Merciless Marine Murders: Captain Paul Watson on Protecting Our Oceans   
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

Right now, we’re in what the anthropologist, Richard Leakey, described as the world’s sixth major extinction event. That means that between the year 2000 and the year 2065, we will lose more species of plants and animals to extinction than we’ve lost in the last 65.2 million years since the end of the Jurassic period. And we will be responsible for that. And of course, we (humans) could be on that list.

This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television. This week we speak with Captain Paul Watson, the vegan founder and president of the non-profit Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Having been in the forefront of global marine conservation efforts for more than three decades, Captain Watson will share his wisdom and insights about the mass decimation of marine wildlife worldwide. Sea Shepherd is best known for bravely upholding international law by stopping whaling fleets from taking the lives of cetaceans.

The International Whaling Commission was established in 1946, primarily to protect the whaling industry, not to protect whales. But in the early 1980’s enough member nations joined it to turn that around so it became a conservation body. But the problem has always been that they have no enforcement. We have all the laws, the treaties and the regulations we need to protect our oceans, we just simply don’t have enforcement.

Captain Watson recalls the very first time he witnessed the cold-blooded, brutal murder of two gentle, noble whales, an event that occurred in June 1975 and transformed his life forever.

We’d come up with this idea to defend whales by putting our bodies between the harpoons and the whales. And Robert Hunter and I were in this small boat. And every time the harpooner tried to maneuver, the harpoon to get a shot, I would block it. And that worked for about 25 minutes. And then the captain came down the catwalk and he screamed into the ear of the harpooner and then looked at us, smiled and brought his finger across his throat.

And that’s when we realized we were in trouble. And a few moments later this explosion happened and the harpoon flew over our head and slammed into the backside of one of the whales in front of us. And she screamed. And it was like a woman screaming in pain. And she rolled on her side in a fountain of blood. And suddenly the largest whale in the pod slapped the water hard with his tail and disappeared. And he swam underneath us and threw himself straight out of the water at the harpooner to defend his pod.

But he was ready for them, and he had attached another harpoon. And he pulled the trigger and sent an exploding harpoon into the head, at point blank range, of this whale. And this whale fell back screaming and rolling in agony on the surface. And as he was rolling about, I caught his eye. And he looked straight at me, and then he dove again, and this time I saw a trail of bloody bubbles coming really fast towards our small little boat.

And he came up and out of the water. And as his head rose slowly out of the water, I looked into his eye, and what I saw there really changed my life, because I saw understanding, that the whale understood what we were trying to do. And I could see the effort that he made to pull himself back. And slowly his head began to go back into the sea and I saw his eye disappear beneath the surface. And he died.

He could have killed us, and chose not to do so. So he spared our life. So I feel personally indebted to the fact that I’m alive to that particular whale. And so from that moment on, I decided that I would do what I do for whales and other creatures of the oceans, the sharks, the turtles, and the fish.

One of the most senseless, bloody and inhumane whale massacres Captain Watson has ever seen is sadly a regular occurrence in the Faroe Islands, an island group about 450 kilometers southeast of Iceland.

The killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands is rather unique in many ways. According to the Faroese, the pilot whales are delivered to their shores by god. It’s a gift from god. And it’s an excuse for them to kill these animals. They wipe out the entire pods. There are no survivors. And children participate in it. They’re clubbed, they’re slashed, and they’re stabbed. It’s a horrendous affair. It’s bloody. The only thing I can compare it to is the Roman Coliseums 2000 years ago.

But they say it’s part of their tradition. It’s part of their culture. And culture should never ever be a justification for this kind of an atrocity. They only eat about 20-30% of the meat. The rest of it is thrown away. And last year we actually found a pilot whale graveyard when our divers went down and filmed at the place where they’re dumping the bodies. And there are hundreds and hundreds of bodies just on the bottom of the sea.

