Sea Shepherd releases disturbing footage of whaling in Australian waters

Footage released by activist group Sea Shepherd shows Japanese fishermen harpooning whales in the Southern ocean before dragging them, still alive, along the side of the vessel.

This is the shocking evidence of a Japanese whaling hunt in an Australian whale sanctuary that the federal government did not want you to see.

The film was taken inside the Australian whale sanctuary off the Antarctic coast by the Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking in 2008 as part of Australia's whaling case against Japan in the International Court of Justice.

The footage was filmed in 2008 by Australian customs officials and requests from Sea Shepherd in 2012 for the film were denied by the government amid fears it would damage global relations.

The footage has finally been released after a five year battle.

"This footage shows the bloody brutality, cruelty and senseless killing of such attractive, intelligent and majestic animals".

"These whales are hunted down, before being hit with an explosive harpoon that sends shrapnel through their bodies".

In May, the Information Commissioner overturned the order and instructed the government to release the footage.

"This footage shows the bloody brutality, cruelty and senseless killing of such lovely, intelligent and majestic animals", Sea Shepherd managing director Jeff Hansen said.

"The government must take action now to end this slaughter".

Sea Shepherd will not be persuing the Japanese whaling fleet this year.

Sea Shepherd announced in August it no longer had the resources to send its boats to prevent the hunt.

A representative of the Japanese government insisted that the profits from the sale of the whale meat are used for the research and denies any commercial objective.

The representative of Japan countered that its research whaling is completely for scientific purposes and has not affected the species' population.

"The Australian Government has suppressed this footage for years".

Canberra has spoken out against commercial and "so-called "scientific" whaling" in the Southern Ocean.

The 12-year mission of harassment against whaling in Antarctic waters, launched each year from Australian ports, has been stopped because Japan is using "military surveillance to watch Sea Shepherd ship movements in real time by satellite".

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on whaling in force since 1986.

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