On Friday, anti-whaling nations including Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States issued a joint call for the activist group Sea Shepherd to not put any human lives in danger on its latest campaign against Japan’s whale hunting fleet. In a statement released by the U.S. State Department, the four nations said that while they support the right to peaceful protests, any actions that put human lives at risk while at sea are condemned.
This message comes as the Japanese whaling industry makes its final preparations for the 2012-2013 hunting season in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd, lead by the renown activist Paul Watson, has dubbed its campaign this year “Operation Zero Tolerance,” with a goal of preventing the death of even a single whale. While the group targets Japan’s fleet every year, resulting in past conflicts that included ships colliding, the four anti-whaling countries ask that safety be ensured for all.They also reiterate that they are opposed to all whaling, and the targeted waters are recognized as a sanctuary by the International Whaling Commission. Their statement included that modern whale conservation and management no longer requires lethal research, referring to Japan’s labeling of its hunts as scientific.
Earlier this week a U.S. court ordered an injunction against Sea Shepherd, ordering the activists to remain at least 500 yards from Japan’s ships. The group has stated it cannot abide by such an order, and will stand up to Japan’s ships in order to save the lives of whales. For their latest ship, dubbed the Sam Simon, Sea Shepherd actually purchased it from the Japanese government without them realizing who it was going to. While not a vessel that was directly involved in whale hunting, the retired ship served as observatory that assisted Japan’s whaling industry.[via ABC News]