But whales are not the only marine animals who are victims of vicious slaughter by humans. Captain Watson has also witnessed the violent deaths of helpless harp seal pups in Canada, almost all of whom are only a few weeks old.

Originally (when) we went there, they were killing “white coats,” which are under 14 days (old). Then the government passed this law saying they were no longer going to kill baby seals. They were going to kill adults. But now the government’s definition of adults is anything over 14 days. So 14 – 36 days is now considered an adult seal, even though it’s helpless on the ice and can’t move. It’s very, very hard to really describe just how horrible it is. They go around whacking these seals with clubs or hakapiks. I’ve seen them skinned alive.

Through its hugely destructive practices, the global fishing industry has destroyed fish and shellfish populations in our oceans, leading to delicate marine environments being wiped out around the world.

Large drag trawlers, bottom trawlers, middle water trawlers, long lines, drift nets, that kind of technology is something that fish, for instance, cannot keep up with. We’re taking the fish out of the ocean far, far faster than they’re able to reproduce. We have removed about 90% of the fishes from the oceans, and we’re taking 70 to 90 million sharks alone. If you remove that shark from the ecosystem, you’re going to do a lot of serious damage to that ecosystem.

The bloodthirsty fishing fleets are not just supplying fish markets with aquatic life, they are also selling their catches to environmentally damaging and inherently cruel aquaculture operations.

To raise one salmon on a salmon farm requires on average the catching of 75 fish from the ocean to feed it. And it’s converted into pellets. So, you’re actually putting much more pressure on oceanic ecosystems by raising these fish on salmon farms. And in addition, they heavily use growth hormones, antibiotics. And because salmon raised on a farm have a dirty white flesh which nobody’s going to buy, what they do is they put a dye in the food pellets to artificially color the meat. So it’s not even real.

And so it’s very, very destructive, both to the ecosystem and it’s not very healthy. Also 40% of all of the fish in the ocean is fed to livestock. Factory farmed chickens are eating more fish than all the albatross and puffins in the world put together. So pigs are becoming a major aquatic predator. So eating pork or beef or chicken is actually consuming the ocean.

Do fish and other beings in the sea know when we are intending to murder them for food?

I think a lot of animals have this intuitive ability that most humans lost a long time ago. For instance, if you’re diving on a coral reef and you’ve got a spear gun in your hand, the fish will keep their distance; they know what that is. But if you’re diving with a camera in your hand, they will come right up to you. So, they know what your intentions are. If your intentions are to kill them, they’re going to keep their distance. If your intentions to photograph them, they’re there.

Like Supreme Master Ching Hai, Captain Watson believes that there is only one solution to end the appalling and horrific destruction of marine life and large-scale killing of land animals: the global adoption of a plant-based diet.

I think that her (Supreme Master Ching Hai’s) promotion of veganism is one of the healthiest things, really, because this really is the key to changing our attitude towards animals and actually even being able to survive on this planet, really. That’s why our ships, for instance, are all vegan vessels, and we have been for so many years.

Because it’s to try and lower our impact upon the ecosystems and also to demonstrate a sensitivity and a kindness to all living things. And I think that is probably, to me, the most important thing that she is speaking about and she’s trying to get across. To me that’s the most important thing.

Captain Watson has a final message to share with us.

We have to understand that we have an intimate connection with our oceans. And that if the oceans die, we die. And if we want to survive and leave a legacy to our children’s children’s children, then the best way to do that is to preserve and protect and defend biodiversity in our oceans.

Captain Paul Watson, we are grateful to you and all the remarkable Sea Shepherd volunteers for your spirited, passionate defense of marine life on the high seas. Your love of animals and determination to achieve your goals are truly admirable.

For more details on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, please visit www.SeaShepherd.org

Open minded viewers, thank you for your thoughtful presence today on our program. Enlightening Entertainment is coming up next, after Noteworthy News. May all beings on Earth enjoy long and harmonious lives.

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