From left to right – Leonard Roberts, Noah Gray-Cabey, Logan Soderling, Susan Millward,
Jeff Pantukhoff, Hayden Panettiere, Greg Grunberg, & Jack Coleman. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Hollywood, California (February 16, 2007). On the heels of a meeting of Pro-Whaling nations in Japan, Hayden Panettiere and others, banded together for a real life sequel officially launching the global conservation campaign “Save the Whales Again!”
The conclusion of a meeting of pro-whaling nations in Japan seeded a new “Save the Whales” movement. Conservation groups along with Campaign spokesperson Hayden Panettiere announced a new global conservation campaign “Save the Whales Again!” while premiering several Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring Hayden, Pierce Brosnan, Alexandra Paul and others. Jeff Pantukhoff, President and Founder of the Whaleman Foundation with Heroes’ Star Hayden Panettiere. The Campaign is aimed at ending whaling worldwide while raising awareness to all the threats dolphins and whales face. The growing threats include: toxic pollutants such as DDT, dioxins, PCBs and mercury; deadly high intensity sounds produced by military sonars and airguns; by-catch, with some 300,000 dolphins and whales lost every year – drowned after they become entangled in fishing nets and other fishing gear; over-fishing of prey species; ship strikes; climate change affecting habitat, migration routes and prey species availability; habitat destruction; and increased whaling. “Today, most people think the whales have been saved due to the success of the original “Save The Whales” movement of the 70′s which resulted with a moratorium or ban on commercial whaling, but unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.” said Jeff Pantukhoff, President and Founder of the Hawaii based Whaleman Foundation and Executive Director for the “Save the Whales Again!” Campaign. “Along with the other alarming threats, whaling nations now are poised to take control of the International Whaling Commission” continued Pantukhoff. “That’s why we’ve come together now to mount this global campaign called “Save the Whales Again!” According to official whaling record data almost 2½ million whales were killed between 1910 and 1986 including over 350,000 blue whales, over 850,000 fin whales, nearly 700,000 sperm whales, over 160,000 humpback whales, 265,000 sei whales, and 78,000 others including right and gray whales. In the last 20 years, since the moratorium on commercial whaling went into effect, over 25,000 whales have been killed, the majority by Japanese, Norwegian, and Icelandic whalers using loopholes in the Whaling Convention. Now it’s the little known minke whale who’s the main target of their exploding harpoons.
Hayden Panettiere, who plays cheerleader Claire Bennett on the hit TV show Heroes, and who has been working closely with the Whaleman Foundation over the past two years, officially launched the Campaign.E! Entertainment News Crew interviewing Hayden & Jeff. “What most people really need to understand is that the smallest of the great whales, the minke whale, has been the main target of the whalers since the so-called moratorium went into effect” said Jack Coleman who plays Hayden’s father Mr. Bennett aka HRG in the show. He continued “So, one of the goals of this Campaign is to introduce the minke whale to the public so that people will care about them as much as they do about say the humpback whale.” Greg Grunberg, Heroes’ telepathic policeman Matt Parkman weighed in “Right now, the humpback whale is the celebrity of the sea and the humpback definitely has the best press agent out there. The minke whale is virtually unknown. We hope that after you watch the PSAs that we’ve made, you will also appreciate how beautiful, gentle, curious, and intelligent the minke whale is and you’ll be as outraged as we are about how many thousands of them are being needlessly slaughtered every year.” Eleven-year-old Noah Gray-Cabey who plays Micah Sanders , stood on a box to say “On TV, we’ve got one of the best jobs on the planet playing make-believe heroes trying to save the world. Well, as you can see, this stuff kind of rubs off on us… So here we are now, real people trying to make a real difference in the world.” Jeff Pantukhoff with our two youngest spoke-persons, 11 year old Noah Gray-Cabey & 6 year old Logan Solderling.
At the 2005 meeting of the International Whaling Commission Japan announced that it was more than doubling its ‘scientific whaling’ quotas for the coming seasons. A year later, Norway announced it would almost double its self-appointed quota to 1,052 whales. Iceland, as well as continuing to conduct so-called scientific whaling, announced its intention to resume commercial whaling last October. In all thousands of minke whales along with hundreds of endangered fin, sperm, sei, and Bryde’s whales are targeted and right now Japanese whalers are killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Later this year, Japanese whalers plan on returning there to kill threatened humpback whales, the celebrity of the sea.
“It’s outrageous and what makes the situation even more dire is that our government, once the most ardent defender of the whales, is doing virtually nothing to stop the increasing slaughter.” said Alexandra Paul, best known for her lifeguard role on TV’s Baywatch, who unfortunately couldn’t attend but provided this quote “Since President Bush has been in office, Japan has increased its whale killing nearly 300%, Norway has almost doubled its intended slaughter, and after taking an illegal reservation to the whaling ban, Iceland is whaling again. The Bush Administration has just let this all happen even though most Americans are against whaling and want our government to take action to stop the whaling. This is just wrong on so many levels.” “The whaling countries claim there are markets for whale products but Japan, Norway, and Iceland have tons of surplus stockpiled in freezers.” said Susan Millward, of the Washington D.C. based Animal Welfare Institute, the organization that founded the original Save the Whales campaign of the 1970s. “This needless slaughter can be stopped and the U.S. government has the tools available to do so in the form of domestic trade sanction legislation. We were witness to the U.S. government stepping up once before to bring about the whaling moratorium and the U.S. can do again but it chooses not to, preferring to place playing politics with whales over their safety and future survival.” “Whaling is cruel and archaic, whale meat and blubber are highly contaminated through pollution caused by us and unsafe for human consumption, there is no real demand for whale products… and worldwide public sentiment agrees with us,” said Julian Lennon from his London home, who recently re-recorded his song, Saltwater for his whale documentary The Gathering – Return of the Whaledreamers and to help the Campaign. He continued, “We are happy to support this movement…it’s 2007, it’s time to stop whaling. It’s time for us all to come together…to Save the Whales Again!”
Hayden closed the campaign launch by displaying her Heroes promotion t-shirt with the slogan Save the Cheerleader…Save the World. She had crossed out Cheerleader and inserted the word Whales to read Save the Whales…Save the World! She explained the significance “You see dolphins and whales are the barometer to the health of our oceans…as go the dolphins and whales, so go the oceans, and as go the oceans, so goes life on earth. So you see, its simple. If we save the whales, we can save the world. That’s why its time to Save the Whales Again!”