Call to Action: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Legal Defense Fund
Sea Shepherd USA Needs Your Help To Continue to Survive and Protect the Oceans
The current battleground for Sea Shepherd USA is not at sea, but in the courtroom. Sea Shepherd and its current and former employees and volunteer Board of Directors are defending themselves against charges that they took actions in “contempt” of an injunction entered by a U.S. Court of Appeals. If you believe in Sea Shepherd, we need your help to fight—and win— this legal battle. The Japanese whaling groups that filed these contempt charges are seeking over $2 million in penalties, plus attorneys’ fees, for the alleged “contempt.” While we believe the charges are meritless, we are spending a great deal of time and resources to defend against them, while simultaneously working to secure a favorable court ruling that would allow us to resume our campaign in the Southern Ocean.
At first, the courtroom battle was going our way. A federal judge in Seattle rejected the whalers’ request for an injunction to block Sea Shepherd from its direct action to frustrate illegal whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. In ruling in favor of Sea Shepherd, the judge recognized the important public interest that Sea Shepherd serves in the preservation of marine life. And the judge recognized the unprecedented nature of the relief sought by the whalers. As the judge wrote, “the whalers ask the court to do what perhaps no United States court has ever done.”
Notwithstanding the district court’s analysis, the Court of Appeals issued a decision reversing course. The Court of Appeals entered an injunction that barred Sea Shepherd USA from obstructing any of the Japanese whaling vessels or even coming within 500 yards of their vessels. Sea Shepherd USA is fighting to get the injunction lifted, but while it is pending, Sea Shepherd USA must comply with it. Sea Shepherd Australia took over the Southern Ocean campaign, to great success.
The Japanese whalers—frustrated by their lack of ability to halt independent, foreign Sea Shepherd entities through a U.S. lawsuit—filed contempt charges against Sea Shepherd USA, and once permitted to do that, expanded the contempt proceedings to name current and former members of Sea Shepherd’s volunteer Board of Directors and even a Sea Shepherd staff member. The contempt proceeding is taking months to conclude.
The courtroom battles—to overturn the injunction and defend against contempt charges—are a fight for the very soul of Sea Shepherd. The whalers want to muzzle and scare those who bring to light their whale-killing in the name of “research”.
While not as alluring perhaps as other Sea Shepherd USA campaigns, the legal defense campaign is indisputably critical. The battle cannot be won without warriors and resources. Please join in this campaign and stand with Sea Shepherd. The forces marshaled against the whales and the oceans are supported by the Orwellian-named “Institute for Cetacean Research” and the government of Japan. These are formidable opponents armed with impressive war chests. We need you to spread the word and donate freely to the cause by financially contributing to this legal battle. The need is immediate. We intend to fight this battle for the protection of precious wildlife everywhere. Please join us.
Nov 22, 2013 - Sea Shepherd's Closing Arguments
Nov 13, 2013 - ICR's Closing Arguments
Feb 25, 2013 - Opinion by U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, explaining reasoning behind injunction.
Dec 17, 2012 - Injunction issued against Sea Shepherd USA, by U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Mar 19, 2012 - Order by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones, denying ICR’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Sea Shepherd USA
Notice to Prospective Donors:
We continue to raise funds to fight these legal battles. To show your support for our shared cause, please consider making a contribution to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA (SSCS) for support of our legal defense in connection with protecting our right to defend the whales. Your donations will help to defray the costs of these legal actions, which are critical to SSCS’s continued ability to defend and protect ocean wildlife.
As SSCS is a Section 501(c)(3) public charity, contributions to SSCS for this purpose are tax deductible to the extent provided by U.S. tax law.
Please specify 'Legal Defense and Education' in the 'Designation' section under 'Amount'.
As a result of an injunction imposed upon the organization on December 17, 2012, by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society no longer participates in the Southern Ocean whale defense campaigns.
The Southern Ocean whale defense campaigns are coordinated by Sea Shepherd Australia Limited, a separate organization, and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society cannot accept donations or volunteers for those campaigns.