Say What? Japanese Whaling Ships Accuse Animal Planet of Ecoterrorism

By Nina Bai | November 10, 2008 1:35 pm

whalingJust as the Census of Marine Life announces the existence of amazing new wonders in the Southern Oceans, a battle over the oceans’ largest inhabitants rages on. While many have criticized Japanese whalers for illegally terrorizing (and slaughtering) whales, the Japanese are now turning the tables and accusing the television channel Animal Planet of terrorizing their whaling ships.

The accusations stem from Animal Planet’s new seven-part series, Whale Wars, which documents the militant anti-whaling escapades of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The Sea Shepherds have been using harsh and combative— though, they insist non-violent—strategies like hurling stink bombs, throwing acid, and spreading propeller-tripping steel cables to stop Japanese whaling ships from doing their job. The group says they prevented 300 whale deaths last winter. Japanese whalers have killed thousands of whales since the 1980s, and claimed they were in the name of research.

The Sea Shepherds don’t seem to mind the label of ecoterrorists; rather, they’re self-declared modern-day pirates who sail under a skull and cross-bones flag. However, the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) says Animal Planet, best known for less-controversial programming like Pets 101 or The Crocodile Hunter, encouraged the Sea Shepherds’ violent activities and also staged a supposed shooting incident for the sake of sensational footage. The ICR is also worried that the Whale Wars series will glamorize ecoterrorism and encourage copy cat incidents.

Then again, that’s sort of like claiming that watching cop shows will make you go out and shoot someone [pdf].

Related Content:
80beats: Japanese Whaling Redux: American Scientists Say Slaughter Was Unnecessary
80beats: After 4,500 Whale Killing, Japanese Publish Their Research
80beats: Whaling Conference Dodges Thorny Issues; Uneasy Truce Continues

Image: flickr / guano

MORE ABOUT: ecoterrorism, Japan, whales
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  • joyce

    Are we really surprised at this? Lets face it, the Japs have little respect for human life. look at the history of the horrors they inflicted on people during ww2. Whu would they care about thousands of whales? The Japs are a subculture.

  • Kobun

    @ Joyce, you’re human trash, glory to Japan Nihon BANZAI!

  • anon

    the Japanese whalers are using the “scientific research” ploy as to justify there illegal commercial whaling operation. Why are the words “research” on the side of their harpoon ships not in japanese? because they really know whats going and and don’t care about the Antarctic Treaty which prohibiting any commercial marine operations

  • KYLE

    Animal Planet people are not the ones who are out in the Antarctic waters stopping the horrible japanese its the Sea Shepherd organization
    this is stupid

  • Austin

    Can anyone PROVE the actions by the Japanese are illegal. These charges by the Eco-Terrorists are completly hollow. Would it be better if the Japanese dumped the whales back into the ocean after they get their research sounds like a waste to me. Is whale meat good to eat maybe as BBQ.

  • LL

    Wow Kobun and Austin, you’ve got to be two of the most cold hearted people that make up this f’d-up world. Congratulations on being such assholes. God, i really feal sorry for your children… hopefully, you don’t have any.

  • Kathleen

    It is disgusting watching you Japs slatter those poor innocent whales.. i swear is i was abord the Sea Shephert ship i would just bomb your ship and watch you suffer..

  • Kathleen

    * if

  • Humanitarian

    Who the hell cares who’s doing what!!!!! It’s sickening what the Japanese are doing to one of the most majestic animals on this planet. Someone needs to catch and torture them and make them suffer the way they are making those whales suffer, and for what? Research (ya right) give me a break. The Japanese have no regard for human life let alone the lives of animals. All they care about is money. I have family that spent time in Japan and they are very cold, greedy people!!!!
    Austin your a complete idiot….how many whales do you have to slaughter in one day for research. There is nothing humane about the way they are even slaughtering them. Some people are so ignorant.
    Kobun (or whatever the hell your name is) all I have to say to you is, Hiroshima was too kind to a bunch of subhumans that have such little regard for life.
    These animals are one of the few gentle giants on this planet that post no threat to humans what-so-ever. Which is probably why a bunch of little yellow cowards are attacking them.
    Greed is one of the worst deadly sins and I find some comfort in knowing that this garbage may not pay in this life but they will pay.
    Glory to Gods angels on the Sea Shepard and any other organization trying to stop this madness. I’m with the idea of bombing whaling ships. It wouldn’t be the first time we bombed the filthy Japanese and I’m not against the idea of it not being the last. Get some damn humanity trash Japs!!!!!!!!!

