International Whaling Commission Update

Japan has lost all four votes on resolutions brought before the International Whaling Commission (IWC) including the important votes on commercial whaling and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

This means that the whales have won out over the whalers but only by the slimmest of margins.

It also means that Sea Shepherd Conservation Society can once again legally intervene against illegal Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary beginning in December of 2006.

Yesterday, Japan failed to prevent the IWC from discussing the conservation of small cetaceans. The vote was 32 for the whales and 30 for the whalers with 4 abstentions.

The 2nd vote was to introduce secret ballots. The vote was 33 for the whales and 30 for the whalers with one abstention.

Today, Japan proposed a motion to allow Japanese coastal communities to hunt whales. This would have effectively circumvented the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. The vote was 30 for Japan and 31 for the whales with 4 abstentions. The abstentions were China, Solomon Islands, South Korea, and Kiribati - all expected to have voted for the whalers.

The vote prompted Joji Morishita, the Japanese delegation's spokesman, to say, "We are glad this is not a secret vote. Japan will remember which countries supported this proposal and which countries said no."

Japan has given over $400 million in aid packages to nations it has recruited into the International Whaling Commission.

The 4th vote was a Japanese proposal to eliminate the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. It needed a two thirds majority but Japan was hoping for a simple majority to lend legitimacy to their illegal slaughter of whales in Antarctic waters. The vote was 28 for Japan and 33 for the whales with four pro-whaling nations abstaining.

Japan is furious. Conservationists are delighted.

"I can't understand it," said Ben Bradshaw, Britain's Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare. "We are a great friend and ally of Japan in almost every other field. And it is completely inexplicable to me that Japan, Norway, and Iceland continue to push for a resumption of commercial whaling.

"That hugely damages their international reputations," Bradshaw added. "The whale meat is stacking up in huge freezers in these countries because they can't sell it. I can only think that it is about a kind of culturally nationalistic obstinacy that makes them pursue this course."

The IWC meetings will continue until Tuesday. The victories on the first four resolutions bode well for the rest of the meeting.

Sea Shepherd is not officially attending the meetings because it is the only organization officially banned from attending IWC meetings. This is due to the fact that Sea Shepherd is the only organization that directly intervenes against illegal whaling. Sea Shepherd does have unofficial representation.

"We don't protest whaling," said Sea Shepherd International Director Jonny Vasic. "We intervene against illegal whaling by acting to uphold the international treaties and regulations protecting whales."

This year the Vice Chair of the IWC, Horst Kleinschmidt of South Africa and is now a director of the Sea Shepherd in South Africa and a member of the Sea Shepherd International Advisory Board.

Japan Wins by One Vote on Fifth Resolution

The fifth major vote was a moral victory for Japan but it was non-binding because it required a two-thirds majority.

Japan motioned for a non-binding pro-whaling declaration by the IWC that stated that the whaling ban was no longer valid and that whales are responsible for the depletion of worldwide fish populations. Japan also declared nongovernmental environmental organizations as a threat to whaling.

This motion passed by one vote with 33 nations voting for Japan and 32 voting for the whales. There was one abstention.

The Japanese delegation also accused Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and the USA to be "extremist" in their defense of the whales.

This motion means that the majority of the IWC members consider groups like Sea Shepherd to be a threat to whaling.

"I bloody well hope they consider us a threat to whaling," said Captain Paul Watson. "Of course, we are a threat to whaling and we intend to always be a threat to the barbarically inhumane and ecologically destructive practice of whaling."

The resolution was put forward by the host nation of St. Kitts & Nevis. "The world will remember that it was St. Kitts and Nevis that struck the first blow to destroy the commercial moratorium," said Dutch Captain Alex Cornelissen presently onboard the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat in the Indian Ocean. "May that nation be regarded infamously for their whorish betrayal of the whales."

Sea Shepherd is calling for an international boycott of tourism to St. Kitts and Nevis in retaliation for their despicable sycophantic posturing at the bidding of Japan.

DOLPHIN DEFENDER TERRORIZED BY POLICE

Ric O'Barry and his wife Helene were roused from their sleep in the middle of the night when St. Kitts police pounded on the door of their hotel room.

The police ordered them to get dressed and then escorted them out of hotel and into the rainy streets of the small Caribbean island where the International Whaling Commission is meeting.

The day before, Ric had entered the building where the IWC meeting took place. He had a television screen on his chest and it was playing the DVD of the dolphin slaughter at Taiji, Japan. He did not say a word. He just paraded before the delegates exposing them to the images of bloody slaughter at Taiji. The Japanese delegates were furious and called security to escort Ric from the building.

Ric O'Barry represents the French group One Voice and has been a leading opponent of the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, ever since 2003 when Sea Shepherd brought the images of the slain and dying dolphins to the international media.

Ric is also well-known as the trainer of the world's most famous dolphin Flipper. He left the dolphin training business years ago to become a lifelong champion of dolphins around the world.

After being kicked out of his hotel by the police, Ric and Helene were told they were not welcome in St. Kitts and to leave the island. Ric reports to Sea Shepherd that one officer said told him that, "he would kick my teeth out if I didn't leave the island."

Ric and Helene are still on the island and are in hiding.

They did not commit a crime and the actions of the St. Kitts police are fascistic to say the least. St. Kitts is a bought and paid for Japanese puppet nation recruited by Japan to vote for the overturn of the global ban on commercial whaling. "St. Kitts cops are more like Japanese body guards then public servants," said Captain Paul Watson.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Taiji was flown to the island by the Japanese whaling delegation to speak as an honored guest on the subject of slaughtering thousands of dolphins in his town.

Sea Shepherd is encouraging tourists to boycott the Caribbean nations that are scheming with Japan and Norway to kill whales.

"These nations like St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua, and Barbuda are places to be avoided by everyone who cares about nature and the protection of marine wildlife, especially the whales. Pilot whales are being killed in St. Lucia and an annual sacrifice of two humpbacks is practiced in St. Vincent. There is nothing saintly about these islands and they are all under the thumb of their Japanese masters," said Captain Watson.

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