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Friday, August 22, 2008

Former Australian Environment Minister Questions Japanese Motives

Guest Commentary by Ian Campbell
former Minister of the Environment for Australia

Ian Campbell the former Minister of the Environment for Australia sent this letter to the West Australian newspaper in response to the Japanese Whaling Industry claiming that whaling is a thousand year old tradition.

Mr. Campbell is now a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Board of Advisors and represented Sea Shepherd at the recent IWC meeting in Chile.


19th August, 2008.

The Editor,
The West Australian,

Japanese Whaling ‘Tradition'

Your article (The West, Aug. 19th) on Japanese action against the crew of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship the Steve Irwin, says that the Japanese have a tradition of whaling for "centuries". This is misleading as the story relates to the annual slaughter of over 1000 whales in Antarctic waters in a Whale sanctuary.

The Japanese have no tradition of crossing 3 oceans and two hemispheres to slaughter these highly intelligent and defenceless creatures. The Japanese tradition was no different to that of many maritime nations (including Australia) in previous centuries who conducted whaling off their coasts and used the whale product for fuel and food.

The story also ignores the fact that it is the Japanese whale killers who use aggressive tactics including ramming our ships, shooting at us, and illegally detaining two members of our crew. The Japanese police should be investigating the Whale killers, not the crew of the Steve Irwin.

The article also repeats the nonsense that the Japanese "scientific research" is used by and supported by the International Whaling Commission. The research is not used by the Commission, who conduct their own non-lethal research, and every time the issue of the Japanese abuse of the ‘scientific research' law has been voted on at the Commission the Japanese have lost. It is of course a farce that the IWC decided not to have votes at this years meeting in Chile, and a disgrace that Australia went along with it (in the cause of reducing controversy and conflict ! !)

The annual slaughter is a deep embarrassment to many Japanese and a blight on a nation that makes so many positive contributions to the world.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Campbell
International Advisory Board
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.