  • Debra & Steve

    Don’t stop! Keep going! Don’t Give UP!!! Lets give the SeaSheperds the $$$$money$$$ to keep on this mission! They need a fleet of ships. They need 5 FAST Ice breaker Bad Ass State of Art Ships. We need Rotation! Proud of you Discovery Channell! You ROCK! The japs suck! The Japenese Are Greedy Bastards! Boycott the Japanese! Down with Sony! Down with Toyota! and the rest of thier products!

  • Victoria

    As I am typing this comment I am watching Whale Wars and for the 1st time in History they have caught there first whale in front of the Sea Sheppards. This is just horrifying in just absolute disbelief, I am a real animal lover and grew up on a farm and I love all animals. I honestly ( DO NOT) think they are killing whales for scientific research. Something must be done !!

  • SuicidalSnowman

    So I’ve been watching whale wars on discovery lately. I would love to have the opportunity to join them in their fight! When it comes to throwin the tear gas onto the japs ship, all I can say is!!! Just pick up a fully auto pellet gun (shoots non-lethal yellow balls), an pick off those jap fu$@ers on their water cannons. Or how bout some covert plastic explosives on the hulls of those whaling ships while they’re at port. Cmon, our government has done plenty of things in the past that they would never publicly admit to. Unfortunately most just see it as a bunch of dumb marine animals being put to good use, amazing how powerful greed can be. I guess those slanted eyes prevents those jap f&@ks from seeing the big picture. You know, that whole precious life thing, or maybe the effect on the environment thing. But who cares right? It’s just our planet, no big deal right? So how is it japs are stereotyped to be so intelligent? Sure they do complex algebraic equations in middleschool. Book smarts are useless if you’re completely ignorant when it comes to common sense. Keep it up discovery! Go sea sheppards! F&@k the greedy japs!

  • Larry

    The Japanese claim to be killing the whales for science. Then they eat the meat. But since most Japanese don’t like whale meat they feed it to their children in schools.

    But here’s the thing. Whale meat today is full of mercury, DDT, DDE, PCB’s and other toxins. It’s so bad that the USDA wouldn’t allow it to be sold in the US. So a diet of whale meat may have some untended consequences. Or is the experiment “What will happen first? The whales become extinct or our children suffer brain damage and endocrine disfunction?”

    The real reason the Japanese are hunting whales must be some primitive urge to prove how tough and macho they are. They never got over losing World War II. They were allied to the Nazis, and they belonged together. The Japanese Whale “scientists” are like Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews, Gypsies and other people; trying to figure out how quickly men could be castrated and women could be sterilized, and whether or not certain bones were necessary.

    Captain Watson and the crew of the Sea Shepherd deserve our thanks and support.

  • TP

    Ignorant comments about “the Japs” wont solve anything and merely demonstrate your naive nature and lack of research.

    This is about money and pride… pure and simple. The Japanese population at large rarely if ever eat Whale meat, and the issue is just not in the public forum because it has no effect on them (Hey, they’re stealing the whales from Intl. oceans – not us).

    The barbaric nature of Japan’s WWII atrocities bears no relevance to this situation, so I dont understand why it is even raised by so many neanderthals here. Every nation, in every war has done terrible things. Funny how Americans are the first to talk about how cruel and barbaric others are, whilst the worst atrocities of the 20th & 21st centuries were committed by the US. Selective memory is just as much of a problem for the USA, so get off your high horse.

    Unless you have been to Japan, to understand real Japanese culture, I dont think your opinion is of any worth. Whaling is NOT OK but racism is EVEN WORSE. Humans are more important than whales.

  • theflash

    I have to agree with TP. Nice comment, covers just about everything except there is a tendency for this show to be totally one sided. Lets have an honest investigative look at the Japanese research part of the whale culling and what type of whales are they harvesting.

  • GC

    Rather difficult to claim the moral high ground when demonizing a people, calling the Japanese “filth” and “greedy bastards” (among other things I’ve read with raised eyebrows), and suggesting that we bomb the culprits among them, isn’t it? I hardly condone whaling–even if it is indeed for “research”–but I agree with TP, the value of human lives exceeds those of whales.

