SYDNEY – The environmental non-profit Sea Shepherd released on Tuesday a video of whaling carried out by the Japanese in 2008 after the footage had been suppressed by the Australian government.
The video shot by Australian authorities in the Antarctica shows the whales attacked with harpoons before being dragged towards the Japanese ship, which captured them allegedly for scientific purposes.
“The Australian Government has suppressed this footage for years. The main reason given was that the images of this horrific slaughter would harm diplomatic relationships with Japan,” said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, in a statement.
“The Australian Government has chosen to side with the poachers instead of defending the whales of the Southern Ocean,” Hansen said after the footage was released through the process of Freedom of Information along with other environmental organizations.
Sea Shepherd said that whaling was carried out in a cetacean sanctuary where they were hunted to the point of exhaustion before being shot at with explosive harpoons that send shrapnel through the body making them unable to escape.
“It takes a long time for these whales to die, it’s barbaric,” said Hansen.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in 2014 the Japanese whaling program in the Antarctic Ocean as illegal considering it did not conform to the standards of scientific purposes as established by the International Whaling Commission.
Japan had stopped whaling in the Antarctica for a few months before it resumed at the end of 2016 after introducing changes to the program, including a reduction in the volume of catches.