Update: Sea Shepherd Stands By Allegations (see addendum below original article)
Original article posted on 2/16/07:
Greenpeace Eats Whales to "Save" Them
Greenpeace has gone over the line this time in betraying the whales.
The Greenpeace Foundation has launched a bizarre and contradictory campaign to "save" the whales. This week on Valentine's Day, Greenpeace hit the road in Japan with the strangely named "Whale Love Wagon."
The campaign opened by asking supporters to send a fax transmission to the Antarctic whaling fleet saying, "I love Japan but whaling breaks my heart."
The Greenpeace attitude is that if they can't beat them, then they should join them. And in doing so, Greenpeacers have betrayed the whales. They are eating them.
In promoting their theme that Japanese whale eating culture must be respected, a video distributed by Greenpeace depicts a Greenpeacer visiting a Japanese grandmother in her home. He sits down and eats whale with her, and politely tells her that is was delicious.
"We are making it very clear that we have no problem with Japanese culture or eating whale," said Emiliano Ezcurra, an Argentinian Greenpeace activist who helped design the campaign.
Ezcurra said that Greenpeace has no problem with whaling on Japan's coast but opposes the slaughter of the whales in the Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary.
Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson, one of the co-founders of Greenpeace is appalled at the pro-whaling stance of Greenpeace. "This campaign is just simply bizarre," said Captain Watson, "How does Greenpeace think they are going to stop whaling in Antarctica by publicly eating whale meat and declaring whale meat to be delicious? What are these people thinking?"
This is not the first time that Greenpeace has betrayed the whales. In 1997, they assisted in a Yupik whale hunt by towing a dead bowhead whale ashore and ate whale meat as guests of the community.
Greenpeace International Director John Frizell has openly stated that Greenpeace is not opposed to whaling in principle.
When Sea Shepherd crew visited the Greenpeace ships Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise in Cape Town in February 2006, they could not help but notice that on the eve of a major campaign on overfishing along the African coast, the Greenpeace crew were sitting down to dinner before platters of baked fish.
When one of the Sea Shepherd crew questioned the contradictions and said that Sea Shepherd ships served only vegan meals, the cook on the Esperanza said, "That's just silly."
Greenpeace has a reputation built on the hard work and ideas of people like Paul Watson, Robert Hunter, Bobbi Hunter, Al Johnson, Dr. Paul Spong, and others, and these ideas and efforts are being spat upon by these politically correct bureaucrats who now run Greenpeace.
Emily Hunter, the daughter of the late Robert Hunter is presently with the Sea Shepherd campaign in Antarctica onboard the ship named after her father. "The memory of my father, the first president of Greenpeace, has been dishonored by this incredibly ridiculous campaign to have Greenpeacers eat whale meat as a gesture of support for Japanese culture," Emily commented.
Greenpeace sent one of their ships the Esperanza to Antarctica to unfurl anti-whaling banners before the Japanese whaling fleet. Despite being given the coordinates of the whaling fleet for over a week, the Esperanza still has not found the whaling fleet. If they do find the Japanese fleet, there will be no whaling activities to oppose.
Whaling in Antarctica is over for this season as the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru, in the Ross Sea, has experienced a major fire in their engine room.
Sea Shepherd hunted for the Japanese fleet for 6 weeks before engaging them in confrontations north of the Balleny Islands on February 9th and February 12th.
Speaking from the ship Robert Hunter, Captain Watson said, "I respect Japanese culture, and in fact, I have been a student of Japanese history, but I do not and never will respect any part of a culture that butchers and eats the flesh of one of the most intelligent, socially-complex, and most gentle sentient beings on this planet. I place whale eating on the level of cannibalism as barbarous behaviour."
The slaughter of endangered whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary must be ended and it won't be ended by sitting down with Japanese grandmothers and sharing a whale burger with them.
