Heroes and Hypocrites - Sea Shepherd Responds to Cetacean Society International

Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

In the world of marine conservation there are two types of organizations. Those that do, and those that do mail-outs. Those that take action to address problems, and those that talk about the problems and do little.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is one of the organizations that does things and Cetacean Society International is an example of an organization that does little but raise funds exploiting the plight of the whale.

The Cetacean Society International recently attacked the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society because of our campaign to defend dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

In their recent newsletter (Vol. XIII, No.2 of April 2004), Page 5 entitled "Captivity Update," Bill Rossiter, CSI President wrote: 

The annual dolphin slaughter at Taiji, Japan ended in February. We can't report how many dolphins were mercilessly killed or sold to captivity, because of effective strategies this year to stop the world from witnessing the travesty. After some early protesters from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society played into the hands of the authorities and freed some netted dolphins, their actions became the excuse to keep almost all other outsiders legally restricted and unable to document the slaughter any further. Ric and Helene O'Barry, of France's One Voice, managed to get to Taiji. Though they were threatened and generally stymied, they did witness the horror.

Allison Lance Watson and Alex Cornelissen of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society released and freed 15 dolphins from the nets at Taiji in November 2003. In return, they both served three weeks in jail. Fifteen dolphins saved, and Cetacean Society International who has never saved the life of a single dolphin or whale has the audacity to twist and spin this act of courage for no other reason than to slander Sea Shepherd.

The allegation that this action prevented others from observing the hunt has no basis in truth. Only Allison and Alex have been banned from Taiji. Sea Shepherd had observers in Taiji from September into December.

Ric O'Barry, Marine Mammal Specialist for One Voice France, had been in Taiji in October and he returned in December. While CSI uses the dolphin release as an excuse for not being involved themselves, the fact is that they were not involved before the release, they have never been involved and it is not expected that they ever will be involved.

And thanks to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the entire world was witness to the cruel slaughter of the dolphins at Taiji. Sea Shepherd's photographs of the atrocity were spread in bloody images across the front pages of newspapers around the world and aired on CNN and other networks.

In fact, the Sea Shepherd intervention against the Taiji dolphin slaughter was the most publicized exposé of the Japanese dolphin massacre in years.

Rossiter then goes on to write: 

Our reaction to what happens at Taiji every year, and the other places in Japan where "drive fisheries" force dolphins and whales into bays to be killed without mercy, is a purely cultural response. The Japanese do not agree with us and, supported by their culture, see little wrong with the killing beyond the undue publicity and interference by ignorant outsiders.

Local people generally are more concerned with the insulting imposition of western values on their culture than with any notion of humane concern for the dolphins. The mercilessness of the killing may be appalling to us, but this year it went on with full protection from the authorities.

In other words, according to Cetacean Society International those who oppose the killing of the dolphins are "ignorant outsiders." No wonder Rossiter is attacking Sea Shepherd. He is an apologist for the Japanese cultural attitude towards the slaughter of these gentle, social and intelligent creatures. Rossiter actually dismisses our horror at the cruelty and the killing as a Western cultural response. The Japanese fishing industry should be paying him a public relations fee to spout this nonsense. The question must be asked here; what side are Bill Rossiter and CSI on? It is clear he is not on the side of the dolphins.

Every year the dolphin slaughter goes on with the full protection of the authorities. Dexter Cate released dolphins back in 1981 acting on behalf of the Fund for Animals. He was rightfully hailed as a hero for doing so.

Rossiter appears to be more concerned with upsetting and insulting the Japanese who condone and participate in this cruel mass slaughter.

Rossiter concludes his rant by writing: 

The slaughter has a long history, justified to provide food, to destroy pests and competitors for fish, and more recently, to provide income from the captivity industry. Locals admit that the drives are now partially sustained by the captivity industry, which sends representatives to the "Dolphin Base" to select suitable dolphins before the rest are brutally killed. The base may be supported from the local "World Dolphin Resort", which operates dolphin swim programs. There were perhaps 50 trainers at Taiji during the drives, including some members of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA).

The slaughters will continue, as will the conflict between cultures. We want to do something, but haven't a clue how to stop this inhumane tragedy.

Finally the man makes the first true and honest statement in his article when he writes that "...[we] haven't a clue how to stop the inhumane tragedy." What he is saying is that he has not got a clue on what to do. It appears his only course of action is to attack the only organization that has actually gone to Taiji and physically released and saved dolphins.

Prior to that, he rambles on about justifications but offers no ideas and certainly presents no history of CSI involvement with opposing the slaughter because they have had no involvement.

This was the same organization that organized the so called "Whales Alive" conference in Maui back in 1999. Rossiter refused to invite Captain Paul Watson because, in his opinion, Watson was controversial, radical and violent, and he did not want to appear to take sides on the Makah whaling controversy. This is interesting considering he did invite and pay the expenses for Micah McCarthy to speak. Micah was a Makah harpooner, and Sea Shepherd can't think of anything more controversial, radical and violent than a man who sticks a harpoon into a defenseless whale.

So it is not really strange that a man who prefers the company of whalers to anti-whalers would malign and viciously attack two courageous defenders of dolphins and express sympathy for those who kill them.




Taiji fishermen slaughtering dolphins.


Visit our Taiji page for complete information