by Michael dEstries
Categories: Causes, Film/TV
Tags: .

While campaigning for the Save the Whales Again! campaign down in D.C. last weekend, Hayden Panettiere took some time away from the crowds to help promote Animal Planet’s new show Whale Wars. The series documents what exactly happens when the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society heads out to antagonize the Japanese Whaling fleet. As The Daily Green revealed in their preview of the show, “ships are rammed, stink bombs tossed, anti-whaling declarations are broadcast over loud speakers, and whales are chased to safety.”

The show premieres November 7th at 9pm on Animal Planet.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Jade

    good on hayden!! i love how passionate she is, she is a gem amongst the young women in hollywood, using her fame for good instead of pettiness.

  • Kari K

    Wow. I am shocked and apalled. How could anyone promote a show that does not consider the well being of those involved?? These volunteers have no idea whose hands they have put their lives in! A crew muster drill in which no survival suits (absolutely necessary for survival in event of an emergency in a cold water climate) are provided? The “medic” recommends hot chocolate for those suffering from hypothermia? A skiff launch that is beyond incompetant – Where is the painter line? Why is the skiff launched without the motors warmed up? Who is driving the crane? Pull up when you see it turning! These are obvious concerns to those of us who work on boats. Something for those who would like to volunteer for something they believe in to think about…. Your safety is essential. Your voice will not be heard if you are dead. Educate yourself about the environment you will be in! This guy obviously does not care about the lives of those he recruits.
    Granted, I have been at sea for 18 years. But just the same I would never risk lives of people that believe in a cause just for my own publicity. Paul sucks.

  • fbr

    Kari, being active in all sorts of causes is just a part of the PR work that all actors do to promote themselves. They rarely have any in-depth understanding of the cause they’re supporting. Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones pretty much nailed it in their kitties/puppies videos.

  • Steph

    Whale Wars is amazing. The crew of the Sea Sheppard are brave dedicated activists! My friends are VERY involved with them and were so at the time when the Japanese took hostages. These people on the show are FRIENDS.

    And i really think that these activists DO KNOW what they are getting into. There is a very very rigorous screening process that brings up all the risks involved and stresses that their lives are in danger as well.

    Unlike other organizations, activists that are serious about being on the Steve Irwin are TRULY dedicated to the cause and know the risks involved. True activists have been aware of Sea Sheppard long before this show came along.

    I applaud them, Animal Planet for having the balls to put the show on, and anyone else that has the balls to back the show and the crew up.

  • Rory

    Having just watched Whale Wars on AP, and being thoroughly disgusted by Paul Watson and the tactics he used, I was curious to know more about him. After researching him on the internet, I can now see that my feelings of disgust are justified. This man is no hero, and does tremendous injustice to the people who truly do work towards conservation. He is nothing more than an eco-terrorist who has left a long trail of stunts that have endangered lives and property to serve his own ego. There’s a thin line between hero and ego-driven fool, and he falls very squarely on the fool side. He has brought nothing but shame to the organizations he’s been a part of. Yes, of course he thinks differently, as well as people who associate with him for varying periods of time, tho almost all seem to desert him because of his tactics eventually. And in Whale Wars, he calls the Japanese cowards for trying to run from the SI, yet he himself ran to the sea from Costa Rica when they attempted to arrest him and his crew for attempted murder during one of his ‘missions’. My opinion of Animal Planet has dropped drastically with this decision to air this one-sided series, and not give the complete or accurate background of the man who created Sea Shepherd. The rose-colored lenses need to come off the cameras filming it, and show the man for what he is, not for what he claims he is. Totally disgusting.

  • buttinski

    Rory, you sure ride your high horse.

    Paul Watson has interfered with Whaling without losing a man, nor hurting any whalers. How is enforcing maritime laws against whaling in any way terrorism?

    Paul had to flee Costa Rica because the mobsters brokering illegally gathered sharkfins were waiting to kill him.

    Kari, the volunteers aboard Paul’s ships are amateurs doing the best job they can. Paul has not blundered any of his crew into death. His crew volunteers to help him stop whaling. No other activist group takes action, Greenpeace raises money, to hang banners at most, and then they do what? Raise more money of course.

  • Jan

    I found myself rooting for the Japanese after stumbling on to this show. Calling yourself a “hostage” after planning to board a ship that does not want you to board, for the very purpose of becoming a hostage to create publicity, discredits all unfortunate people who have truly been hostages – and is more than a little disengenous. Also, planning to disable a ship by intentionally throwing ropes into the prop should be criminal. Thumbs down to this show!

    • David

      Well said.

  • MIke

    I absoulutely beleive in what these people are doing and commend them on their bravery. That being said, I have never seen a group of people so absoultely incompetant at the basic’s of what they are trying to do. This show makes them out as a bunch of well-intentioned fools, and as far as this Paul Watson goes….

  • kay

    the people on this show are idiots. hopefully they do save some whales, but not much will happen until the governments decide to do something about it.

