Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Butchers Are Back

The blatant flauting of international law by the nasty Nippons concluded last week.
Daddy-san's home!
Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) announced its whaling fleet had killed 333 minke whales since the end of last year in the name of "research". That proudly-announced figure tragically included 200 pregnant whales.
ICR also revealed where its hunts had been carried out: many of the whales were slaughtered in the Australian Whale Sanctuary and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
It is ironic that neither Australia nor New Zealand would provide any intelligence support, to help eco-warriors Sea Shepherd locate the Japanese whaling fleet. Neither would they mobilise any vessel to watch the whalers. Yet the illegal butchering of these sentient creatures mostly happened within striking distance of their coasts, and within each country's jurisdiction!
Oh, for sure, as soon as the bloody tally hit the headlines, each country's Foreign Ministers denounced the ICR's efforts... but of what use is that?
It is obvious to all that Japan's new "scientific" research scheme is yet another thinly-disguised hunting trip. Like those before, it too was rejected by the International Whaling Commission's scientific committee. Yet the arrogant Japanese went ahead anyway, knowing that the very countries spearheading the anti-whaling campaign valued the Nippon trading dollars more, than to follow through with what the majority of their voters wanted.
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson: "Japan simply ignores international law and international opinion, and continues to slaughter whales with impunity, selling their flesh for a profit. Nearly two years have passed since the International Court of Justice ruled Japan's commercial whaling program illegal, and yet the whalers are still announcing hundreds of fresh kills, including of pregnant mothers."
SS's reason for not sending a full fleet into the Sthrn Ocean this season to block whaling efforts, was because it had a big legal campaign underway against the whalers. And it was the Japanese who actually made this possible - by suing SS in US federal court in 2011. That gave SS a unique opportunity to hold the whalers accountable under US law. So SS has counterclaimed, to prevent the whalers from continuing their violent attacks on SS vessels, and to force them to pay damages for past attacks.
In the meantime, this year's whaling season was a profound success for the ICR, and a pause in the fight for SS. It should also be an embarrassment for Australia and New Zealand. But do their governments really care? I think not...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wicked Campers Still Don't Get It

NZ's Department of Conservation (DOC) has joined a targeted assault against controversial campervan hire company Wicked Campers.
Wicked (which started in Oz and operates in NZ) is under fire from Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett for highly offensive slogans and imagery painted on its vehicles.
DOC has removed Wicked Campers from a list of rental companies, where tourists can buy a DOC campsite pass. A spokesman for Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says: "The ministers find these slogans sleazy, misogynistic and offensive."
Wicked Campers has a long history of hitting the headlines on both sides of the Tasman for all the wrong reasons:
March 2016 - Popular Nelson campsite Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve banned Wicked Campers from their site, saying the vehicles' messages were inappropriate for the families staying there.
Feb.2016 - Whangarei District Council threatened to prosecute Wicked Campers if its campervans with offensive or objectionable material on them were found in the district.
Jan.2016 - NZ's Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint about a van slogan saying "The best thing about oral sex is the five minutes of silence." The board said the quote was deliberately provocative and offensive, was likely to cause serious and widespread offence to most people, and "had not been prepared responsibility to consumers and society".
2015 - travel guide Lonely Planet said it would remove Wicked Campers from its NZ/Oz guidebooks because of its vans' offensive slogans.
2014 - Wicked Campers agreed to review a van featuring a witch passing a meth pipe to Snow White, after a police complaint.
NZ Police has joined the public campaign against Wicked Camper vans, but acknowledge it's a complex issue from a law enforcement perspective: "A message may be widely regarded as offensive and inappropriate, but this does not necessarily make it a criminal matter." The chief censor's office says for a publication to be banned, it has to have done "injury to the public good", instead of just being offensive.
Convictions for knowingly possessing objectionable material can result in a fine up to $50,000 or a 10 year prison sentence.
Meanwhile Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett wants the public to send her photos of all four sides of Wicked's vans:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Viking's Fiery End

An illegal toothfish fishing vessel, pursued by several countries, has been blown-up by the Indonesian Navy.
Viking was one of six illegal and unregulated fishing vessels plundering toothfish in the Southern Ocean, and was the last to be apprehended. Sea Shepherd, which helped track these vessels, called them the 'Bandit 6'.
Fishing in the Southern Ocean is banned by an international convention to conserve Antarctic marine life.
Viking was apprehended in Indonesian waters and blown up by the Indonesian Navy and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on Monday 18th. The crew was being detained in Indonesia.
New Zealand's pacific fisheries ambassador, Shane Jones, says the dramatic way in which the vessels had been driven out of business would "certainly put a dent in the business of illegal fishing."
Viking was a stateless vessel, falsely claiming to be flagged under Nigeria. The nationalities of the Viking's crew are not known.
In December, NZ authorities patrolling the Southern Ocean captured video and still footage of illegal vessels, and provided crew lists to other countries involved in the crackdown.
Jones said the most worrying prospect for the fishing industry was now a largely-unregulated fleet of more than 3000 longline fishing vessels operating just north of the Kermadec Islands.
NZ authorities had been working with a range of countries for the past year to capture the six vessels and their crews. Vast amounts of time and resources had been spent on pursuing them, but it is unknown how much it had cost NZ taxpayers.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why Is This 'Indecent'?

A new ad from US clothing line Lane Bryant - featuring plus-size models Ashley Graham, Tara Lynn, Denise Bidot and Georgia Pratt in the label's underwear - has been rejected by major US TV networks.
Why? Because they call it "indecent".
The ad – Lane Bryant's ongoing body positive #ThisBody campaign – shows the women speaking proudly about their bodies, and includes a shot of Tara Lynn breastfeeding her newborn baby.
Major US networks NBC and ABC asked LB to edit the clip. When it declined, the ad was rejected with the claim it didn't meet "decency standards".
WTF???!!! These are the same networks who regularly air Miss Universe and Miss America swimsuit competitions, not to mention countless Victoria's Secret ads featuring models in lingerie, and all of a sudden this ad doesn't meet its "decency guidelines"?
You'll recall the networks swinging the same axe in 2010, when LB launched a new line...if not, then recap here [link]. They had an issue with curvy Ashley Graham's voluptuous chest! After that drama, the ad was the No.1 most-watched viral video in the world!
Following the networks' recent decision, LB posted the clip on Facebook: "The networks didn't want you to see this. But we do. Show everyone what #ThisBody's made for." Since then, it's been viewed over 2 million times.
LB: "The #ThisBody campaign was meant to be a fun way for us to celebrate and honour women of all shapes and sizes. What is too much for some does not hold true for others. It is a true celebration of women of all sizes doing what makes THEM feel beautiful - whether its breastfeeding their newborn, flaunting their bodies the way they see fit, breaking down barriers all around and simply being who they are or want to be."
So now's your chance to see it. IS this ad "indecent"? Or a positive celebration of life? YOU decide!