A Victory For Whales

Whales 1Last week the International Court of Justice upheld Australia’s bid to ban Japan’s Antarctic whaling program. Australia argued that the program was commercial whaling in disguise. It was a great day for whales and Tokyo’s ‘scientific whaling’ was finally exposed as a fraud. Japan said it would abide by the decision which is considered legally binding.

Whales 3Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson, says the court’s decision justified the group’s sometimes courageous actions at sea. “I am so pleased that after a decade of anti-whaling campaigns in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, we won’t have to go there again,” he said from his home in Vermont. “We feel vindicated, this has always been an illegal whale hunt, I’ve always felt that way and for the the International Court of Justice to agree and for people to see that this has been the right thing to pursue, well, that’s just great.”

Whales 2Former Greens leader and director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Bob Brown,  listened to the court’s judgment on his car radio in Tasmania and was ready for the worst, he said. “I stopped by the side of the Midland Highway,” Dr Brown said. “I’m used to very long judgments going right back to the Franklin Dam court case, and I’m used to hearing the bad side first up, and the good side last. I was surprised and extremely pleased at how clear and unqualified the ruling was. Of course, the Sea Shepherd stands ready for immediate reaction, stands ready to go in case Japan changes its mind.”

Sea ShepherdSea Shepherd is now challenging the Western Australian government’s decision to cull sharks off its coast in court, an action Dr Brown described as “absurd and bloody “It is almost unbelievable that in this day and age in Australia it would be happening. It destroys the fragile ecosystem and most of these sharks are already threatened.”

So I pay tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to bring about this terrific result. The Rudd government for instigating the action against Japan at the Hague way back in 2010. Former attorney-general Mark Dreyfus for his stellar prosecution of Australia’s case. And the Sea Shepherd, for facing the Japanese whaling fleet head on each summer, risking their lives while most of us were enjoying a Christmas break. Thank you!

For those of you near Melbourne, why not come and welcome the Bob Barker and crew as they finally return home to Williamstown after enduring the longest and most successful Antarctic campaigns to date.
The ship will join the Sam Simon & the Steve Irwin docked at Seaworks.
When: Wednesday 9th April – current ETA is 9am approximately. Check out Sea Shepherd’s Facebook page for possible changes to this arrival time.
Where: Sea Shepherd Australia Operations Base – Seaworks, 2 Ann Street, Williamstown, Victoria.


The Tragedy Of Taiji Cove

Taiji 1My new book has a dolphin character, Mirrhi, a young female who is rescued and nursed back to health after being struck by a boat. Writing Mirrhi and researching dolphin behaviour has made me sadder than ever at the tragedy unfolding right now in Japan’s infamous Taiji Cove. This annual butchery of thousands of migrating dolphins and porpoises was brought to international attention by a documentary film The Cove. It was awarded the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010, but the slaughter continues.

Taiji 2Yesterday five separate pods of dolphins were driven into Taiji Cove – two hundred and fifty dolphins, including a white albino calf. Cove monitors are calling this poor little dolphin “Angel.” So what will happen to Angel?  She has been taken from her mother to the Taiji Whale Museum.  This is particularly foolish as the calf’s likelihood of survival in captivity would be enhanced if the mother was with her. The Museum is owned by the Taiji town government and brokers dolphins all over the world, including providing dolphins for the one hundred or so dolphinariums in Japan. Angel’s mother and hundreds like her will be slaughtered and sold for meat, while Angel sits in a tank on display.

Taiji 3Dolphin hunting in Taiji must be stopped, and the global marine park industry should be in the forefront of these efforts. Instead, dolphinariums subsidise the hunts by paying top dollar for captive dolphins like Angel, while her mother is butchered.  They should be ashamed of themselves. Can this exploitation & brutality really be allowed to happen in the HOST NATION of the 2020 Olympic Games?

What can we do?

Contact the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee via their Twitter or Facebook accounts to let them know that this is not acceptable.
Join the TWEETSTORM, instructions & pre-written tweets are ready for you to click on, to get this story into the mainstream media.
Visit The Dolphin Project or Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians for more information. Many dolphin lives are depending on our help.