Tonight Animal Planet will air the fourth installment in their exciting docu-drama series, Whale Wars. The show follows the lives of the all-volunteer crew aboard the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s ship, the Steve Irwin. They roam the arctic waters in search of illegal Japanese whalers. When the activists find the hunters, they use non-violent direct action to shut down their bloody hunt.
So far we’ve seen the crew aboard the Steve Irwin chase down the illegal whalers, get stuck in a dangerous ice-field, launch a failed zodiac attack on the whalers, and run a successful attack against a whale scouting ship.
Apparently the Whale Wars forum on Animal Planet’s website has been getting a lot of critical comments. It’s clear that the show is very popular, but many are leaving negative comments about the crew and even challenging the competency of the organization. There are so many comments, in fact, that Captain Paul Watson has responded to them on his blog.
Watson suspects that many of the comments are being left by pro-whale hunting groups based in Japan. Considering how wildly popular the show is in the United States, I think he may be right. In response to those who say Sea Sheperd is reckless, Watson responds, “What we do is dangerous, exceedingly dangerous, yet despite all the rabid accusations, we have never suffered an ‘incident’ at sea.”
He goes on:
“Any second rate sailor can take an icebreaker into thick ice and survive. It takes skill to take a non-ice class vessel into the ice and bring her out safely again. The Japanese harpoon ship the Yushin Maru #2 smashed their propeller in the same ice we were in and had to retreat to Indonesia for repairs. The Japanese whaling fleet has also lost three crewmembers and experienced two major fires, whereas we have not had a single serious accident.”
I love his response to claims that Sea Shepherd is violent:
“Any accusations that Sea Shepherd is a violent organization cannot be backed by real evidence. Does Sea Shepherd destroy equipment used in illegal activities to kill whales and to poach fish? The answer is yes. Is this illegal or violent? The answer is no. If it were illegal we would be arrested. If it were violent someone would be hurt.”
If you live in the US, look out for the new episode of Whale Wars tonight at 9pm on Animal Planet.
photo cred: sea shepherd conservation society