Christine Stevens proposes to save whales on two continents this weekend and may even sell a few T-shirts that say "Ban Japanese and Russian Products" to the Japanese and Russians.
She is a woman of sufficiently trim and elegant figure that she would not mind at all if you called her a Whale Person, though something more comprehensive such as Friend of Sea, Sky, Earth and Animals Thereunto Appertaining would be better.
Whale Survival Day is a protest at 11:30 this morning in Lafayette Square, put on by the Whale Defenders Coalition which, in turn, is composed of Christine Stevens and other organizations. There will be music, speeches and excerpts from a ballet, "God Created Whales - then Man," which sort of puts things in perspective.
This afternoon she takes off for Australia to "observe" the sessions of the International Whaling Commission at Canberra. There she will - not to split hairs about it - hassle the tar out of such commision members as have not seen the light, ill-guided persons (her eyes flash, she knows better words but won't use them) whose nations persist in killing whales.
One of her tactics is to present a petition (modestly called a "demand") by American citizens deploring the failure of such nations as the Soviet Union and Japan to observe a 10-year armistice on the slaughter of whales. She also buttonholes delegates and tries to bring them 'round.
The commision is made up of government-named delegates from 15 countries, and they set quotas on the number of whales allowed to be killed in the year. The Congress, United Nations and the Presidents, among others, have called for the 10-year ban on whale slaughter, but this hasn't sopped whaling.
The whaling commision may have thought that by going to the ends of the earth to meet, Christine Stevens and other whale types would not be able to attend. Ha.
"The International Whaling Commission (founded 31 years ago) says in its charter that it's essential to protect the fact is that the commission has presided over the worst killing of whales in history.
"The blue whale is the largest animal ever to breathe on the earth, and is now commercially extinct because most of them were killed between [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] . So they kill smaller [WORD ILLEGBLE] , but have to kill more of them, to make up for the big ones."
Stevens has tea in the afternoon at the Georgetown house, a big homey home with lots of doors opening on the garden and what seems to be a Rotisuit over the fireplace and a Dufy over a side table and a couple of fine mongrel mutts, one of them named Follow, possibly because he does not obey very much.
"Sit," she says. The day he sits, that will be the day. Christine Stevens repeats her command in the best of firm kindly voive, and after he has [WORD ILLEGIBLE] a piece of cookie and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] of standing, he sits.
"I guess you knew," she says "that the first American child to be defended against cruelty to children was brought to the protection of the courts by a man who formed a society to protect animals. The child had been virtually tortured and everybody said what a shame, but there was nothing you could do about it. She was introduced to the court as worthy of protection since she was an animal. The point is not that children are animals, but that protection of children aginst cruel abuse, sprang from efforts to prevent cruelty to horses and dogs. So [WORD ILLEGIBLE] think there is a relationship."
Christine Stevens is one of the few others of Georgetown who has never [WORD ILLEGIBLE] racoons in hr attic or dreaded the prospect of the same.
She has a hive of bees, mainly because they are animals and wonderful in their ways. One of their wonderful ways was to sting Roger Stevens, her husband, recently, but this has of course been taken in stride as one of the costs of being civilized and not making a great federal case of trifling mishaps.
Roger Stevens, chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is a great comfort to his wife in her animal work. He is an animal person, too.
"Roger was very generous with me," she says, harking back to the days when there was not much support for such groups as the Animals Welfare Institure (of which she is president). "Now we are self-supporting," she says, with contributions from 5,000 members plus well-wishers.
"They never let the press in at the Internations Whaling Commission sessions," she says, "and that is one reason it's important for observers to be there. I certainly will speak of President Carter's environmental message last month, in which he directs the Secretary of Commerce to report to him within 60 days any actions by other countries that diminish the effectiveness of the Whaling Commission's conservation program."
Today's raily is going to have a huge sign, "Thank You, President Carter," for his support of the whales.
"There's going to be music and dance and a few speeches, and lots of T-shirts and petitions for people the 40-foot artificial whale which is two stories high."
(Information on the rally and, later, on the Canberra meeting is given 24 hours a day by phone to anyone calling 332-2699.)
She thinks American public opinion, expressed by rallies and petitions, had much to do with the recent lowering of quota was reduced by 6,000 which means there are 6,000 more sperm whales left to praise the Lord (as the Bible exhorts whales to do), even though 37,000 whales a year are still slaughtered, and 43 per cent of them are sperm whales.
"We're leading the world," she says, "in helping endangered species, but the English are ahead of us in the protection of domestic animals."
Out of the depth (as our literature says) have I cried; Lord, hear my voice. Christin Stevens doubtless believes a whale said it, or, in any case, that virtue is spit at when pain and death take over for no necessary reason.
"That's very good," she says to the mutt who has finished gulping the cookie and is sitting down. "He sits very well, as a rule."