I have the best news of the year to share with you - are you ready for it? The Gorton's fisherman and his Japanese parent company have agreed to get out of whaling. That's right, thanks to you, we've proven that whaling is bad for business. And I want us all to take a minute to celebrate together.
More than 25,000 of you wrote to Gorton's, sent postcards, attended whale watching parties, folded origami whales and made generous contributions, all to send Gorton's a clear message: Get out of the whale killing business. Well, in less than four short months, you've managed to get the largest corporate shareholder in commercial whaling to agree to get out of the whaling business altogether.
And that's not all...the rest of the corporate shareholders in the Japanese whaling fleet have also decided to divest their shares of the business rather than face your wrath.
This doesn't mean an end to so-called "scientific" whaling, but it does mean that public pressure is gaining momentum and forcing corporations to jump ship. I can't tell you what a tremendous milestone this is, and words can't express how grateful I am for everything you've done to make this happen.
This is the most important victory I've seen since commercial whaling was officially banned in 1986. You have so much to be proud of. But the fight is far from over, and now we're gearing up for what could be the greatest threat yet. The next meeting of the International Whaling Commission will be taking place in June, and Japan is threatening to win the majority vote and overturn the commercial whaling moratorium. For years, the Japanese government has spent billions of Yen buying votes on the commission, and this year could be the critical year that they manage to turn the tide. Our own government will have a critical role to play, and we expect a lot more from them than we've seen lately if we're going to prevent this from happening. So stay tuned for the next round.
Now that you can see for yourself how effective your actions have been, I hope you won't pull any punches come June. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.
We had a blast at the cherry blossom festival in Washington, D.C. this past weekend, where our mascot, Flo the whale, helped us gather postcard signatures against whaling. With the back-drop of Japan's world-famous cherry trees, we drew attention to Japan's uglier activities of whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean.