"We Kill Carelessly" - Archbishop Desmond Tutu Votes to Stop Whaling

Thursday, 27 November, 2008
Cape Town, South Africa
"We kill carelessly," Nobel Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said tonight as he spoke in support of a global campaign to stop whaling by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org ).
Tutu launched Sacred Ocean - Global Voices Against the Cruelty of Whaling in Cape Town with a speech that made an analogy that compared rape and murder, with the killing of whales.

"Are we surprised that we have lost a sense of the worth of human life, when we kill so carelessly," said the Archbishop.

"This (campaign against the killing of whales) warns us that we are slowly ourselves committing a kind of suicide. If it is not a physical suicide, it is a moral and ethical suicide. For our own sakes we need to recover our humaneness, and our humanity. It is time to say no, no, no! to the killing of whales," said Tutu.

At the heart of the campaign is an iconic 3,4-metre high sculpture named Sacred Ocean by renowned cetacean artist and conservationist Noel Ashton, and which has been given pride of place in the foyer of Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium.

After unveiling the sculpture, Archbishop Tutu cast the first vote to launch the campaign via a "touch-screen" installation which also provides the voter with an opportunity to send a "virtual postcard" to three friends urging them to cast their vote.

The campaign also has its own website at www.stopwhaling.org.za

"Sacred Ocean is a contemporary symbol for global whale protection efforts, which will resonate in gauging public opinion on whether whaling is a necessary and/or acceptable practice in current times, said Jason Bell-Leask, IFAW’s Director Southern Africa.

"IFAW has long campaigned against commercial whaling, a practice we deem extremely cruel and unnecessary.

"When considered together with new and emerging threats such as ship strikes, ocean noise, entanglements, and pollution, it is hard to believe that any form of whaling is tolerated today.  Conservation aside, on animal cruelty grounds alone, there can be zero tolerance when it comes to whaling," said Bell-Leask.

The Two Oceans Aquarium, which is one of South Africa’s top tourist attractions and which annually welcomes thousands of visitors from around the world to view its exhibits, has provided Sacred Ocean with a permanent home.

"We are extremely honoured to present Sacred Ocean in the Two Oceans Aquarium and have no doubt that it will join the ranks of other high profile, profound and influential conservation projects with which we have been associated" said Dr Patrick Garratt, Managing Director of the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Sacred Ocean - Global Voices Against the Cruelty of Whaling was conceived by renowned cetacean artist and conservationist Noel Ashton, as an artistic response to his abhorrence of whaling.

"Sacred Ocean is a symbol of unity of purpose, and with the power of many, to voice their feelings about the ongoing cruelty of whaling. We also need to realise that this crisis for whales actually reflects a profound crisis for humanity in allowing this and other atrocities to take place," said Ashton.

Sacred Ocean - Global Voices Against the Cruelty of Whaling goes on public display at the Two Oceans Aquarium from Friday, 28th November 2008. In addition to the sculpture there is a touch screen installation where visitors can register their opinions of whaling, as well as send a "virtual postcard" of themselves and the sculpture to three friends. A display featuring a video with a message from actor Pierce Brosnan, who is IFAW’s global spokesperson against whaling, also features.

Visit www.stopwhaling.org.za to join the campaign.

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