What would we think of the police if they were to ask bank robbers to cut down on the number of robberies in the city and rob more banks in the country instead? This is exactly what the United States is proposing with criminal whaling operations by Japan.

In an effort to reduce the illegal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, William Hogarth, appointed to the International Whaling Commission by George W. Bush and now the Chairman of the IWC, is recommending that in return for a "reduced" quota by Japan in the Southern Ocean, that Japan be given a legal commercial quota off the coast of Japan.

Commercial whaling is illegal. Killing endangered and threatened whales is illegal. Killing whales in an established international whale sanctuary is illegal. Killing whales in Antarctic waters is illegal. Killing whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory is illegal. Refueling whaling ships in the Antarctic Treaty Zone is illegal. Dumping blood and offal from whaling ships is illegal in the Antarctic Treaty Zone. Failing to file an environmental assessment to operate a commercial enterprise in the Antarctic Treaty Zone is illegal.

Japan is in violation of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Antarctic Treaty, and the Regulations of the International Whaling Commission. Japan is in violation of the regulations of the United States Department of Commerce and is in contempt of an Australian Court Order prohibiting whaling in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Yet there seems to be a complete denial of Japan's illegal activities. Greenpeace is more concerned about crewmembers stealing whale meat from the whaling industry than they are about all of the international violations. The members of the IWC seem more concerned about Sea Shepherd throwing rotten butter onto the whaling ships than they are about all of the international violations. Australia seems more concerned about Sea Shepherd's activities to disrupt whaling than they are about Japan's illegal whaling activities.

Japanese whaling in the Southern Oceans is in violation of the of the U.S. Department of Commerce regulations yet every year the President merely sends a "strongly worded letter of protest" to Japan instead of sanctioning Japan under the law. And every year for the last twenty years, Japan has chosen to ignore the letters.

Australia promises legal action and then reneges, choosing to do nothing under the guise of opting for diplomacy, and as we all know diplomacy with Japan over this issue has failed utterly for twenty-two years. How the so called diplomacy of the Rudd government differs from the diplomacy of the Howard government that Peter Garrett admonished when he was in opposition is unclear.

If Japan were a poor third world nation, they would not be getting away with this illegal slaughter. They would be taken by the scruff of the neck and kicked out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

What is it about the word "sanctuary" that no one seems to understand?

There is no difference between Japanese whaling and the slaughter of mountain gorillas or giraffes in the Congo. Both are forms of bush meat. There is no difference between the slaughter of whales and the poaching of elephants. Both are illegal activities.

In Africa, the rangers shoot to kill elephant poachers and the world applauds. In the Southern Ocean we disrupt the poaching of whales with rotten butter and governments condemn us as extremists and the Japanese call us terrorists. Bullets are justified for black African poachers but rotten butter is "too extreme" for Japanese whale poachers.

We don't see the media reporting on Somali poachers accusing Kenyan rangers of terrorism. We don't see rhino poachers being given credibility in the media for complaining about international efforts to stop their illegal activities.

Why the special dispensation for Japan?

The answer is simple of course. International law is to be used to keep poor nations in line and not to be used against rich economic super powers. International law is designed to keep poor nations poor, and rich nations rich. European nations can illegally dump toxic and radioactive materials into the waters off Somalia and European fisheries can loot the fish from inside the territorial waters of all the African nations and the world turns its eyes away. Yet when some impoverished Somali fishermen, victims of European over-fishing, hi-jack an oil tanker, the world's super powers cry terrorism and rush to discipline the "pirates."

In the name of profits, our oceans are being looted and entire species of fish, sea-birds, and marine mammals are threatened with extinction. Yet the demand for shark-fins, whale meat, bluefin tuna, Chilean Sea Bass and so many more species is of more consideration than the very survival of these species.

Short term profit is tolerated at the expense of long-term consequences.

