On Thursday, September 15th, Prince Edward Island Attorney John Mitchell Q.C. filed papers in the P.E.I. Provincial Court to challenge the constitutionality of regulations protecting sealers from being observed and documented without government permission.

The challenge was filed in the name of the eleven Sea Shepherd crewmembers charged earlier this year for allegedly violating these regulations that prevent the witnessing and documentation of a seal being killed. Captain Paul Watson's name has also been added to this challenge after he was charged last week for allegedly violating the same regulations.

The legal challenge was filed before Provincial Judge Nancy Orr.

Judge Orr set aside a number of potential days in November and December for the precedent-setting challenge, and she ruled that all materials regarding the challenge will be filed at the Charlottetown courthouse.

According to the Charlottetown Guardian: "No one has ever challenged the legal validity of the East Coast seal hunt before and the case could mark a historic precedent in the wrangling over whether the hunt is inhumane and should be stopped."

The Sea Shepherd crew believe that their rights were violated because they should be allowed to freely witness and document the slaughter of seals and that the government of Canada is bias in the application of the law for the purpose of shielding the sealers from bad publicity and from evidence that could result in criminal charges for illegal and unethical acts of cruelty against seal pups. The government is also refusing to protect both the rights and the safety of citizens who oppose the slaughter of seals.

This past March, Sea Shepherd crew members were punched, kicked, elbowed, head-butted, and struck with sealing clubs by crewmembers of the Newfoundland sealing vessel the Brady Mariner. The entire assault was caught on videotape. [Click here to view footage]

Despite the documentation, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have refused to lay charges against the sealers who assaulted the Sea Shepherd crew because the Mounties claim that the sealers were provoked into violence by the presence of the Sea Shepherd crew on the ice.

Attorney John Mitchell intends to argue that federal legislation regarding the regulations
of the seal hunt are unconstitutional.

This is a precedent-setting legal challenge to the regulations which provide crucial support for the slaughter of seals in Canada. If the Society can win this legal challenge, it will benefit all organizations and individuals who wish to document, protest, and shut down this barbaric and cruel annual massacre of seals.

This legal challenge will be expensive and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is requesting donations to be made to help pay for the legal fees. [Click here to make a donation]

Sea Shepherd is challenging the slaughter of seals in the courts and in the marketplace with our support of the boycott of Canadian seafood and we are challenging the hunt each year on the ice, face-to-face with the cowardly killers of baby seals.

The Sea Shepherd Twelve are Captain Paul Watson; First Officer Alex Cornelissen, 2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt; ship's surgeon Dr. Jerry Vlasak; engineers Andre Casavane, Laura Dakin, and Ian Fritz ; deckhands Colin Biroc, Ryan Goyette, and Lisa Shalom; and cooks Matt Schwartz and Megan "Turtle" Southern.

The following article appeared in the Charlottetown Guardian on September 16, 2005:

Note: The article contains some errors, and we will correct these errors by including the correct information in brackets [ ] following the errors.

The Guardian (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
September 16, 2005 Friday

NEWS; Pg. A1 (Front Page)

Anti-sealers launch court challenge on legality of annual hunt in gulf
Sharratt, Steve

A constitutional challenge against federal fisheries legislation will be undertaken in provincial court here Nov. 22 by a dozen anti-seal hunt protesters who were charged with violating the hunt last spring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Lawyer John Mitchell, who is representing the 11 protesters and Sea Shepherd Society captain Paul Watson, filed the constitutional challenge before provincial court Judge Nancy Orr Thursday.

A number of potential days for the precedent-setting challenge was set by Orr, who ruled that all materials regarding the challenge will be filed at the Charlottetown courthouse.

No one has ever challenged the legal validity of the East Coast seal hunt before and the case could mark a historic precedent in the wrangling over whether the hunt is inhumane and should be stopped.

