It took five years, but Sea Shepherd Australia finally forced the release of footage the Australian government did not want their own people to see for fear of upsetting relations between Australia and Japan.
“The Australian Government has suppressed this footage for years,” said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia. “The main reason given was that the images of this horrific slaughter would harm diplomatic relationships with Japan. The Australian Government has chosen to side with the poachers instead of defending the whales of the Southern Ocean.”
Sea Shepherd has been a part of a joint effort fighting the Australian Government to release rare whaling footage obtained on a 2008 Australian Customs mission to the Antarctic. “Through the Freedom of Information (FOI) process we worked with the Environmental Defenders Office NSW and Humane Society International Australia to make sure the public could finally see what this taxpayer funded operation filmed,” said Hansen.
The Japanese whalers are in contempt of the Australian Federal Court and have been fined a million dollars that they refuse to pay. The Japanese whalers have been condemned by the International Whaling Commission and the International Court of Justice. The ICJ ruled that Japanese whaling operation were not scientific and thus illegal. Japan is defying the ICJ, the IWC, the Australian Federal Court.
"With the whaling fleet now in the killing grounds, the question must be asked, does the Australian Government represent the wishes of the people of Australian or Japan?"
Jeff Hansen, Sea Shepherd Australia Director
“This footage shows the bloody brutality, cruelty and senseless killing of such beautiful, intelligent and majestic animals. These whales are hunted down, before being hit with an explosive harpoon that sends shrapnel through their bodies, while prongs come out so that the whale cannot escape. The whale dives to try and get back to the depths below, to its family, but it can’t as the whale killers retract the cable, slowly bringing the whale to the surface, thrashing about in pain before he/she gets to eyeball their killer, before being shot until finally dying, many minutes later in a sea of blood,” said Hansen.
“Sea Shepherd has been relentless in our opposition of the Japanese whaling fleet, filling a void in doing the job that the majority of Australian’s want to see done. Now is the time for the Australian Government to live up to its pre-election promises and send a vessel to oppose whaling by Japan. With the whaling fleet now in the killing grounds, the question must be asked, does the Australian Government represent the wishes of the people of Australian or Japan?”
Sea Shepherd is asking the Australian Government to do all it can to end whaling, by not only sending a ship to the Antarctic but to also take Japan to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, where Japan can be challenged over its activities as Japan is not meeting its international obligations to sustainably protect whales. The tribunal has a system of mandatory dispute settlement, one that's very difficult to opt out of and there is very little Japan could do about it,” concluded Hansen.
Join the fight to convince the Australian government to protect the whales in its waters. Take action now by writing to Australia's Prime Minister Malcom Turbull or sending a Selfie to show your support.