Actress Pamela Anderson has sent an open letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin, imploring him to use his powers to block a ship carrying 1,700 tonnes of fin whale meat from travelling through Russian waters.
The cargo vessel, Winter Bay, is on its way to Japan and currently docked in Norway, awaiting confirmation that it can sail its Arctic route. Anderson, best known for starring in Baywatch but now a committed animal rights activist, issued a “personal request” to Putin to stop the “illegal” cargo, appealing to their “mutual love for animals and deep respect for nature”.
“These whales were killed illegally in violation of the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling. It is also illegal to kill fin whales and to engage in the trade of endangered species,” Anderson stated in her letter.
According to the conservation society Sea Shepherd, the ship has already been refused passage through the Suez and Panama canals because of international laws regarding whale meat. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) issued a moratorium on commercial hunting of this whale in 1986, although Iceland, whose Hvalur Hf company supplied meat to Winter Bay, in 2006 unilaterally decided to allow the commercial hunting of fin whales.
Anderson’s appeal follows a petition by environmental and animal rights group Avaaz, urging Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of the Caribbean island of St. Kitts & Nevis, where the ship is registered, to deflag the freighter. Anderson’s appeal indicated that the hopes of those who signed the petition, who number nearly a million, depend now on President Putin: “Your decision could put an end to the needless slaughter of endangered whales by Iceland.”