Jun 16, 2006

Court action needed to stop the Whale Slaughter

Court action needed to stop the Whale Slaughter

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

16 June 2006

41 resolutions have been passed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) against so-called scientific whaling, yet more whales are dying every year in Australian waters.

Whatever happens at this week’s meeting of the IWC, Japan will slaughter more whales in 2006 than ever before and its so-called scientific whaling will be expanded to include humpback whales.

This week’s IWC meeting will not stop Japan slaughtering whales and it’s time the Howard Government took Japan to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to stop whaling for ever.

Japan will go on slaughtering whales until a Court tells them it is unlawful.

Legal action would put steel into our diplomatic efforts and show the world we are serious about stopping the slaughter of whales.

The test is whether the Howard Government actually saves a single whale.

Strong legal advice by Professor Don Rothwell and others, prepared for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, shows that Australia could successfully challenge Japanese whaling at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

In 1999 the Howard Government’s successfully appealed to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to stop Japan’s experimental fishing program for southern blue fin tuna. This appeal was led by then Attorney General Daryl Williams.

Taking legal action in 1999 helped the campaign to stop illegal tuna fishing and we should take legal action in the campaign to save whales.

Whilst Japan will not gain the 75% of votes to resume commercial whaling, it may win a simple majority at the IWC.

With a simple majority, Japan could implement secret ballots, remove whale conservation from the IWC agenda and direct the IWC’s scientific committee to work only on whale hunting questions.