Whale Activist Vows To Fast Till Death


Tom Falvey is a friend of mine. We go way back to Greenpeace days. Tom is determined to hold onto this life threatening fast until Japan ends its hostile aggression against both the whales in the arctic seas ( Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary) and against the brave Sea Shepherd crew desperately trying to protect the whales.

Please help him by writing letters to the Secretary of State and Embassy of Japan. Addresses below

Hunger Strike Against Aggression
Japan has sent its whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in defiance of international law. It has also sent armed cost guard personnel with them in response to nonviolent activists upholding the law. Japan has not stated its intentions. The fact remains that it has deployed the capability to forcibly board or disable the activists' ships. The threat of deadly force in support of an illegal enterprise constitutes armed aggression.

I will fast until death unless Japan renounces the use of force against those defending the integrity of the Sanctuary.

If Japan does so I will gladly end my fast. If it refuses then it will be clear that Japan intends to physically subdue them. In that case the world community will be forewarned and have a duty to prevent such violence.

I want to live. But some things are worth dying for. If necessary I will join the countless individuals who have given their lives for two fundamental principles:

* The rule of law must prevail, and
* Armed aggression on the high seas is unacceptable


The Japanese whaling fleet pretends to be conducting scientific research in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, off Antarctica. The International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) scientific committee has rejected this cynical subterfuge several times. In 2007 the full IWC formally asked Japan to stop its lethal research (Resolution 2007-1). Japan has said no.

For the 2010/11 season Japan has unilaterally decided to take 935 Minke, 50 Fin and 50 Humpback whales, in an “objection” to IWC rules. A dead whale is worth about $200,000 on the meat market. This is actually a commercial operation; an industrial scale slaughter for profit.

This year Japan has also sent armed coast guard personnel with its fleet. This is in response to nonviolent activists defending the integrity of the Sanctuary. Japan has not stated its intentions. The fact remains that it has mobilized the capability to forcibly board or disable the activists’ ships. Obviously such tactics would put human life at risk.

The possible use of armed force to suppress opposition in a protected conservation zone takes the whaling issue to a new level. This is no longer simply about the whales. It challenges the very concept of international law. Can one nation violently impose its will on the global commons in defiance of the recognized regulatory body (IWC)?

There are good reasons for the Sanctuary’s existence. Antarctica itself is a desolate ice sheet. The cold nutrient rich ocean surrounding it is spectacularly alive. Whales are its dominant life form. Yet most whale species have been hunted to the brink of extinction. Now Japan is going after the last and smallest survivors.

This issue also has an ethical dimension. All whales have bigger brains than ours, and some seem to be as complex. We cannot prejudge beings so high on the evolutionary scale as mere natural resources. Real scientists would wait to determine the truth about their intelligence before butchering them for food.

Another ethical aspect is whaling’s extreme cruelty. An exploding harpoon rarely kills outright. The wounded whale is winched to the killer ship’s side, stuck with a probe and electrocuted with thousands of volts. It often takes 15-20 minutes for the whale to finally drown. Such prolonged agony would not be tolerated in any slaughterhouse.

Few people care about the ecology of the remote Southern Ocean. Or the possibility of advanced consciousness in marine mammals. People do care about a stable world order governed by the rule of law.

In this case, Japan has explicitly stated that it is exempt from the rule of law. It claims the right to exploit the oceanic commons as it sees fit, regardless of others’ interests. Its military presence implies a right to physically subdue anyone who stands in its way. That is a breathtaking assertion of jurisdiction over the Southern Ocean, 6000 miles from Japan.

The United States, with many other nations, has long voiced opposition to Japan’s illegal whaling. However, it has tolerated some state sponsored poaching in the Sanctuary because Japan is a major creditor that finances much of our deficit. Now its military deployment presents a direct challenge. It cannot be evaded. The threat of deadly force in support of a criminal enterprise constitutes armed aggression on the high seas.

The world community must act to ensure that Japan renounces the use of force against those who are upholding international law. The real stakes here are far higher than those of power and pride. If Japan gets away with this then it kills any hope for effective ocean conservation. It, then others, will just grab what they want. The degradation of a vital planetary ecosystem will accelerate. We will all pay a heavy price. Is the world so intimidated by Japan’s economic clout that it will allow this to happen?

Japan is unique but not privileged. It cannot make its own rules and enforce them by violence. The oceans are not Japan’s for the taking.

Current Situation – January 17, 2011

The Sea Shepherd activists are now with the whalers' supply ship. They will block any attempt at refueling. That means the whalers would have to return home at least a month early, thus saving hundreds of whales. During this process the Sea Shepherd ships will be essentially immobile and thus vulnerable to whatever action the armed coast guard personnel may have planned. This moment of truth could come at any time.

World governments have a duty to ensure that Japan does not resort to force. Failure to act means they would share responsibility for any injuries or deaths that may occur.

To express your concern please contact:

Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki
Embassy of Japan
2520 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008-2869
Tel: (202) 238-6700
Fax: (202) 328-2187
Email: jicc [at] ws.mofa.go.jp

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Department of State
2201 C St, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-9572
Fax: (202) 647-1579
Email: colemancl [at] state.gov (her personal assistant)

Or the appropriate officials in your country.

About Tom Falvey

Tom Falvey, 61, is an environmentalist and writer in San Diego, CA. He is not affiliated with any organization. He does not represent the Sea Shepherd activists. This is a personal statement of conscience.

You can contact Tom Falvey at:

Tel: (619) 618-5713
Email: tefalvey [at] gmail.com

About this Hunger Strike

I began this hunger strike at noon on December 28, 2010.

The credibility of this protest depends on its sincerity. I will only drink water during this fast. If I fall unconscious, or into a coma, I refuse any feeding, even if death is imminent. If I develop any medical condition as a consequence, even a life threatening one, I refuse all treatment.

The only condition under which I will accept feeding or medical intervention is if Japan renounces the use of force against nonviolent activists upholding the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.