Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on June 15, 2008
Here’s the latest from the saga in the Antarctic seas: Paul Watson, the intrepid protector of marine mammals and captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, claims he was shot while harassing a Japanese whaling vessel, Nisshin Maru. But don’t worry, Paul’s okay — the bullet lodged in his Kevlar vest and didn’t cause any injuries.
Here’s the story: each summer (December-March in the southern hemisphere), Japanese “research” vessels prowl the southern oceans in search of whales. They kill the whales to determine what the whales are eating and to do some other dubious research, some of which includes injecting dead Minke whale sperm into cows, sheep and pigs. The ultimate goal is to determine when there will be enough whales to end the 1986 moratorium on international whaling; the “research” mission is allowed by international law.
Oh yeah, and then the Japanese government sells the whale meat to the Japanese public, a delicacy long coveted in Japan.
Animal rights groups like Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace harass the Japanese ships (when they can find them) and it sounds like Paul Watson’s gang has been doing a pretty good job this summer. The Institute of Cetacean Research, Japan’s whaling “research” body, has been posting videos of the Sea Shepherd’s lead ship — recently renamed the Steve Irwin — throwing bottles of butyric acid, a foul smelling substance commonly found in vomit, at the Maru. During one of these incidents, according to Sea Shepherd, a Japanese Coast Guard member fired the shot in question that lodged in Watson’s vest.
Who’s telling the truth? No one knows, and the International Whaling Commission is not taking sides – instead asking both groups to stand down because human safety is the ultimate issue.
Hmm… what about the whales?