The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a direct action animal rights organization led by Captain Paul Watson, will get some well-deserved attention in an upcoming seven-part Animal Planet television series titled “Whale Wars,” set to premier November 7th.
The group formed in 1977 after Watson, one of the founders of Greenpeace, became frustrated with the seminal environmental group’s hesitation to engage in direct action. Since then the group has faced down whalers year-after-year by literally chasing their ships around the open seas.
Unlike most direct action activism, Watson insists that Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling campaigns are entirely legal. He cites international treaties under the International Whaling Commission that state that any human has the right to interfere with illegal poaching or whaling. While the laws exist, Watson says that Sea Shepherd are the only ones enforcing them. He has been arrested numerous times across the globe but has never been convicted of any wrongdoing.
Last winter, the crew prevented the Japanese from killing at least 300 whales, but not without a fight. The television show documents all the action, including a dramatic hostage situation, flash grenades, gunfire, and full-throttled chases through to antarctic seas. Quite frankly, I wish I had cable.
This teaser gives you a taste of what to expect:
Image Credit: Paul Watson via Wiki Commons