The Canadian government bowed to anti-seal hunt pressure in the 1990s, but has since endorsed the hunt as a cultural right for many Newfoundlanders and a source of life-sustaining existence.

Orr was involved in a conference call on Tuesday about the legal challenge. The case involves the action of 10 Americans and one Canadian who traveled to the ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last March to protest the annual seal hunt. The individuals allegedly strayed too close to the actual kill sites and some became involved with the hunters. [The Sea Shepherd crewmembers were from many different nations including New Zealand, Holland, Sweden, the United States, and Canada.]

The RCMP has not laid charges against the sealers, suggesting their reactions were due to the provocation of the anti-sealers.

Sea Shepherd Society Captain Paul Watson was also charged under Canada's Shipping Act with a number of charges related to seal hunt interference. He is also part of the court challenge and, like the protesters, was not present in court. [Captain Watson was not present for the constitutional challenge appearance, however, he did appear for the Canadian Shipping Act Charges - see additional article]

Watson gave a public lecture in Charlottetown Monday night and raked the Department of Fisheries and Oceans over the coals about the seal hunt.

Also charged is Dr. Jerry Vlasak of California, who has been quoted as saying anti-seal hunt protesters are "freedom fighters."

He has advocated that physically attacking people such as research scientists and sealers is an "effective tactic" that may be justified in the quest to save animal life.

His inflammatory comments prompted Canadian Sierra Club president Elizabeth May to resign from the Sea Shepherd Society. [This is false. Elizabeth May did not resign from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and remains a member of the Sea Shepherd Advisory Board. His comments did result in him being removed from Sea Shepherd's board of directors.].

Mitchell intends to argue that federal legislation regarding the regulations of the seal hunt are unconstitutional. He could not be reached Thursday and was represented in court by firm lawyer Mark MacDonald.

Orr set aside a number of days in November and December to hear the case.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is urging supporters and those who oppose the slaughter of seals to write letters to the Charlottetown Guardian in support of the constitutional challenge and to oppose the continuation of the government's policy of supporting the killing of the seals.

The Guardian takes letters at letters@theguardian.pe.ca and advises, "When sending a Letter to the Editor please make sure you include your phone number."

