United States Navy vs. Environmentalists and whales
The United States Navy and Animal Rights Activists a strange combo? I thought so too until I read this article. The United States Navy is being accused of animal cruelty. The Natural Resources Defense Council along with other environmental groups has brought litigation against the Navy for use of their sonar. The claim is that constant use of the sonar for training purposes is a violation of environmental laws and is detrimental to marine life.
Animal welfare organizations have documented cases of mass whale strandings and deaths around the world that they say are associated with sonar blasts thought to disorient marine mammals and sometimes cause bleeding from the eyes and ears.
In January of this year the Pentagon exempted the Navy from a law protecting whales so they could continue using sonar for their training. The Navy is now trying to withhold information regarding their non-combat sonar usage because of its TOP SECRET nature of this information. The Navy has exercised the state secrets privilege to avoid plaintiffs request to reveal the inside information.
Should the Navy be allowed to kill innocent creatures of the sea to further US intelligence and National security by routine training with sonar? Or should the US become more vulnerable to security breaches because they aren’t allowed to continue their training for fear of losing marine life during training?
One thing is certain, human life and marine life are equally precious. Is it too much to wonder if a compromise can be made to aid in the perservation of both?