Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Prepares for Legal Battle Against Japanese Whalers

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Japanese whaling corporation Kyodo Senpaku seeks to halt Sea Shepherd’s ships and freeze its bank accounts in an effort to stop the organization’s eighth Antarctic campaign to end the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean. The Seattle-based international law firm of Harris & Moure, pllc will be representing Sea Shepherd in this case.

On Thursday, December 8, Japanese whaling corporation Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, Ltd., along with three other plaintiffs, filed a complaint against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its founder and president, Paul Watson. Plaintiffs seek to halt Sea Shepherd’s ships and freeze its bank accounts in an effort to stop the organization’s eighth Antarctic campaign to end the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd and Mr. Watson have enlisted the law firm of Harris & Moure, pllc (http://www.harrismoure.com) to defend them.

Plaintiffs The Institute of Cetacean Research, Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, Ltd., Tomoyuki Ogawa, and Toshiyuki Miura are pursuing their lawsuit against Sea Shepherd in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Case number 2:11-cv-02043).

According to Sea Shepherd attorney Charles Moure, “Sea Shepherd intends to vigorously defend its free speech rights and to prove that under the guise of 'scientific research,' the plaintiffs have for years engaged in the illegal slaughter of whales— including the targeting of endangered species."

The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the wake of an Australian Federal Court decision (Humane Society International, Inc. v. Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. [2008] FCA 3-15) finding plaintiff Kyodo Senpaku’s whaling ventures to be illegal, as well as a case brought by the Australian government in the International Court of Justice in the Hague (the "World Court") seeking a permanent ban on Japanese whaling (http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/148/15953.pdf). Moure sees this lawsuit as “a desperate attempt by the whalers to counter these two cases and the recent bad publicity regarding Japan’s whaling fleet having taken millions of dollars designated for tsunami relief."

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Miriam Roth
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