Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whale Wars

'Whale Wars' on Animal Planet
By Mary McNamara, Television Critic

It's difficult to begrudge anyone their media savvy in this synergistic age, but there is a level of TV-consciousness in Animal Planet's new weekly docu-series “Whale Wars” that often seems at odds with its dramatic and controversial subject.

The seven-week series, which premieres tonight at 9, follows an anti-whaling "campaign" against Japanese fishing vessels conducted on the high seas by Capt. Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace, was kicked out of that organization when his activism was deemed too extreme.

Although it is illegal to kill whales for commercial use, the law allows the killing of 1,000 whales each year for the purposes of research. Watson and his crew consider this a bogus loophole, used by the Japanese as a smoke screen for a purely capitalist enterprise, and they are not content to simply protest and document.

Not surprisingly, many on both sides of the Save the Whales issue consider Watson more terrorist than activist, and the Japanese fishing industry has labeled him a pirate.

Watson may be certain, and persuasive, in his belief that these whales are not dying for research and that research does not justify slaughter, but the fishermen he and his crew are stalking are within the law. Which means the Sea Shepherds are not. Read More

I have heard other parents say to us that their kids watch a lot of the Animal Planet Channel because they thought it was always safe to let the kids watch. Then along comes “Whale Wars”. Paul Watson is a professional pirate engaged in illegal activities and Animal Planet will most certainly paint him in a positive light. And, here is a guess from me, I would imagine that we will also hear about climate change, hunters and maybe even get into the evils of livestock farming on this show.

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