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18 September 2007 - Government has second chance to support HSI legal case against Japanese whalers       

Government has second chance to support HSI’s legal case against Japanese whalers

Sydney, 18 September 2007                                  

Humane Society International’s (HSI) legal challenge to request an injunction to stop the Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd from killing whales within the Australian Whale Sanctuary resumed today in the Federal Court of Australia. Although the whaling company decided not to be present, HSI presented evidence that they have been responsible for the killing of an estimated 1253 minke whales and 9 fin whales within the Australian Whale Sanctuary since the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 came into force in 2000.

Presiding over the case, Justice James Allsop has reserved his decision, and in the meantime ordered that HSI’s solicitors write to the Attorney General Philip Ruddock, to ask whether his view in opposition to the case has changed since 2004. The Attorney General has until the 26th October to advise the Court of the Government’s position.

“While the Government has opposed the case since 2004, this whaling company has more than doubled the number of whales it has killed in Australian waters, and now plans to include fin and humpback whales in its annual slaughter,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Wildlife and Habitat Program Manager. “It is imperative that the hunt be stopped, and to this end we implore the Government to be supportive of our case.”

In contrast to the coalition’s historical opposition to this case, the Australian Labor Party does support HSI’s Federal Court challenge and has committed to enforcing the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctic waters.

HSI is hopeful that after considering the Government’s view, Justice Allsop will deliver a final judgement to issue an injunction before the hunt resumes in December.

HSI was represented in court by Senior Counsel Stephen Gageler, Barrister Chris McGrath and the Environmental Defenders Office.

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