Japan to launch “non-lethal” whaling program (wink, wink)

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Japan’s whaling industry seems to be stupid enough to think the entire world is stupid. In a stunningly asinine move to coverup what we all know is going on, the industry is claiming it will move its so-called research (another wink, wink) into the non-lethal area.

These people are out to sell whale meat for human consumption and product manufacturing – period. Their attempts to claim other motivations are at play are nothing more than propaganda, in the worst way.

The Japanese government and this industry are willing to send whales into extinction for noting more than profit. It is sick and disgusting.

I received the following press release today from Sea Shepherd:

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Today, the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) announced that Japan’s whaling fleet will depart from Japan on January 8, 2015, in order to undertake non-lethal research on the Antarctic whale population.

In response to the announcement, Captain Peter Hammarstedt of Sea Shepherd stated, “The Government of Japan’s farcical, non-lethal whaling initiative must be seen in the context of a greater criminal conspiracy. The Government of Japan has already announced their plans to resume the killing of whales in 2015/2016, despite condemnation from the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice. Therefore, the data collected during this upcoming season will be used to kill whales in as little as one year from now. Japan’s non-lethal program is the equivalent of robbers casing a bank in preparation for a robbery; the heist that robs the world of its most majestic creatures.”

“Sea Shepherd has at times been labelled as radical, however its these whale poachers from Japan that continue to snub their nose at the Australian Federal and International Court of Justice that are the radical ones. As these butchers depart to stake out the scene for their criminal acts against the whales in 2015, it is the Japanese whale poachers and the Governments of the world that sit idle, they are the radical ones. Sea Shepherd, the upholders of the law are the conservative ones,” said Sea Shepherd Australia’s Managing Director, Jeff Hansen.

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US responds to Iceland’s horrendous whale meat industry

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In a great bit of news, the US is challenging Iceland’s trade practices in whale meat and other products made from whales.

What Iceland, Japan any others involved in whaling, directly or in purchasing the products, are doing crosses the line. Whales are vital to the Earth’s ecosystem and more importantly, whales are highly intelligent beings. Wiping them off the face to the Earth is criminal and inflicting such extreme suffering on them is both criminal and evil.

The press release from the US Fish and Wildlife Service:

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Federal Agencies Directed to Take Action in Response to Iceland’s International Trade in Whale Meat and Products

The President has notified Congress of actions he directed federal departments and agencies to take to encourage Iceland to cease international trade in whale meat and products. The President’s instructions come in response to a certification issued by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that Iceland’s international trade in whale meat and products is diminishing the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“The Icelandic government continues to increase its fin whaling quotas despite international pressure to cease its commercial hunting operations,” said Secretary Jewell. “The President’s actions today highlight our continued concern about and staunch opposition to Icelandic commercial fin whaling and the export of endangered fin whale meat.”

Secretary Jewell’s certification, as required by the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act, followed on from a similar certification by then-Secretary of Commerce Locke in July 2011, in which he stated that commercial whaling by Icelandic nationals diminished the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conservation program. The IWC adopted a commercial whaling moratorium in 1982.

In the letter notifying Congress of his actions, the President said: “Just as the United States made the transition from a commercial whaling nation to a whale watching nation, we must enhance our engagement to facilitate this change by Iceland.” His directives reaffirm those made pursuant to the 2011 certification and include several additional actions including, among others, encouraging Iceland to promote alternative non-lethal uses of whales in Iceland, such as whale watching; working with other international actors on additional measures to reduce Iceland’s fin whale trade and enhance the effectiveness of CITES; and re-examining bilateral cooperation projects with Iceland in light of its whaling policies. A detailed list of the actions directed by President Obama can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/01/
Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2006 and since then has exported whale meat and products despite a ban on international commercial trade. Unlike Japan, Iceland does not consider itself to be bound by the IWC’s moratorium on commercial whaling. In December 2013, Iceland issued a fin whale quota of 154 fin whales per year for the years 2014-2019.

From 2008 to 2012, trade reports show that more than 1.6 million kilograms of fin whale meat and products were exported from Iceland to Japan. Fin whales are listed in Appendix I of CITES, which prohibits trade for primarily commercial purposes.

