Sea Shepherds fight World Wildlife Fund

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1999:

Between vigils against Makah whaling in fall 1998 and spring 1999
aboard The Sirenian off Neah Bay, Washington, Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society international director Lisa Distefano spent part of the winter helping to
save sea birds after the wreck of the tanker Pallas near the Shallows nature
reserve off the coast of Germany. The Sea Shepherds mustered 60 volunteers,
who eventually rescued more than 1,000 birds, Distefano wrote in the first 1999
edition of The Sea Shepherd Log.
The hardest part of the job, Distefano said, was that “In Germany the
conservation ethic tends to be a hunter’s ethic. The park staff at the Shallows
reserve is steeped in the mentality that if an animal is injured, you kill it. The
reserve workers are basically hunters. They, like staff from Greenpeace and the
World Wildlife Fund, came to the scene with the belief that if a bird had any
contact with oil, the bird is beyond help and must be killed.

“Greenpeace sent a single spokesperson,” Distefano continued. “He
had his picture taken amid dead birds, shot some video, and left. But
Greenpeace, though useless, was at least benign. The World Wildlife Fund was
bad news,” including a crew of “at least 10 conscientious objectors to military
service who were assigned to work for the Schutzstation Wattenmeer, a [hunting] club subsidized by the World Wildlife Fund, led by one of its chief officers,
Hans-Ulrich Rosner,” whom Distefano identified as co-author of legislation
“making it a crime to save injured seals or sea birds.”
The conscientious objectors, Distefano continued, “dutifully killed all
the birds they could, injured or not. They would bat them around the head and
toss them aside––in most cases still alive––to die of their newly inflicted
Eventually, Distefano said, “German Army disaster response units
arrived with orders to kill any contaminated birds they found. The men saw what
was happening and refused to obey the orders.” Instead, they helped the Sea
The arrival of TV cameras halted the killing, according to Distefano,
who credited Earthkind and the International Fund for Animal Welfare for
providing funding and veterinary help.
The Sea Shepherds also recently tangled with the German Dolphin
Conservation Society. In April 1999, the Sea Shepherds and other organizations
asked German supermarket chains to boycott fish from the Faroe Islands, a
Danish protectorate whose fishers kill about 1,500 pilot whales a year by driving
them aground and then butchering them where they strand. The T e n g e l m a n n
and Aldi chains joined the boycott, but the GDCS reportedly tried to lift it by
brokering a compromise which would limit but not end Faroese whaling.

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