An open letter to the nations of the world to act to stop the slaughter of whales by Japan in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean:
APPEAL TO NATIONS TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT ALL
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Despite worldwide disapproval since the late 1970s, nations of the world have not managed to stop Japan from continuing their barbaric and unnecessary slaughter of whales. This horrific slaughter takes place in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean; an area designated in 1994 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as a sanctuary for these intelligent marine mammals.
Nations of the world still permit Japan to kill more than 1000 whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary every year for so-called “scientific research.” No peer-reviewed scientific publications have ever come from these slaughters. Worse still, the whale meat continues to be sold illegally and shows up in restaurants, grocery stores, and children’s school lunches, despite known serious health hazards from toxic heavy metals.
Nations express disapproval and vote for regulations, treaties, moratoriums, and sanctuaries, yet all of these have failed to protect the last of our great whales, even in the place we call a Whale Sanctuary.
The governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States issued a joint statement on December 14, 2011, saying that they “remain resolute in [their] opposition to commercial whaling including so-called ‘scientific’ whaling, in particular in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary… and are disappointed about the recent departure of the Japanese whaling fleet for the Southern Ocean.” They claim to “remain committed to improving the conservation status of whales worldwide, maintaining the International Whaling Commission’s global moratorium on commercial whaling, and meaningful reform of the International Whaling Commission”.
These governments call for “responsible behavior” in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We agree. Pointless slaughter of whales without regard for their lives or their vital roles in ocean ecosystems is not responsible. Hundreds of nations standing by while a few rogue nations bring about unnecessary and tragic extinction is not responsible.
Offering only words is not responsible. Had the men and women who volunteer with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society offered only their words these past eight years, many thousands of whales would no longer exist on this planet. These great whales need effective actions from the nations of the world-now.
We appeal to all nations of the world: Please do everything in your power to stop this pointless, ecologically devastating slaughter of our planet’s great whales. Impose trade sanctions, disallow them to hunt in your nation’s economic exclusion zones, withhold support from them, and raise public awareness about this issue — you know best how you can impose pressure on the government of Japan.
If you fail to act, are you prepared to admit to yourselves, to your children, to your children’s children, that you let Japan annihilate some of the most intelligent creatures on our planet, because you were unwilling to take action to stop them? What will you let Japan or other nations take from you and your children next?
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a small, non-profit organization dedicated to marine conservation. Staffed and crewed almost entirely by volunteers and operated solely by donations. We have taken vessels to the Southern Ocean for the past eight years to interrupt the slaughter and to protect the whales by placing ourselves in harm’s way between the harpoon ships and the slipway of the whalers’ factory ship, thus rendering it impossible for them to retrieve and process whales, which in turn forces them to stop the killing.
In January of 2010, the Japanese whalers sank a Sea Shepherd vessel in the frigid ice-heavy seas of the Southern Ocean, necessitating a rescue of its entire crew by the remaining Sea Shepherd vessel, the Bob Barker. No offer of assistance was made by any of the Japanese whaling fleet. They also rammed the starboard midship of the Bob Barker and broke open its hull. The deadly intent of the whalers was unmistakable and sobering to us. Their subsequent press releases were full of lies and false accusations and proved that their lack of regard for life was matched by their lack of regard for the truth.
Right now, our three ships and 88 volunteer crew members – men and women from over 20 different countries – are headed southward to increasingly frigid and dangerous conditions. We have the Japanese whaling fleet in our sights, and in the coming weeks and months we will continuously place ourselves between whales and the whaling vessels in order to prevent the slaughter of many hundreds of whales. We are passionately committed to ending these barbaric, pointless, and illegal killings.
Please protect the whales. Don’t just offer words of support. Don’t just send donations for our vessels and crew. Only nations can prevent other nations from committing these atrocities to life on this planet. Please, nations of the world, give us action.
For the sake of the oceans and humankind,
Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen, Director