Sea Shepherd Stands By Allegations
This is the response from Captain Paul Watson to the recent rebuttal by Greenpeace over the posting of the article on the Sea Shepherd website entitled "Greenpeace eats whales to save them."
Captain Watson's comments are interspersed in the rebuttal and are highlighted in bold text.
Sea Shepherd's president, Paul Watson, has falsely alleged that Greenpeace staff have eaten whale meat on an Internet TV programme, Whale Love Wagon.
The Whale Love Wagon programme is produced for Greenpeace in Japan, not by Greenpeace, both of the presenters, Ivan and Yuki, are independent of Greenpeace and are not Greenpeace staff. Ivan's choice to eat whale meat was his alone and not endorsed by Greenpeace.
Captain Paul Watson: Let me see, the Whale Love Wagon programme is produced FOR Greenpeace in Japan, not BY Greenpeace. The credits include Greenpeace. Greenpeace has promoted the video, and legally, if it was produced for Greenpeace then Greenpeace is responsible for the content. I also notice that Greenpeace did not condemn the video. The video can be accessed through the posting on the Sea Shepherd website (see link above). There is an entire series on YouTube of these Whale Love Wagon videos and they seem like they are sympathetic to whaling to me. I stand by the allegations
The purpose of Whale Love Wagon is to investigate all aspects of whaling, and we welcome free speech and debate on the issue. That the travellers are eating whale meat is not meant as either an advert for, or a condemnation of eating whale meat, but is part of a discussion with one elderly woman who remembers eating it frequently in her youth, but rarely does so any more. Recent research shows that 95% of Japanese people rarely or never eat whale meat anymore, but there is an historical element to its consumption and this should not be ignored.
Captain Paul Watson: There is no debate. The targeting of endangered species in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary in violation of the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling is illegal. Once does not debate the merits of robbing banks or poaching elephants, and therefore, you do not debate the justifications for illegal whaling. Why should we not ignore the historical element of whaling? Would we justify slavery by saying we can't ignore the historical elements of slavery? How about bull-fighting, cock-fighting, child labour, and cannibalism? Greenpeace keeps saying that only 5% of Japanese people eat whale meat. Why is this relevant? Obviously there is a market for it and we have not seen much protest against it coming from the Japanese people.
This is just one episode of a ten-episode series, and should be placed in that context. Following episodes of Whale Love Wagon show the value of whale watching, and a local village that saved a stranded whale. The Internet TV show is designed to show every facet of whaling and will not shy away from confronting issues that some may find unpleasant. However, we hope everyone - in Japan and in other countries - will learn from it, and come to their own conclusions about the validity of whaling in the 21st century. Greenpeace remains clear in our position that we do not think there should be commercial whaling in the 21st century, and hope to convince others, including many in Japan, to also take this view.
Captain Paul Watson: Checking out the other episodes will show similar apologist approaches to Japanese whaling. This entire Whale Love Wagon project is a waste of money and it is a distraction.
Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson quotes from a news report that Greenpeace Argentina campaigner Emiliano Ezcurra said Greenpeace has "no problem with Japanese culture or eating whale meat". While he did say this, what he was trying to say was unfortunately 'lost in translation'. He had no intention of advocating eating whale meat, he was making reference to the elderly lady in the Whale Love Wagon episode, who we will not condemn for her view - we simply want to change her mind.
Captain Paul Watson: I see. Lost in translation. Greenpeace admits that Emiliano Ezcurra said he has "no problem with Japanese culture or eating whale meat." So if he admits to saying these words, just what is lost in translation? As for condemning the lady who believes eating whale meat is okay, I have no problem with condemning any person regardless of age, sex, or race who consumes a product obtained through illegal means. I condemn poachers and I condemn the people who purchase the illegal products of poaching.
In addition, the Sea Shepherd press release refers to the same media article in which Emiliano credited with having said that Greenpeace has no problem with whaling on Japan's coast. That reporting was not a fair reflection of his comments, nor does it reflect the view of Greenpeace. We do not oppose local subsistence hunting, but oppose all commercial whaling and Japanese coastal whaling can be considered commercial whaling.
