The Humane Society International today won a historic decision from the Australian Federal Court which the environmental group says could save hundreds of whales from Japanese harpoons. The court ruled that a Japanese whaling company is in breach of Australian law when it kills whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary and has ordered that the hunt be stopped.
This is the first time the Japanese whalers have been taken to court and the ruling confirms that the hunt is illegal. The Japanese government says it is conducting research whaling, which is allowed under an international whaling moratorium, but critics of Japan say no research is involved.
The court states that since 2000 the Japanese whalers have killed 3,558 minke whales and 13 fin whales in the waters off Antarctica.
Justice James Alsop ruled that the Japanese company, which did not appear in court at any time during the proceedings, has violated the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, or the EPBC Act.