Environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., together with the conservation group Sea Shepherd, has asked the US Supreme Court to rescind an order that forces the group to stay away from Japan’s whalers. RFK Jr., the son and namesake of the slain political icon, has urged the United States to support the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
The Sea Shepherd group and its fugitive founder Paul Watson have annually interfered with Japan’s controversial whale hunting in the Southern Ocean. A US court on December 17 issued an order for the activists to stay at least 500m away from the whaling vessels. The Southern Ocean has been designated as a whale sanctuary by The International Whaling Commission, but Japan has still continued hunting whales in the area through a loophole in a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling that allows lethal research. RFK Jr. has called Japan’s government-supported Institute for Cetacean Research, the group that runs the whaling program, “a pirate organization masquerading as a scientific research group.”
RFK Jr. stressed the importance of supporting Sea Shepherd, stating that their environmental cause is “a mission that only they are capable of accomplishing and that is absolutely vital to the enforcement of international agreements on the high seas which otherwise go unenforced.” Japan, which has remained unapologetic that the whale meat ends up on dinner plates, accuses other Western nations that have cried foul of disrespecting its cultural traditions.[ via The Australian ]