January 6, 2014
Sea Shepherd Releases Gruesome Evidence Of Japanese Whaling
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Video and photos released by the conservation group showed what appeared to be three minke whales dead on the deck of the Japanese ship Nisshin Maru. The group said a fourth whale, most likely another minke, was seen being slaughtered from the Sea Shepherd's helicopter as it flew over the fleet.
According to an official statement from the Sea Shepherd, the group’s helicopter first spotted the Nisshin Maru in New Zealand’s sovereign waters and the internationally recognized Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
“The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary has been tainted by the illegal slaughter of these beautiful and majestic Minke Whales by the ruthless, violent and barbaric actions of the Japanese whale poachers,” said Jeff Hansen, managing director for Sea Shepherd Australia.”
Sea Shepherd Australia chairman Bob Brown described the grisly scene to the AFP.
"There's three carcasses on the ship, a fourth carcass has been cut up,” he said. “There's blood all over the place, meat being carted around on this factory ship deck, offal and innards being dumped in the ocean.”
"That's just a gruesome, bloody, medieval scene which has no place in this modern world,” he added.
The commercial hunting of whales is banned in the sanctuary by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994. However, Japanese whalers have been catching the marine mammals there under the banner of scientific research.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully claimed that whaling was not taking place within his country's jurisdiction, but in international waters.
"The New Zealand government has repeatedly called on Japan to end its whaling program. We reiterate this message today," he said in condemning the "pointless and offensive" practice.
Japan's fisheries agency told the AFP that the whale program was being conducted "in line with a research plan submitted to the IWC".
"We are not aware of the existence of a whaling sanctuary so we don't want to comment on their arguments," a Japanese agency spokesman said of New Zealand’s official claims.
“When ‘science’ requires you to grotesquely bloat up the bodies of protected whales, stroll across a deck smeared with their blood, hauling their body parts with hooks and chains, and discarding their remains over the side, then that ‘science’ has no place in the 21st Century,” said Sid Chakravarty, captain of the Steve Irwin. “The Nisshin Maru is an out-and-out butcher ship and a floating butchery has no place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”
“No one will ever know the pain and suffering these playful, gentle giants went through from the time the explosive harpoon ripped through their bodies to the time they drew their last breath in a red sea full of their own blood,” Hansen said. “One thing is for sure, Sea Shepherd will do what ever it takes to ensure no more whales have to endure pain and suffering at the hands of these whale butchers from Japan.”