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 Australia to monitor Japanese whaling

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gaboman

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PostSubject: Australia to monitor Japanese whaling   Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:29 am

Australia to monitor Japanese whaling
By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press Writer

CANBERRA, Australia - Australia will send planes and a ship to conduct surveillance of Japanese whaling ships off Antarctica, the government announced Wednesday.

The craft will collect photographic and video evidence that would be used to decide if Australia will launch legal action to try to stop Japan's whaling program, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.

Smith also said Australia will lead a group of anti-whaling nations in lodging a formal protest with the Japanese government within the next few days against Japan's plans to harvest more than 1,000 whales, including 50 humpbacks, in its largest-ever scientific whale hunt.

"We are dealing here with the slaughter of whales, not scientific research," Smith told a news conference. "That is our start point and our end point."

Japanese government officials said the research whaling is permitted under International Whaling Commission rules and the whalers will go ahead with their plans.

"Australia is free to do whatever it wants, send planes or a ship," said Ryotaro Suzuki, director of the fisheries division at Japan's Foreign Ministry. "We have no immediate plans to lodge a protest against the Australian action, as long as they don't use force to stop the Japanese whaling fleet."

An Airbus A-319 used by the Australian government's scientific division in Antarctica will conduct surveillance flights over the Japanese fleet, which is due in its target area soon.

In addition, Australia will send a ship operated by Australia's Customs service to the area to collect potential evidence that could be used in international legal action against Japan.

Smith said Canberra was taking advice on whether it could launch legal action against Japanese whaling in a range of international forums, including the International Court of Justice, the International Whaling Commission and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Each year, Japan defies a ban on killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary a massive feeding ground in the Antarctic Ocean that the International Whaling Commission has declared off-limits for commercial whaling saying its program is exempt because it is for scientific purposes.

Critics call the Japanese program a sham, noting the meat turns up for sale for human consumption.

Smith said he did not expect the tough new stance on whaling to create diplomatic problems between the Japanese government and the new government of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who was elected in November.

Smith declined to identify the other nations involved in the official protest, saying it was up to them to identify themselves.

An independent panel of Australia's leading international law experts concluded in May that the Australian government could take legal action to stop the Japanese whaling.

The so-called Sydney Legal Panel concluded that Japan's rapidly expanding scientific whaling program breached the U.N.'s Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Antarctic Treaty System, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.

Australia's announcement came as anti-whaling protesters pledging to put themselves between Japanese harpoon guns and their whale prey left from New Zealand to confront the whalers.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza left the port of Auckland for Antarctic waters determined to find the Japanese whaling fleet and "protect the whales, not attack the whalers," the group's Southern Oceans whale campaigner Karli Thomas said.

Already the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has sailed to the Antarctic Ocean vowing to use whatever means necessary to block Japan from harvesting whales.

"We'll be taking nonviolent direct action to stop their hunt ... putting ourselves, our inflatable boats, in between the harpoonists and the whales to stop them getting a clear shot," Thomas told The Associated Press.

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PostSubject: Re: Australia to monitor Japanese whaling   Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:30 am

Scientific purposes? Yeah, right...

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PostSubject: Re: Australia to monitor Japanese whaling   Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:45 am

Yeah right ... if it was scientific research, then scientitsts all over the world would be doing it. Besides, they've been "researching" with whales for decades now, even if it was research, surely they've learnt all they can from the whales by now and where's the results of these years and years of research, they should have come up with something by now?
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PostSubject: Re: Australia to monitor Japanese whaling   Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:04 am

Exactly. Plus you'd only need one or two whales for experimentation, not the hundreds that they have caught. Unless you were trying to see how many whales you could fit inside your living room.

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