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Animal News Desk / Cathy Kangas

Published 6:41 pm, Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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I recognize how important a strong U.S. military is during these uncertain times. In the past, I have worked with the military as a member of the board of directors of Nowzad Dogs, which re-unites soldiers with the dogs that they befriended in Afghanistan.

That noted, I was troubled to learn that the U.S. Navy plans to conduct training exercises off of the East Coast, California and Hawaii which they acknowledge would cause death or injury to thousands of marine mammals. The exercises would involve the use of live explosives and high-intensity sonar.

We can't let this happen -- particularly when steps can be taken to minimize the likelihood that whales, dolphins and porpoises might be harmed or killed.

The Humane Society of the United States working with other environmental and animal welfare groups has asked the Navy to implement a plan that would reduce the harmful impact of the exercises on marine mammals. This plan includes avoiding areas used as calving grounds or migratory corridors; avoiding seasonal high-use feeding areas; creating a larger "safety zone" around the exercises; and using aerial or acoustic monitoring to determine whether marine mammals are nearby and may be harmed. All can help to considerably mitigate the problem. For more information visit www.humanesociety.org

We are not asking the Navy to abandon its vital training exercises. All we are asking is that it takes into account the potential to seriously harm these innocent creatures. We know that in the past whales have been stranded and have died in the wake of major military sonar exercises, with bleeding from the ears and other tissue damage directly attributed to sonar.

I urge you to contact Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and ask him to explore ways to protect marine mammals during these training exercises. He can be reached through his public affairs director, Capt. Pamela Kunze, at pamela.kunze@navy.mil.

We must always keep in mind that we are stewards of this earth and all of its creatures. We need to speak for those who have no voice.

Cathy Kangas is the founder and CEO of PRAI Beauty, a global luxury skincare line sold throughout the world on home shopping networks. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States and through Beauty With a Cause, supports animal welfare groups across the globe. Cathy lives in New Canaan with her husband and three rescued dogs, and can be reached at cathy@praibeauty.com.