What is the good of international conservation law if these laws are ignored? What is the point of governments sending representatives at tax-payers expense to extravagant international conferences to draft legislation that everyone ignores?

During the International Whaling Commission meeting in Santiago in June 2008, all the delegates, much to Japan's pleasure, agreed to disagree. Nothing was said or done about illegal whaling. The only thing the delegates could agree on was to condemn the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for tossing rotten butter onto the decks of outlaw Japanese whaling ships. In fact the only non-governmental organization that has ever done anything to enforce the regulations of the International Whaling Commission is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and we are the only non-governmental organization banned from attending the annual meetings.

Governments don't seem to want to solve problems. They want to present the illusion of solving problems. The Australian government wants to have the Australian people believe that Australia is doing something to address the problem but they don't want to have to actually do something about the problem.

Contrary to what our critics say, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has operated within the boundaries of the law since we were established in 1977. Proof of this is that in over three decades of operations we have never been convicted of a felony crime. We have never been sued. We have successfully sued companies for violating the law. We have never caused an injury to any person. Yet the public relations firms of the criminals looting our oceans pump out propaganda constantly accusing us of being criminals and terrorists while they violently lay waste to the entire planet.

It is absolute madness, and it has taken all of my patience for decades to deploy strategies that stay within the bounds of the law when a part of me simply wants to avenge the deaths of millions of lives in our oceans and the destruction of oceanic habitats. We have acted responsibly, cautiously and with great practicality over the years, pushing the envelope as far as the law and morality will allow us to do so. And we will continue to do so. But I fear that we will be hindered even further and that the laws will be tightened by special interests to protect profits and not resources, to protect profits over human rights and the rights of nature.

As resources diminish I see opposition to exploitation being stamped out as "subversive" activities and all attempts to save our oceans, our forests and our environment spun by the professional spin doctors into "crimes against humanity."

The only thing more destructive to eco-systems than the impoverishment of poor nations is the diminishment in materialism of developed nations. Underdeveloped nations cause damage in their quest to utilize all available resources for survival. Developed nations cause even more damage in their quest to utilize all available resources to prevent a decline in their relatively wealthy lifestyles. But be they motivated by survival or by greed, the result is the same and the victims are the non-human species of the planet.

The problem is simple. There are too many people and too few resources. It's the third law of ecology - the law of finite resources. There is a limit to growth. But how can this be addressed within the context of economic systems that depend upon unlimited growth to survive?

Our oceans have reached their limit to give up their resources. The fish cannot breed fast enough to keep up with our demands as we wipe out one species we turn our attention to another, adapting to diminishment with each commercial extinction. Over-fishing, global warming, acidification of the seas, ocean dumping, toxic chemicals, radioactive materials, and so many other human spawned problems all amount to out of control human population growth.

We are locked into a pattern of self destruction. We know what the problems are but we are too selfish as a species to address the problems. We as a species want to eat good food, exotic foods, drive around in cars, fly in airplanes, take trips on yachts, fish, hunt, trap, cut down forests, own a computer, wear the latest fashions etc, forgetting the ecological price we have to pay for these luxuries.

And we do it innocently. The desire to have a child is natural and harmless except when seven billion people want to do the same thing. The need to cut down a tree to build a house is natural except when seven billion people need to cut down a tree for everything from building a house to toilet paper. The desire to catch a fish is natural except when seven billion people want to do so.

Where do even begin?

How do we get off the treadmill that society placed us on the day we were born?

If we drop out and become hermits, the excesses continue on without us. The truth is we cannot get off the bus.

And just as the bus in the movie "Speed" could not stop, we cannot stop the juggernaut of human civilization from going where it will inevitably go. It will run out of fuel or it will crash.

But what we can do is refuse to sit as complacent passengers waiting for the crash. We can dedicate ourselves to trying to slow down the bus and trying to come up with an alternative approach. But the reality is that most people will just sit on the bus, watching movies and listening to their I-pods until the bus hits the wall.

