From: Associated Press
Published June 1, 2005 12:00 AM

Australian Animal Rights Group to Appeal Decision in Japanese Whaling Case

SYDNEY, Australia — Animal advocates hoping to halt a Japanese whale hunt announced plans Tuesday to appeal a legal decision that bars the group from filing a lawsuit against the whaling company Kyodo Senpaku.


Humane Society International was denied permission by Australia's Federal Court last week to sue the Japanese whaling company for allegedly killing hundreds of whales in Antarctic waters the Australian government has declared a whale sanctuary.


In rejecting the application, Judge James Allsop said Australia does not have a legal right to stop whaling in international waters protected by Australia because Japan does not recognize Australia's jurisdiction there.


However, Allsop granted the animal rights group permission to appeal his decision to the full bench of the Federal Court.


The group's director, Michael Kennedy, said he would appeal the decision within the next two weeks.


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"A successful appeal to the full Federal Court could force the government to go beyond hitting Japan with rhetoric," Kennedy said.


Australian government officials have refused to support the group, saying they will use diplomacy to urge Japan to curb its whaling activities.


Commercial whaling was banned by the International Whaling Commission in 1986, but a small number of countries -- including Japan -- maintain scientific whaling programs in which hundreds of whales are killed each year.


Japan has said it will push for a widening of its research whaling program at a meeting of the IWC that began in Ulsan, South Korea last week. Whaling opponents fear that pro-whaling countries like Japan and Norway may have a voting majority at the commission for the first time since the 1986 whaling ban was imposed.


Source: Associated Press


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