Sea Shepherd
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
**If you cannot see the captions on this video, just click on CC on the lower right corner of video settings on the video ** #Breaking #SeaShepherd helps scientists learn more about #rare Beaked whales! Did you know that Cuvier's Beaked whales hold the record for the deepest mammalian dive? Watch t...
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of California for Operation Milagro III to save the near extinct vaquita marina porpoise and the endangered totoaba bass. The M/V Farley Mowat is back on active duty with the M/V Sam Simon joining the Milagro campaign for the first ti...
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
The Farley Mowat Sea Shepherd crew is called out to investigate a dead Brydes whale in the Gulf of California on November 5th, 2016 while patrolling the vaquita refuge. To help the Sea Shepherd crew to continue its work in the Sea of Cortez, including protecting the near-extinct vaquita marina porpo...
Entanglement in the South
Entanglement in the South
Operation Guardian Angel - In and around Bahia de Los Angeles, in the Gulf of California, countless marine species are entrapped in nets with little or no hope of rescue. Rosalia Tellez works for CONANP, a department of the Mexican government that acts as park rangers to enforce laws and assist in ...
Good and Bad Days
Good and Bad Days
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers over the course of two days. The first day Sea Shepherd locates and removes a long line from the sea; fortunately no animals were caught in the net. However, the next day volunteers find a sea lion that has been caught and died in a fisherman's net.
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Sea Shepherd campaign Operation Virus Hunter saw the vessel RV Martin Sheen under the leadership of Alexandra Morton, head up the coast of British Columbia Canada to expose open pen Atlantic salmon farms and the impact they are having on wild Pacific salmon and the the surrounding eco-systems.
Illegal Totoaba Nets
Illegal Totoaba Nets
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers through the process of locating, retrieving and disposing of illegal nets in the Gulf of California.
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
August 12th 2016: Early Thursday morning the R/V Martin Sheen assisted Melissa Willie, a band councilor of the Musgamagw Dza’wada’enuxw nation, in hand delivering a letter to three farms expressing the nations disapproval of the industry. Sea Shepherd crew alongside independent biologist Alexand...
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
Ross McCall travels to the Faroe Islands to explore the truths behind the centuries old tradition of the brutal Pilot Whale drives.
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Sea Shepherd Chairman of the Board, actor/activist Pamela Anderson, cautions viewers about the dangers of eating farmed salmon.
Why Just One?  Indiegogo Video
Why Just One? Indiegogo Video
Support Sea Shepherd's documentary by sharing and backing our Indiegogo campaign here: http://bit.ly/1OfvER6
Milagro Summary - English
Milagro Summary - English
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Milagro II has come to an end. Milagro is its campaign to fight the looming extinction of the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. With an estimate of less than 100 surviving vaquita, Sea Shepherd ships the R/V Martin Sheen...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Watch the crew of the Farley Mowat capture footage of illegal fishing activity with a night vision drone and pull up a totoaba net in the dead of night. This is the final vlog of Operation Milagro II!
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project is dedicated to collect samples from whales in the Gulf of California to measure levels of toxins in whales in order to determine the levels of toxins in the Gulf of California itself. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Never before seen footage. Sea Shepherd catches critically endangered totoaba poacher in the act. The Sea Shepherd crew filmed these totoaba poachers as they were checking one of their illegal nets in the protected vaquita habitat. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the wor...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Watch‬ the routine of our crew doing valuable work in the ‪Sea of Cortez‬. We have been very effective at removing illegal fishing gear from the ‪‎vaquita‬ porpoise's habitat. So much so, that now, most of the time we remove nets and lines that are mostly empty, our favorite thing to do....
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
The Sea Shepherd crew has found 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks in the month of march of 2016. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org/milagro2
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
While patrolling the waters of the upper Gulf of California the Sea Shepherd crew found a dead vaquita porpoise. The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the whole world. The crew also found a Great White Shark caught in an illegal gillnet.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
This week, the crew of ‪Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The M/V Farley Mowat and The RV Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass long line from the critically endangered ‪vaquita porpoise habitat. The totoaba fish is also critically endangered. Watch all episodes at: http...
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd crew rescued a whale entangled in an illegal totoaba gillnet in the Gulf of California. Sea Shepherd currently has two vessels in Mexico's Gulf of California on OPERATION MILAGRO. Our goal is to save the vaquita porpoises, the most endangered marine mammal. The vaquita are caught as a r...
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
You might know Gregg Lowe from X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now watch him explain Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro and understand why we must save the #VaquitaMarina - The most endangered cetacean in the world. Help us save the vaquita at: http://seashepherd.org/milagro2/donate-now/vaquita-appeal...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 11 - Big Fish
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 11 - Big Fish
This week the crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The Farley Mowat and The Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass net from the critically endangered vaquita marina's habitat Watch all episodes at: http://www.seashepherd.org/milagro2/multimedia/videos.html ‪#‎OpMilag...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 10 - Light up the Dark
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 10 - Light up the Dark
Actor Gregg Lowe crews with Sea Shepherd to help us protect the vaquita. The M/V Farley Mowat lights up the vaquita refuge and deters poacher from laying deadly nets in the vaquita marina's habitat. Watch all episodes at: http://seashepherd.org/milagro2/multimedia
Sea Shepherd Wildlife - False Killer Whales
Sea Shepherd Wildlife - False Killer Whales
The first video of our new series "Sea Shepherd Wildlife". This episode is about one of the lesser know large dolphins - The False Killer Whales. Learn more about these beautiful creatures with the Sea Shepherd crew. Share it with your friends. Video by Carolina A. Castro Narration by Nicole D'Entr...
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat.