Japanese government officials pulled the plug on the annual whaling season due to harassing activities from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The Sea Shepherd crew has allegedly thrown paint and rancid butter at whalers, and tossed tangled ropes in their propellers. Sea Shepherd boats have hounded Japanese whalers across many miles of ocean to slow them down, and foil their whale killing ways. The Japanese had set a goal of killing over 800 whales this season, but returned home with less than 200, according to one report.
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said their success was due to increasing their technological capacity, “We had better equipment, we had a longer-range helicopter … really, it came down to having more resources.” (Source: Associated Press) Sea Shepherd said they followed the main Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru for 2,000 miles.
The Japanese government said the activists are endangering their crew, and calls them terrorists. Sea Shepherd activists counter that they haven’t hurt anyone. (One of the Sea Shepherd boats was actually smashed by a Japanese boat, but no one from either side was injured severely.)
One of the Sea Shepherd ships is called the Bob Barker, and was named after the game show host who donated five million dollars for it. The ship is docked in New Zealand, and was retrofitted last year for action. Other celebrities such as Martin Sheen, Daryl Hannah, Edward Norton, Pierce Brosnan, and Christian Bale have reportedly contributed to their work. The Japanese whaling front organization called the Institute for Cetacean Research, said “This issue is not about whaling, but about the safety and violent activities at Sea.” (Source: ICRwhale.org)
So killing whales is not violent? Claims have been consistently made by the ICR that they are taking whales for research purposes, but somehow the whales wind up sold as food. Whale meat consumption may be on the decline in Japan however, due to shifting public attitudes. The federal government there has had to use tax payer dollars to promote whale meat, and even include it in some school children’s lunches.
Activists hope the Japanese government will stop the destructive tradition of whaling.
Image Credit: kohane