Sea Shepherd releases disturbing footage of whaling in Australian waters

Shocking footage of whaling in Australian waters has just been released.

It shows a Japanese whaling fleet chasing, harpooning and capturing whales in the Australian whale sanctuary off the Antarctic coast.

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

The Australian Government has repeatedly refused to release the footage on the grounds that it could harm its relationship with Japan, but Sea Shepherd took the fight to the Information Commissioner - who ordered it to be released.

"The Australian Government has suppressed this footage for years. The main reason given was that the images of this horrific slaughter would harm diplomatic relationships with Japan. The Australian Government has chosen to side with the poachers instead of defending the whales of the Southern Ocean," said Mr Hansen.

The Australian customs footage from 2008 was used in Australia's whaling case against Japan in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

"These whales are hunted down, before being hit with an explosive harpoon that sends shrapnel through their bodies, while prongs come out so that the whale cannot escape. The whale dives to try and get back to the depths below, to its family, but it can't as the whale killers retract the cable, slowly bringing the whale to the surface, thrashing about in pain before he/she gets to eyeball their killer, before being shot until finally dying, many minutes later in a sea of blood," said Mr Hansen.

Sea Shepherd is now calling on the Australian Government to send a ship to the Antarctic to oppose whaling, and to take Japan to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.

Japan has always defending its whaling operations as being for scientific research.