik were nonetheless welcomed.
"We appreciate the president's direction that federal agencies 'keep the situation under review' and report back in six months or 'immediately upon the resumption of fin whaling by Icelandic nationals,' " wrote Taryn Kiekow of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We believe this sends a message that the United States will immediately reconsider a stronger response should Iceland resume fin whaling."
Were it that other environmentalists could share in their optimism.
"Protecting these magnificent animals, and the oceans they rely on, is exactly what governments should be doing because by protecting marine life and our oceans, ultimately we are protecting ourselves," added Hayden. "And President Obama recognizes this and has repeatedly supported innovative and conservation-minded efforts, not only at the International Whaling Commission, but including the unprecedented forward thinking demonstrated in his National Ocean Policy."
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