  • Steven

    Kari, I find it disgusting that instead of caring about what is actually happening on the show, you simply point out all of the alleged shortcomings in the sailing skills of the crew. Moreover, you say that the crew had no idea what they were getting into. I completely disagree… the crew got into the situation in order to SAVE WHALES. It is because of people like you (people who do not care about the environment at all) that the world is in the embarrasing environmental state that it currently is.

  • WB

    This show is a superb example of what gives environmentalists a bad name. The crew are engaging in terrorist activities in order to try to impose their view of what’s right and wrong on others. Perhaps Japanese fisherman should stalk the crew of this vessel and throw bombs at them whenever they eat a hamburger or step on an ant. I used to support environmental causes, but no more.

    I always find it telling that supporters of this types of cause are generally celebrities with too much time and money on their hands. Anyone who has seen some of the real problems in the world, the human suffering (e.g. malaria, starvation), would realize there are far better places to focus one’s energy than supporting environmental terrorists.


  • SandyBG

    Rory, thanks for the suggestion about checking Paul Watson’s activities and methods out on the internet. I’m glad I did, and share your disgust with him, and I’ll have to add my name to the millions who view him as nothing more than a narcissistic eco-terrorist. Your post was well stated and I absolutely agree with everything in it.

    Buttinski, thank goodness there ARE people who ride their horses higher than the likes of a Paul Watson because it shows that not everyone can be taken in by the smoke cover and can clearly see through the bs put out by a Watson type. As for what is wrong with Watson and his people enforcing maritime whaling laws? Very simple… the organization has no official mandate or authorization to enforce any legislation. If they wanted to trail any suspected illegal whaling ships and take pictures of their actions and document locations/actions, etc., and contact the law enforcement entity responsible for that area, then they certainly are within their rights to do so, and I could respect what they’re trying to do. But they have no authority, either moral or legal, to attempt to damage, disable, or board another ship and/or it’s crew. And as for your claim that Watson’s actions have never hurt anyone, including whalers, you are incorrect. And though no deaths have occurred due to his actions yet, the nature of his dangerous tactics combined with his current tendency to put untrained and inexperienced people at the controls of ship functions most likely means it’s only a matter of time until a death occurs… more likely one of themselves as opposed to a whaler.

    Kari, some of the things you mentioned are just what my wife and I were commenting on when we watched this show. The incompetency, and in some cases, downright stupidity, of these people running operations on the ship is mind-boggling. It’s like the Keystone Cops run amok on a ship. Add to that a severe lack of common sense, and the stage is set for recurring accidents and equipment abuse and misuse.

    Steven, accusing Kari of not caring about the environment is rather ridiculous since nothing in her/his post indicated her stance on it. And since sailing and ship safety is obviously something she/he is very familiar with, and since to most people watching the show the lack of skill and safety was obvious, Kari’s post was quite on-target and on-topic with a legitimate concern.

    Jan, I couldn’t agree with you more. By their own words, members of the Sea Shepherds call themselves eco-pirates. IMO, they should be treated as any pirate would, subject to applicable maritime laws relating to piracy.

    I have been active in and committed to several eco/global issues for many years, and I absolutely cringe when someone the likes of a Paul Watson’s name becomes publicly associated with eco issues. Watson’s tactics, while full of drama and milked for all the publicity he can get out of it, might seem heroic to those who don’t know the whole story, or to those who form their opinions based on edited sound bites or articles based on information supplied by Sea Shepherd itself. But the reality is that Watson is no hero, and his actions make it that much harder for real progress to be made in the global community. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and an eco-terrorist is still just a terrorist, even when you put ‘eco’ in front of the word. Animal Planet, participating in this show is so beneath you. And to anyone who is interested, you don’t have to take anyone’s words here for granted if you want to know what Paul Watson is all about. Just use your search browser on Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd to find information on them and make your own judgements about him.

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  • Rik

    What started out as a fairly compelling show has ended up as an exercise in recklesness and the tide of public opinion has turned against them, I think. The crew comes accross as childish in nature as they laugh and joke at their opponents expense.
    And the shooting incident was laughable as could be discerned from Paul Watson’s reaction. Its all designed to garner international coverage, of course, but that is a double edged sword now.
    Their intentions are good, but I fear that has been somewhat forgotten in their rage against the Japanese. As they push more and more there will eventually be a bad accident, probably to themselves and their partly inexperienced crew.
    Not only whales are at risk, human lives now too.

  • Eric

    These people are eco-terrorist and aggravating. there are proper ways to say what you believe in and the way they are attacking the whalers is ridiculous. whaling is NOT illegal where thy are doing it and these people are just IDIOTS.. I have LESS respect for animal planet, a channel that usually has people doing good for animals, not committing terrorist like acts. thanks animal planet for making me despise you and your lowly efforts to put a jerry springer quality show on the air.