Still we don't need everyone. We just need a strong enough minority because if human history has taught us anything at all, it has taught us that all social revolutions are initiated and led by a very small minority. The majority always go along for the ride.

I marvel at times that with seven billion people on this planet, there are only thirty-three of us down here trying to save these whales from illegal whaling operations. Thirty-three of us with only a few thousand supporters to assist us.

The odds are against us. There are a few hundred whalers down here with the support of Japan, a nation of one hundred million people. They have the money, the machinery, the power, in short they have a stacked deck.

We are limited in our tactics, limited in our finances and we do not enjoy the support of any government.

Why should we even bother? What can we possibly hope to accomplish?

I will tell you what and why?

We are down here in the remote and hostile waters of Antarctica not only to defend the lives of whales but to demonstrate that a few people can make a difference, that we can take on this economic ecologically destructive Goliath and we can beat him with nothing more than a slingshot.

For the last four years we have been kicking this giant in the shins, irritating him, and most importantly costing him profits. We have saved over a thousand whales and we have focused the attention of the world on their obscene slaughter.

And most importantly we are showing for the first time in the history of humanity that people are ready and willing to risk their lives and freedoms as volunteers to defend a non-human species from the greed and criminality of our own kind.

What we do is unprecedented since humankind first appeared on this planet. For the first time ever there are people speaking for the rights of non-human species and not just speaking but actually fighting in defence of the rights of these species.

And it is not just here in at the bottom of the planet, but in Africa where humans are fighting for elephants, in the Galapagos where we are fighting for sharks, in Montana where people are fighting for wolves, or for Redwoods in California, or old growth forests in Tasmania or for coral reefs and fish, and birds, and turtles and invertebrates and flowering plants worldwide.

We are in fact part of a global revolutionary movement that is seeking to reunite ourselves as a species within the harmonious web of diversity of life.

In other words we are fighting to return to the Garden of the Natural World and because of that I do what I do, because this movement gives me great hope.

For in truth if it were not for all of you out there pursuing these compassionate paths, I would not have the strength to even live, for a world divided from nature is a world that has lost its soul and is of little value.

For the majority of people that watch complacently as the world dies around them, I would like to be able to heed the words of Jesus Christ who said, "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do."

But unfortunately all of us in the world today know exactly what we are doing and if there is ignorance, it is a willful, deliberate ignorance and because of the horrific destruction of the natural world, it is an evil ignorance.

There will be no forgiveness if the ecological insanity of humanity is allowed to prevail. There will be no forgiveness because there will be no one left to forgive us.

For in the end there are only three basic ecological laws that we have no choice but to obey. No species in the history of the planet has survived without living in accordance with these three basic laws.

  1. The law of diversity
  2. The law of Interdependence
  3. The Law of Finite Resources.

We may be able to ignore international conservation laws but these three laws we cannot ignore for long.

Contradictions have consequences.

Will the Earth plundering Goliath triumph or will we Davids bring the Giant down before it's too late for us all.

All I know is that I've picked up my slingshot and I've got a few stones left to use in this battle.

