Sea Shepherd Fundraiser
Wednesday 21st May 2008Details from http://www.veggies.org.uk/event.php?ref=1278
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NOTTINGHAM MAN CHASES WHALERS|
Nottingham Evening Post - 28 April 2008
Until he was 18 Dan Bebawi "really didn't care that much" about animal welfare issues.
But then he made a decision to turn vegan, and ten years later he is prepared to put his life in danger for the sake of animals.
The 28-year-old likens his work with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to his day job as a youth worker in Nottingham.
"I don't really like bullying of any kind really, and I see the way that animals get treated as a form of bullying," he said.
"I work with kids as a youth worker and it's the same sort of issues I'm interested in."
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, set up by one of the founding members of Greenpeace, protects marine wildlife across the globe through direct action rather than campaigning.
Dan has been a crew member on two of their anti-whaling trips, returning from the most recent in March.
He said the organisation's dangerous direct action tactics are necessary. "It's not protesting or asking something to change. It's saying these regulations already exist," he said. "We respect what Greenpeace campaigners do, but they do a lot of hanging banners while the whaling is still going on."
The aim of Dan's trips has been to track down Japanese whaling fleets and follow them, hindering their ability to whale.
Sea Shepherd made international headlines in January when two activists boarded a Japanese whaler.
"We were lucky that the two guys who boarded the ship left a tracking device behind," he said.
"Whenever the whalers see us they run, so while they are running they can't be doing any whaling. We chased them for 11 days."
The tactics they use include dousing the decks of the whaler with a strong smelling food additive, rendering its catch unusable.
"The second time the Japanese coastguard started throwing grenades at us," Dan said. "They shot our captain with a live bullet, but he was wearing a bulletproof vest. They haven't done that before, but it's getting tight because they are having year after year of hunts being sabotaged by Sea Shepherd."
The whalers were operating in territorial waters of Australia, whose Federal Court has ruled that the Japanese whaling operations are illegal. However, Japan does not recognise Australia's claims, or the Antarctic Treaty which prohibits whaling.
Dan plans to volunteer for other Sea Shepherd campaigns, including seal defence in Canada, and patrolling the Galapagos Islands to prevent illegal fishing.
"If I can get the time off work," he added.
Story by firstname.lastname@example.org
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