Weymouth Sea Life Park is appealing for help to prevent the return of commercial whaling after a 24-year ban.
Along with its sister attractions across Europe and in the US, the centre has collected over 100, 000 postcards filled out by people who want whaling to end for good.
The Sea Life network plans to deliver the postcards to the EU on the eve of a crucial meeting of the International Whaling Commission in June, to try and thwart moves by pro-whaling nations to get the ban lifted.
But it wants to try and get the total boosted to 150, 000-plus postcards before the June deadline.
“There’s a deal being proposed which would give commercial whaling quotas to those nations who want to catch them, in return for ending so-called scientific whaling, ” said Supervisor of Displays Fiona Smith.
“There’s a very real danger of it being approved, which would be disastrous for conservation.
“We want as many people as possible to sign postcards here in Weymouth or at any other Sea Life centre so we can deliver the biggest bundle possible to the European Union.”
The Sea Life network is campaigning in conjunction with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), whose website www.wdcs.org/stop/killing_trade/petition.php also offers an opportunity to support the anti-whaling mission.
“Countries like Japan have continued to kill whales by using a loophole that allows for some hunting for ‘scientific’ purposes, even though everyone knows the real motives have always been commercial, ” said WDCS chief executive, Chris Butler-Stroud.
“Unfortunately these countries can make life awkward for those few nations, like the US, who are opposed to commercial whaling and yet have to apply for small quotas for ‘subsistence’ purposes for native peoples such as the Alaskan Inupiat .
“The US is just one of many countries who have basically grown weary of the arguments and as a consequence may actually support the unsavoury deal now being proposed.
“Were they to be granted any kind of commercial quota by the IWC in June, Japan, Norway and Iceland would then be able to legitimately open up markets for whale products.
“They would then come back to subsequent IWC meetings seeking bigger and bigger quotas to meet the demand they have created”, Butler-Stroud concludes.
WDCS and Weymouth Sea Life both believe that approval of any commercial whaling would be a slippery slope that would soon put many whale species in danger of extinction.
“We also share the view that there is no humane way to kill such enormous and intelligent creatures, ” said Fiona.
“Even were it possible for commercial whaling to be carried out on a sustainable basis, which we don’t believe will ever be the case, there can be no justification for the agony these animals endure before they die.”
The postcards calling for an end to whaling can be found in a dedicated conservation area at Weymouth Sea Life Park.