HSI sues Japanese whaling company for contempt of court
Humane Society International (HSI) has filed proceedings in the Federal Court against Japanese whaling company, Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd (Kyodo) for breaching orders made by the Federal Court back in 2008 to stop killing whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica.
In January 2008 HSI successfully obtained a declaration in the Federal Court that Kyodo was breaking Australian law by killing whales in Antarctica under the guise of scientific research and also obtained an injunction ordering the company to stop killing whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. Last year, in proceedings brought by Australia and supported by New Zealand against Japan, the International Court of Justice found that Japan’s lethal whale research program in the Southern Ocean was not scientific and must stop. However, despite the orders made by the Australian Federal Court and the ruling of the International Court of Justice, Japan has continued to kill whales in breach of the international moratorium on commercial whaling, made in 1986.
HSI’s legal advisers, EDO NSW (formerly Environmental Defender’s Office NSW), led by barristers Jeremy Kirk SC and James Hutton, successfully sought permission from Federal Court Judge Justice Jagot, to serve the contempt proceedings on Kyodo. HSI has now served relevant documents on Kyodo at its offices in Japan. HSI will ask the Federal Court in a hearing in November to find that Japan has continued to kill whales in Australian waters since it was ordered not to in 2008 and that this constitutes contempt of an Australian court.
Michael Kennedy, HSI’s Campaign Director said: “Japan plans yet again to head to Antarctica in December 2015 to kill 333 Antarctic Minke whales, claiming once more that it needs to kill these whales to find out what they are eating. Japan spends millions of yen on continuing its whaling program despite the decline in Japanese people consuming whale meat. It will store the whale meat in expensive refrigeration units and attempt to revive the whale meat market. It is well recognised that robust scientific research can be carried out on whales without the need to kill them.”
“Worldwide, whales face many threats from humans, including from pollution, competition for fish and krill stocks, boat strike and climate change. Whales are recognised as extraordinary, sentient beings which have not recovered from centuries of human exploitation. HSI is proud to have brought this case to draw attention to the shameful legacy of whaling, which is continuing today,” Mr Kennedy concluded.