Captain Paul Watson: Greenpeace has been very clear in supporting some whaling activities. They supported the illegal whaling activities of the Makah tribe in Washington State and they have said they do not oppose coastal Japanese whaling. They have not opposed the dolphin slaughters in Japan either. So is Greenpeace saying that whaling off the coast of Japan is subsistence or commercial? If they consider it commercial, than why does Emiliano say that Greenpeace has no problem with whaling on Japan's coast?
Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson also falsely alleges "in 1997 they [Greenpeace] assisted in a Yupik whale hunt by towing a dead bowhead whale ashore and ate whale meat as guests of the community." This is a lie.
Captain Paul Watson: It is not a lie and I stand by my allegations. The issue was investigated by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.
These are the facts:
Eskimos have carried out a subsistence hunt of bowhead whales for thousands of years. While transiting from Savoonga to Gambell, Alaska in July of 1997, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise came across a bowhead whale that had been dead for some time, floating about 10 miles east of Savoonga.
Captain Paul Watson: According to the NMFS report the whale had been shot.
The Arctic Sunrise was contacted by the elders in Gambell, who asked if the ship could help tow the whale ashore. They explained that they had not landed a whale in years, that the village needed the meat. They said that we could help them with the Arctic Sunrise's inflatables, but the community would handle the actual whales and the towing. Greenpeace responded to their request, so that the already-dead whale would not go to waste, and could be used to provide food for their village.
Greenpeace used one of its inflatables to tow the dead bowhead whale to the community. The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service later said that the whale had died of natural causes, and had been dead for approximately one week before it was towed to the village.
Captain Paul Watson: So, Greenpeace admits everything that I accused them of and then states that what I said was a lie. Did Greenpeace assist the Yupik in towing a whale ashore? They admit that they did.
At no time were Greenpeace members participating in a hunt, nor were they offered whale meat and nor did they eat any. The US NMFS did an investigation of the 1997 whale towing incident since technically, it is a violation of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act for non-Alaska natives to participate in the bowhead hunt. Greenpeace's error was to allow one of its crew to drive the inflatable boat that towed the whale. If a native had driven the inflatable, it would have been within the bounds of the MMPA.
Captain Paul Watson: A crewmember from that ship and that campaign told me personally that some of the Greenpeacers ate whale meat offered to them by the Yupik. Greenpeace admits above that they violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act and that their activities were outside the bounds of the MMPA. So where did I lie?
The Sea Shepherd press release also made allegations that Greenpeace staff member John Frizell said "Greenpeace is not opposed to whaling in principle" are completely untrue and libellous. Furthermore, John Frizell is not the Greenpeace International Executive Director - another complete misrepresentation of facts. Greenpeace did not send a ship to the Southern Ocean to "unfurl banners" as stated in the Sea Shepherd press release. Instead, it sent a ship crewed with activists ready to put themselves between the whales and the harpoons, just has been done on seven previous expeditions to the Southern Ocean. This includes last year when we engaged the fleet for 29 days, stopping 82 whales from being killed.
Captain Paul Watson: John Frizell's statement quoted above is a matter of record and has been published. I did not describe him as Greenpeace International Executive Director. I described him as a director. Big difference. I know Frizell personally and I've known him for over three decades, and he has made his views clear many times that he is not opposed to whaling in principle. As I recall, the Japanese whaling fleet was running from the Sea Shepherd ships and stopped whaling every time we approached them. Greenpeace simply filmed them as the whales died. Taking sole credit for saving 82 whales is simply arrogant.
This year, on three different days, we were given coordinates from Sea Shepherd. This is despite Greenpeace making it clear that we do not wish to cooperate with them. Two lots of coordinates were ones we already had, while the final coordinates were completely wrong. At no point did we work with or cooperate with Sea Shepherd, seek information from them or give them information.