Sea Shepherd
From Taiji to Tanks: A Look at the Barren Lives of Captive Dolphins
From Taiji to Tanks: A Look at the Barren Lives of Captive Dolphins
In November 2015, Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians observed the captive cetaceans at Japan's Adventure World.Though this marine park has dolphins from Taiji, the suffering behind cetacean captivity looks much the same around the world. To learn how you can support Operation Henkaku and help us break t...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 03 - Sailing with Dolphins
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 03 - Sailing with Dolphins
The crew of Sea Shepherd's research sailing vessel, the R/V Martin Sheen, sails in search of the smallest cetacean in the world, the endangered vaquita marina porpoise.
M/V Farley Mowat Crew Prepares for Operation Milagro II
M/V Farley Mowat Crew Prepares for Operation Milagro II
Join the crew of the M/V Farley Mowat as they prepare the ship to embark on its maiden Sea Shepherd campaign - Operation Milagro II, Fall 2015 Vaquita Porpoise Defense Campaign. With an estimated 97 individuals remaining, the endangered vaquita is facing the very real threat of extinction. Please ...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 01 - Turtle Rescue
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 01 - Turtle Rescue
The Vlog from the Gulf of California 01 - Turtle Rescue. Follow the crew of the Research Vessel, the R/V Martin Sheen, as they patrol the upper Gulf of California in Mexico - to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the world, the vaquita marina porpoise.
Taiji, Japan - Pilot whale tethered and drowned
Taiji, Japan - Pilot whale tethered and drowned
A wounded pilot whale, visibly bleeding and barely able to stay above the surface of the water, is tethered and drowned in the cove by Taiji's killers, after briefly escaping from under the tarps where its pod is being slaughtered.
Operation Milagro II Vaquita Defense Campaign
Operation Milagro II Vaquita Defense Campaign
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society returns to Mexico to protect the critically endangered vaquita marina in the only waters on Earth this petite porpoise calls home. Working in partnership with the Mexican government, Sea Shepherd will strive to bring about a miracle for the endangered vaquita before...
Sea Shepherd Central America Goodwill Campaign for the Pacific
Sea Shepherd Central America Goodwill Campaign for the Pacific
A look at Sea Shepherd Central America's journey of research and observation to Cocos Island, a world-renowned marine sanctuary located 350 miles offshore. The goal of the goodwill campaign is to promote awareness for the protection of species that inhabit the Central Pacific.
Gregg Lowe Supports Sea Shepherd
Gregg Lowe Supports Sea Shepherd
Actor Gregg Lowe, star of "X-Men: Days of Future Past," discusses the importance of Sea Shepherd's work to protect the oceans, why he is vegan for the planet and for all species, and his desire to join a Sea Shepherd campaign to defend ocean wildlife on the frontlines. Video by: Reece Pickering
Operation Henkaku 2015 Dolphin Defense Campaign
Operation Henkaku 2015 Dolphin Defense Campaign
Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians are gearing up for the sixth season of our Taiji Dolphin Defense Campaign. As we return to the cove to expose the brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins and small whales, stand with us! The dolphins need you! To volunteer as a Cove Guardian, please email groundcrew@s...
12 Defendants, One Movement. Warning Graphic Footage.
12 Defendants, One Movement. Warning Graphic Footage.
“We were one small boat and five bodies against 500 people on the beach and 50 boats pushing…but there’s no reason not to fight.” On August 12, 61 pilot whales were slaughtered on the killing beach of Sandavágur in the Faroe Islands. With the odds stacked against them, in the face of adve...
Operation Jairo Crew Protect Nesting Leatherback Turtle
Operation Jairo Crew Protect Nesting Leatherback Turtle
Just feet from where they were attacked not a month before, Sea Shepherd's Operation Jairo volunteers defend a nesting leatherback turtle from poachers on Pacuare Beach in Costa Rica. All 63 eggs are now being protected in a hatchery, where they will have the best chance of survival out of the hands...
#StandUp250 Corsica (France) - Xavier Figarella
#StandUp250 Corsica (France) - Xavier Figarella
"They asked me, 'do you want cuffs' and I said 'Yes, it's better.' Because inside it was like an explosion.” Xavier is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from slaughter. For more information on how you can #StandUp...
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Honduras
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Honduras
