When the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil sank following a collision with a ship in the Japanese whaling fleet, snap protests were called outside Japanese embassy offices in Australia. For some this has become a political football to kick their own goals, but the cause of marine conservation deserves better.
New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully accused the protesters of “behaving in a manner that has put life at risk” - after they themselves were nearly killed in the collision! Japanese representatives have gone further to insinuate the Ady Gil left a fuel spill, although Sea Shepherd suggest this may have been staged by the whalers. Australia’s environment minister Peter Garrett has emphasised in a letter to Sea Shepherd that his government’s “opposition to commercial and so-called “scientific” whaling” is best expressed by diplomatic means.
From the left, some attack Sea Shepherd for alleged racism and nationalism. One socialist, blog author John Passant, provocatively begins his article with the statement “There is nothing about whales that means humanity shouldn’t eat them.” He goes on to explain that Sea Shepherd have utilised racist, colonialist arguments against indigenous subsistence whaling such as that practiced by the Makah people of northern USA.