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19 December 2007 - HSI welcomes Government action over whaling      

HSI welcomes Government action over whaling

Sydney 19 December 2007                    

Humane Society International (HSI) welcomes the Rudd Government’s plan of action against Japanese whaling announced today. HSI is pleased that the Government will increase its diplomatic efforts with the Japanese Government, investigate an international court case, and conduct both aerial and at sea surveillance of the hunt that is about to take place in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica.

“Sending a vessel down to monitor the hunt is a significant step further than the previous Government was prepared to take and we hope it will signal to Japan that their disrespect for international and Australian law to protect whales will no longer be tolerated. However, it remains to be seen whether this action will be sufficient to stop the hunt taking place,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Wildlife and Habitat Program Manager.

HSI is waiting on a Judgement from the Federal Court where we are seeking an injunction to order that the hunt in the Australian Whale Sanctuary be stopped. The Japanese Government has issued a permit for over a 1000 whales to be killed in Antarctica this summer and the majority of those whales will be killed within the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica.

The previous Government had opposed the case due to the diplomatic ramifications it could have with the Japanese Government. HSI thanks Attorney-General Robert McClelland for withdrawing the submission to the Federal Court submitted by his predecessor which expressed those concerns. The Attorney-General has instructed the Court to disregard the views of the previous Government in opposition to the case.  This should enable the judge to decide the case on its legal merits.

If HSI is successful in securing an injunction, we and the Australian public will be expecting the Government to enforce it. The ALP gave commitments to enforce an injunction if it is issued in their pre-election policies.  If they have a vessel in proximity to the whale hunt, they will be well placed to do so. This hunt cannot be allowed to go ahead”, said Ms Beynon.

Further information on HSI’s Federal Court case against Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd., including legal documents, is available at www.hsi.org.au

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