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Sea Shepherd’s latest update on Japanese dolphin slaughter

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I’m a little behind in getting his posted, but the update is still important:

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January 18, 2014 – TAIJI, Japan — Five separate pods of Bottlenose dolphins totaling more than 250 individuals including juveniles, babies and a priceless albino calf and its mom were driven into Taiji’s infamous killing cove on Thursday and held overnight. Swimming free just two days ago, they now face a lifetime in captivity in a tiny cell or brutal slaughter.

Yesterday, the members of the pod endured a violent and stressful captive selection process. Taiji dolphin killers and trainers once again worked side-by-side as they wrestled dolphins under their tarps where those deemed “pretty enough” for captivity were chosen. Babies and mothers were torn from each other’s sides as 25 Bottlenose dolphins were taken for captivity.

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Australia going after Japan’s whaling operations in International Court of Justic

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Australia is standing up for whales, against Japan’s fake and so-called research loophole it uses to defend its commercial whaling operations.

Specifically, Australia will challenge Japan’s slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd sent the following press release:

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Sea Shepherd USA Backs Australia in Landmark Legal Case to End ‘Research Whaling’

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. – June 25, 2013 – Japan may finally be brought to justice for killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under the ‘research whaling’ loophole as a landmark legal case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands, begins on June 26, 2013. Following a 2008 order from an Australian Court to end the Japanese whale hunts that ICR has ignored, the Australian government will present its case against Japan’s whaling operations in the Southern Ocean during the three-week-long hearing scheduled to run through July 16, 2013. Australia launched the case in 2010, asking the ICJ to halt a hunt that violates the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) laws’ moratorium on commercial whaling, and was on a scale far beyond the ICRW’s rules on killing whales for research.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be present at the legal proceedings for the duration of the trial. Sea Shepherd has historically been at the forefront of defending whales in the remote Southern Ocean, reducing the effectiveness of Japan’s annual self-imposed kill quota of more than 1,000 whales. During the 2012-2013 hunting season, Japan only managed to kill 103 Minke whales (including pregnant females), the lowest tally to date, as a result of international volunteers led by Sea Shepherd Australia’s non-violent interventions. Since the whaling moratorium was introduced in 1986, Japan has killed more than 14,000 whales under the scientific research clause, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare — 14,000 whales, during an international moratorium on whaling and in a designated whale sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd USA hopes the outcome of this case will finally bring redemption to the whales and allow the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to truly serve as the sanctuary it was designated as and not as killing grounds. “Although the battle to defend whales is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere, people around the world are concerned about the ruling of this case – these are not just Australia’s whales, they are the world’s whales and we all have a vested interest in their survival and well-being,” said Sea Shepherd USA’s Administrative Director Susan Hartland. “A loss in the World Court would be devastating to people worldwide who support the efforts to save the whales, and as more than 90% of the planet’s great whales have been wiped out, we need to fight hard to protect the remaining ones from the same fate.”

While the legal battle of Australia vs. Japan will play out in The Hague, Sea Shepherd USA will continue its battle for the whales in a defense against Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) here on home turf. To take advantage of the research loophole and sidestep the international ban on commercial whaling, Japanese whaling vessels are emblazoned with “RESEARCH.” The ICR was given an injunction against Sea Shepherd USA to halt the non-profit’s participation in effective interventions in order to continue to freely kill whales. In early 2012, the lower court originally denied ICR’s injunction; the judges’ ruling acknowledged SSCS USA’s harmless, low-level harassment and recognized its public benefit. However, on December 17, 2012, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision with no supporting laws or details. The court injunction prevents Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd USA, and any party acting in concert with them from interfering with the ICR, requiring a 500-yard buffer from ICR vessels. This extreme ruling came with no opportunity for an evidentiary hearing to plead the case. If the ruling stands, the future of Sea Shepherd USA and the marine wildlife it actively defends could be at risk.

The public hearings from the ICJ will be broadcast live and in full on the International Court of Justice’s website at www.icj-cij.org/presscom/multimedia.php?p1=6 and will be available on UN Web TV at http://webtv.un.org/.

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