What did John Muir think of whaling?

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1997:

SEATTLE––Ingrid Hansen, conservation
committee chair for the Cascade Chapter of the
Sierra Club, apparently lost a battle but won a war
July 19 when the executive committee rejected her
motion that the Washington-based chapter should
“support the Makah Tribe’s proposal to take five
gray whales per year,” but also defeated executive
committee member Bob Kummer’s counter-motion
that the club should “oppose all taking of whales.”
As Hansen explained in an April 9 letter
to Makah Whaling Commission member Ben
Johnson Jr., national Sierra Club positions tend to
follow the recommendations of the local chapters
closest to the issues. The San Francisco-based
national office of the Sierra Club last spring asked
the Cascade Chapter if it had a position on Makah
whaling. A nonposition, if precedent holds, could
keep the influential Sierra Club on the sidelines as
the Clinton/Gore administration advances the
Makah application to whale before the International
Whaling Commission this October.

Hansen may have approached the Makah
to counter the anticipated influence of Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society northwestern representative
Michael Kundu, whom she accused of
having joined on April 1, with two other people,
“so that they can force a Sierra Club position”
against Makah whaling. Hansen held that the club
should favor the Makah, consistent with a 1972
national policy statement that the club “favors legislation
to prohibit all hunting and harassment of
marine mammals, with the exceptions of occasional
specimens captured for scientific research and
zoos, and hunting by American Indians, Eskimos,
Aleuts, etc., for the sole use of their families.”
As Hansen and Kundu clashed, Hansen
unilaterally dissolved the Makah whaling subcommittee
of her conservation committee, after 10 of
the 11 members objected to her minutes of a May 5
“The committee was formed by her to
provide advice to her,” Cascade Chapter chair
Michael McGinn on July 4 told the dissidents,
“and she has the right to end it.”
Meanwhile, McGinn warned, “We do
not intend to disclose to the media our internal discussions
because of the potential to confuse the
public and our own members about the Sierra
Club’s position. This issue must be decided at the
national level after all chapters have an opportunity
for input. If any individual has already spoken to
the media about this issue, or shared written materials
with the Sierra Club name on it, those contacts
must be reported immediately.”
Of the July 19 voting, McGinn told ANIMAL
PEOPLE, “in close votes, both motions
failed to gain a majority. Thus the Cascade Chapter
has not made any specific recommendation to the
national Sierra Club, nor have we taken any position
on this issue.”

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