Meet some of the Sea Shepherd volunteers in Honduras for Operation Jairo, Sea Shepherd's 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign! The crew hails from all over the world, from countries including the United States, Australia, Norway, and France. These volunteers work tirelessly to patrol the beaches in Hond...
#StandUp250 Italy - Marianna Baldo
#StandUp250 Italy - Marianna Baldo
“In the same way that they think they …. have the right to kill these animals, that are wild animals, I have exactly the same right to save them.” Marianna is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from slaughter. ...
The Trial Begins
The Trial Begins
Video update from Tórshavn court this morning as five Sea Shepherd crewmembers stand trial for StandingUp for the pilot whales of the Faroe Islands. Take action: http://www.seashepherd.org/standup250
Denmark's Shame
Denmark's Shame
The slaughter of cetaceans is outlawed throughout the European Union, including Denmark, in accordance with Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). However, in the Faroe Islands, the slaughter of pilot whales and other small ce...
#StandUp250 Belgium - Christophe Bondue
#StandUp250 Belgium - Christophe Bondue
"We're just here ... to try to save lives." Christophe is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from slaughter. For more information on how you can #StandUp250 for the pilot whales of the Faroe Islands, and for Sea Shephe...
#StandUp250 South Africa - Rosie Kunneke
#StandUp250 South Africa - Rosie Kunneke
"Calling something a tradition doesn't make it right. I grew up in the tradition of apartheid and we begged the world to come and help us; to get rid of that ugliness." Rosie is one of 7 Sea Shepherd crewmembers arrested in the Faroe Islands since July 20. Their 'crime'? Defending pilot whales from...
Mass Slaughter Of Pilot Whales In The Faroe Islands. WARNING. GRAPHIC
Mass Slaughter Of Pilot Whales In The Faroe Islands. WARNING. GRAPHIC
WARNING: GRAPHIC. Mass Slaughter Of Pilot Whales In The Faroe Islands. Sea Shepherd Crew Arrested. On July 23 2015, approximately 250 pilot whales were slaughtered on the killing beaches of the Faroe Islands. The slaughters, known by the traditional Faroese term ‘grindadráp, took place in two se...
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Costa Rica
Meet the Crew: Operation Jairo – Costa Rica
Meet the team of dedicated volunteers working to protect nesting turtles and their hatchlings on the shores of Costa Rica as part of Operation Jairo, Sea Shepherd’s 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign. This international crew includes volunteers from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, th...
Operation Jairo 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign
Operation Jairo 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign
Sea Shepherd launches Operation Jairo, second-annual sea turtle anti-poaching campaign in Costa Rica, Honduras and Florida. Credits and special thanks: Film by BlueMedia.no Music by Kai-Anders Ryan kaiandersryan.no Photos by Mélanie Chamorel melaniechamorel.com "Turtle in trouble" photo by Jordi C...
Sea Shepherd Captures Rare Footage of Elusive Vaquita During First Sighting since 2013
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On April 18, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society captured rare footage of the elusive and endangered vaquita porpoise in the waters of Mexico’s Gulf of California, the small cetacean’s only home on Earth. The sighting marks the first time since 2013 the shy creature has been spotted and filmed in ...
Strong Hearts, Iron Will – Sam Simon Crew Pays Tribute to the Late Sam Simon
Strong Hearts, Iron Will – Sam Simon Crew Pays Tribute to the Late Sam Simon
The Crew of Sea Shepherd's M/V Sam Simon pays tribute to the late activist, philanthropist, great humanitarian and TV Executive Sam Simon, thanking him for the wonderful ship he provided for them to save marine life in Antarctica and around the world. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is pro...
Sea Shepherd Does What Others Can't or Won't
Sea Shepherd Does What Others Can't or Won't
Sea Shepherd. Who are we? What do we do? Sea Shepherd is not just an organization. It’s a global movement. Volunteer crews boldly go where others can’t or won’t. Here’s a look at some highlights of some of our recent campaigns to defend, conserve and protect marine wildlife and habitats wo...
Sea Shepherd's Operation Infinite Patience: The Cove Guardians expose Taiji
Sea Shepherd's Operation Infinite Patience: The Cove Guardians expose Taiji
Melissa Sehgal and her Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian team highlight the daily atrocities that occur against much beloved, intelligent and social dolphins in Taiji, Japan for six months of each year.