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16 November 2007 - ALP to enlist the military in fight against whaling      

ALP to enlist the military in fight against whaling

Sydney, 16 November 2007                        
                                                                                                                                        

Humane Society International (HSI) commends the ALP for being prepared to involve military resources to bring about an end to Japanese whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica. Robert McClelland, ALP Foreign Affairs spokesperson, yesterday pledged to use military aircraft to monitor the whale hunt to gather evidence for a legal challenge at the international courts.

HSI has implored the current Government to bring action against Japan at the international courts for nearly a decade because their whale hunts are an abuse of their rights under international law.

HSI has brought its own legal challenge against the whalers in the Federal Court of Australia where we are seeking an injunction for the annual whale hunt to be stopped because killing whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary is an offence under Australian law. “HSI expects a judgement to be handed down before the whaling resumes in December and it will be up to whoever is in Government to enforce it – making it a key election issue,” said Nicola Beynon HSI spokesperson.

This year the Japanese company is on its way to its killing grounds with a permit from the Japanese Government to kill 935 minke whales, 50 humpback whales and 50 fin whales. It will be the highest number of whales killed in Antarctica since the ban on commercial whaling was enacted in 1987.

The current Government has been a strong voice for whale protection at the International Whaling Commission but has preferred to limit itself to diplomatic protests and has turned a blind eye to the whaling that occurs in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. They have not prosecuted the multiple breaches of Australian law themselves, have intervened at the Federal Court to tell the judge they are opposed to HSI’s case and have ruled out enforcing any injunction.

HSI is disappointed the ALP will not intercept the ships to put a stop to the hunt directly. However, HSI is pleased the ALP will make life more difficult for the Japanese through aerial surveillance and that they say they are putting everything else on the table to bring about an end to the hunt, including negotiations over a free trade agreement with Japan and a challenge in the international courts.

“In the end, HSI does not care how the hunt is stopped, so long as it is, and we are pleased to see the ALP is prepared to pursue this through more assertive means because diplomatic efforts have not been working,” said Ms Beynon.

  





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