Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nations Unite Against Japan's Annual Whale Hunt

The United States, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands have said they were "disappointed" over the start of Japan's annual whale hunt off Antarctica and warned against violent clashes. 

Japanese ships operating in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean have in recent years faced interference from the US-based militant environmentalist group Sea Shepherd, with repeated confrontations on the open seas.

The United States and its partners said while they supported the right to peaceful protest, any violence between whalers and demonstrators was unacceptable.

"The Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States jointly condemn any actions that imperil human life in the Southern Ocean," they said in a joint statement released by the US State Department.

"We are deeply concerned that confrontations in the Southern Ocean will eventually lead to injury or loss of life among protesters, many of whom are nationals of our countries, and whaling crews," they said.

"We remain resolute in our opposition to commercial whaling, including so-called 'scientific' whaling, in particular in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary... and are disappointed about the recent departure of the Japanese whaling fleet for the Southern Ocean."
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