Captain Paul Watson: On the morning of February 9, 2007, Captain Alex Cornelissen of the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter called the Esperanza to inform them of the coordinates. He also asked for the Greenpeace position. The Captain of the Esperanza said he had no authority to give Sea Shepherd their position. When Alex said that he would give them the coordinates only exchange for their position and the Esperanza captain said, "if you withhold the coordinates from us you are just as bad as the Japanese whalers." And hour later I asked Alex to give them the coordinates anyway because the more anti-whaling ships on the Japanese whalers the better. We gave them the coordinates every day. They did not have any other source for these coordinates and they were some 700 miles away when we first gave them the coordinates. Greenpeace has a policy of keeping information away from Sea Shepherd but we always provide them with coordinates nonetheless.
It is well documented that Greenpeace has its differences with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. But Greenpeace chooses not to criticize Sea Shepherd or Paul Watson, because we feel that any such discussion simply deflects from the issue of stopping whaling. Greenpeace has a broad, and sometimes controversial strategy towards the ending of commercial whaling.
Captain Paul Watson: Greenpeace has been critical of every Sea Shepherd campaign undertaken and their accusations range from calling us fanatics to eco-terrorists. In return, we defend ourselves by calling them what they are: ocean posers and corporate greenies. What they do not mention is that the entire Greenpeace whale campaign was conceived by Robert Hunter and myself and a few others none of whom are with Greenpeace today. We created the Greenpeace whale campaigns and the tactics that I developed in 1974-1977 are still being used by them today. They did not work then and they are not working now. Greenpeace has not saved one whale in its entire history. Sea Shepherd has shut down entire whaling operations.
However, Sea Shepherd have now gone from the realms of criticism to complete fabrication, which is unacceptable. Earlier this year, Paul Watson claimed that Greenpeace had tried to get his ships de-flagged - another untruth which he has failed to correct in the media.
Captain Paul Watson: I stand by the allegation and my source is an employee of the British Registry of Shipping. Greenpeace has said this is libellous, if so then they should sue us.
It is also shameful that Paul Watson chooses to criticize Greenpeace for not finding the whaling fleet, when the our ship, the Esperanza, spent days answering distress calls in the Southern Ocean - in one case to help Sea Shepherd's own ships when two of their crew went missing in a small boat for eight hours. The second occasion was when the Japanese spotter ship the Kaiko Maru sent out a distress call, following a collision with Sea Shepherd vessels. The Esperanza is now currently on scene with the disabled Nisshin Maru whaling ship, standing by help tow the vessel out of danger and away from the pristine Antarctic environment. Whaling will not end only by our sending ships to the Southern Ocean. We believe that by also engaging with the Japanese people, 92% of whom do not even know that the Japanese government sends a whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to kill hundreds of whales, and by applying pressure at the highest political level on countries who say they oppose, but do not act, then we can finally end whaling.
For a green and peaceful future,
Captain Paul Watson: The Esperanza was 700 miles away when we issued a distress signal so they did not participate in any rescue call. If Greenpeace really wanted to find the fleet then the distress signal from the Kaiko Maru would have helped them and not hindered them because the entire Japanese fleet would have had to respond to the Keiko Maru distress signal. The truth is that the Esperanza was miles away from the the Keiko Maru when the distress signal was issues. This year Greenpeace waited until the end of the whaling season to send the Esperanza down to the Southern Ocean. They arrived late and did not interfere with any whaling activities. They spent 10 days pretending to be on alert to tow the Nisshin Maru out of the Whale Sanctuary. In fact there were five other Japanese ships down there to assist the Nisshin Maru so the Greenpeace presence was just posturing for headlines. The Sea Shepherd campaign drove the whalers off two pod of whales and the whales escaped and we received a commitment from New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter to take a more aggressive opposition to Japanese plans to kill humpback and fin whales.