  • Shep-Supporter

    Where is Captain Nemo and the NAUTILUS when we need him?

    Humans have NO MORE VALUE than the other forms of life. If it weren’t for the ‘lower’ forms there would be no life on this planet after a WORLDWIDE EXTINCTION EVENT.

    Either you respect all forms of life or you don’t. We’re at the top of the chain and dominate the planet. If the chain fails, so will we.

  • Steve

    Full marks to the Sea Shepherd.

    As for people saying human lives are more important than whale lives, firstly that is a completely irrelevant point, since humans don’t need to kill whales to live. Secondly, if you could give me a breakdown of all the good things humans have done for the earth and the universe, I await it eagerly.

    The Japanese in WW2 were known for shooting Chinese and Indian civilians for target practice, amongst other things (read Knights of Bushido for other atrocities I can’t bring myself to mention). They have destroyed much of the ocean around themselves by over-exploitation. They bribe small land-locked countries to win votes that allow then to continue whaling. They are indeed a subculture, and not a very pleasant one.

    I for one would love to see their despicable whaling activities stopped by fair means or foul.

  • Steve

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that they kill 20,000 dolphins a year, and very few Japanese think this is a problem. That tells you all you need to know. Boycott Japanese products!

  • tsubasa

    wow are you serious how about thanks giving millions of turkeys die because of americans and theres alot of drug smugglers.muggers, and gansters plus pit bull fighting i mean what about that. the japanease people its a tradition so GET OFF OUR BACKS SNOBBY AMERICANS LET US DO WHAT WE WANT and in ww2 japan had a duty to get more land and expand our little island but the usa says no! they arent gonna get any land in china even the china protected the communist korea and killed thousands of marines i mean we dont go to iraq and push u out of there u people think we are the bad guys and u are the liberators but think about all the bad things like in operation deaert storm hundreds of thousands of civilians died that day and your bombers thought osama was in a bunker so u send 2 bombs in there but 400 civilians were hiding in there and 200 of them died 100 wounded and the news hides that while they say THOSE JAPS ARE KILLING OUR PRECIOUS WHALES but you people also illegally hunt animals so think about that

  • Jeremy

    I agree with Larry and Anon why would Research bee in ENGLISH and why do they have a warning in ENGLISH, I have nothing aginst Japanese and or people from other countrys.
    But what the Japanese are doing is sicking. They do the same thing with horses, people sell sick horses for 100-500$ to people who say they will take good care of them (in a slaguter house). Than sell the meat for up to 40,000$ for the meat weighing on about 500 lbs.
    And tsubasa turkeys arn’t going to give our children brain damage. Also those turkeys are grown for that purpose we eat turkeys that in the wild would go extinct because they arn’t very good egg layers. We also dont get all of them from the wild.

  • Phil

    We should have used a third bomb when we had a chance. If your little piss ant of an island was worth a crap we would take it and turn it into a Costco. I hope you all choke on a whale bone on your way to Hell ! I’ll be there waiting for you ! I’ll be the 6’10” American in the doorway with a harpoon ! See you soon. I hope !

  • Nadia

    I LOVE PHIL!!! You rock!!!

  • William

    Well I hope the tsunami wiped out all the whaling ships and a significant part of the jap population!!!!!! Did you know that Japs and Chinks “harvest” leather from animals while they are still alive!!!
    Asians are black hearted pieces of crap and if their nuclear plants blow up, I would throw a party!
    If you think what american factory farms do to animals is cruel….the asians make them look like the ASPCA.

  • Daniel

    Please tell me how these “High-on-Stupid” people can get funding. I have watched this show and amazed at how a group of waterlogged idiots can get away with what would be described as a “Terrorist Attack on the High Seas.” Attack on a vessel in international waters, if I am correct, I believe this constitutes an unlawful attack and hindering of a government sea vessel and is punishable in international court. These “Want-to-Be’s” I believe are in love with the camera. This captain is running the risk of getting these misguided children who have nothing better to do than play stupid is going to get them injured if not worse!
    The captain appears to be nothing more than a buffoon at best. I personal hope the boat sinks and everyone is rescued and they all go back home to the real world and grow up. Have you seen what is coming across our boarders? Terrorist that are being taught to speak Spanish and given $40,000 to $50,000 to gain access to the United States. Oh well, Americans playing stupid while the rest of the world waits and watches. Every vigilant.


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