SUPPORT FOR LABOR’S ‘LESS TALK – MORE ACTION’ APPROACH
Federal Labor’s domestic and international whale policy recognises that years of attempted diplomacy at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) have failed to end the senseless slaughter of hundreds of whales under the facade of science, and that Australia does have the capacity, both domestically and internationally, to take decisive action to stop the annual Japanese whale hunts taking place in the Southern Ocean. Humane Society International (HSI) congratulates the ALP on this policy.
“The time for talking has expired and Japan must be held accountable for an abuse of rights under international law and for breaking Australia’s own laws”, said HSI’s Program Manager Rebecca Keeble. “HSI is pleased the ALP will be taking a leadership role and much stronger action than the Australian Government has undertaken in recent years on this issue”.
The Australian Whale Sanctuary was declared in 2000 by Australia under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the killing of any whale within it is illegal. Despite this and persistent international opposition to the ‘Japanese Whaling Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic’ (JARPA), Japanese whalers continue to slaughter hundreds of Antarctic minke whales annually in the Southern Ocean. Later this year, the second phase of the Japanese research program, JARPA II, will see the whaling vessels target fin and humpback whales in addition to the minke whales on an annual basis.
“It is not the responsibility of Australian conservation organisations to enforce Australia’s environment legislation, but HSI has been doing what the Australian Government has so far failed to do,” added Ms Keeble. Since 2004, HSI has been seeking an injunction from the Federal Court against the Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd for routinely slaughtering whales in Australia’s Whale Sanctuary adjacent to Antarctica in breach of Australian law.
“The waters off our Antarctic territory are as Australian as those off Sydney or Darwin, and are therefore equally subject to Federal law,” added Ms Keeble. “The Government has shown its willingness to bring force to protect marine resources off our northern coast, yet has consistently shied away from the same action when it comes to dealing with Japanese whaling vessels in Australian waters off Antarctica.”
HSI’s court case against the Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku continues on July 25th with a directions hearing in the Federal Court.