  • RS

    I also am disgusted!! But with how so many people in this “message board” are suffering from deep rooted ignorance… Yes the Sea Shepherds use unconventional methods and unfortunately don’t always do things by the book, but they all deserve commendations for their AMAZING dedication to this very important cause. You can’t just sit around and take “pictures” and “document” the horrible massacres of these beautiful and majestic animals! There are NO legal enforcing agencies, the IWC imposed the moratorium on Commercial Whaling but they are a volunteer organization, someone has to take direct action, not just fancy words and light shows…I APPLAUD ANIMAL PLANET for airing WHALE WARS, I also Applaud Paul Watson and the crew for acting on their moral beliefs!!! YOU GO GUYS!!!!!

  • Get Real

    RS, you said that they don’t always do things by the book? That appears to be their mandate! They go to sea with the intent to attack, disable and board ships on the High Seas. This is the very definition of Piracy. You say they deserve commendations for “their AMAZING dedication to this very important cause”. Guess what, serial killers are amazingly dedicated to their cause also. Now I am not trying to compare these people with serial killers, but excusing the Sea Shepherds acts of terrorism and piracy because they are dedicated is ridiculous.
    Lets put it this way, I have a salmon fishing boat and if I am on Lake Michigan fishing and someone attacks me, disables and attempts to board my boat … they had better be a uniformed law enforcement agent or I will defend myself and my property by any means necessary.

    I have no love for whaling, and think that is totally unnecessary, but these eco-terrorists have raised sympathy for the whalers and make all people who support saving the whales look like easily dismissed nut jobs including you and Hayden Panattiere. The Sea Shepherds have done the legitimate whale conservationists a great harm and disservice.

  • Keith

    Simply Terrorism…”Whale Wars” is utter garbage…The whaling ships have every legal right to be there and are getting harassed and some type od acid thrown at them as other tatics…That is so wrong on many levels…Take show off ther air or you just lost a viewer…..
    Same attitude at the abortion clinics…
    Same attitude at Fur farmers years ago..
    Terrorism I have no tolerance for…

  • no

    Some of these people are idiots.

    First of all stop freaking out over “acid”. It’s rancid butter aka “buteric acid”. It’s not a big deal.

    Second, boo hoo “the japanese have a legal right”. No, they don’t. They are exploiting loopholes with wild abandon and nobody is bothering to do anything about it.

    Third, “their tactics are wrong and dangerous.. manufacturing hostage situations blah blah blah”. It’s called TACTICS, you idiots. You do what you have to do.

    I’m not an environmentalist. I mean, yeah, I give a damn, but I also eat meat and wear leather and don’t recycle. But I’m all for people taking things into their own hands and doing the right thing when nobody else can be bothered. More, I’m all for these people who are more or less laymen laying their lives on the lines and actually DOING SOMETHING other than posting on the internet or walking around some college campus with a useless sign.

    “Get Real”… let’s put it this way… if you are salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, you are under direct American jurisdiction. These guys are at the frigging ANTARCTIC where there is no direct law, except multi-national sanction granting it as a whale sanctuary. Your comparison is flat out stupid.

    Your comparison would make more sense if you said “Let’s say I go bear hunting in Montana… but the bears are an endangered and protected species and killing bears is illegal…. EXCEPT for scientific purposes… so I’m just going to go kill every single bear I can and call it “scientific research” even though I’m really just chopping them up for beef-stew”.

    And let’s say nobody bothers to enforce the law, so you get away flaunting it in front of everyone.

    And then someone says “if nobody will bother to enforce the law, I will stop you”.

    There’s nothing more American. Or human. I’m all for it. I hope they continue kicking ass. Eco-terrorists are the idiots who set an entire car lot on fire and destroy logging equipment while putting loggers lives in danger. These guys are trying to stop illegal whaling with jars of rancid butter and sturdy ropes. Hardly eco-terrorism.

    Pussies, I have no tolerance for.

  • no

    “there are proper ways to say what you believe in and the way they are attacking the whalers is ridiculous. whaling is NOT illegal where thy are doing it and these people are just IDIOTS..”


    First, saying what you believe doesn’t stop anything. You sound like every one of my fellow lazy assed Americans. Why bother DOING anything when you can just put a yellow ribbon on your SUV or a flag pin on your lapel or wander around your college campus with smarmy slogans on a sign?

    This isn’t about “saying what you believe”. This is about people doing the right thing when nobody else will.

    Further, your comment that the whaling is “legal there” is entirely ignorant. Educate yourself before making such comments. The area the whaling is occurring in is a god damned WHALE SANCTUARY. The only exception is for scientific research purposes. How god damned stupid and naive are you if you think they’re really killing 1,000 whales every single year in a whale sanctuary for “scientific” purposes?

    Some times you have to get off your ass and stand up for what is right, even if it means putting your life on the line. I think these people are a little bit nuts, but I have FAR MORE RESPECT for them than anyone who just sits on their ass and whines about things.

  • no

    The people on the show are mostly amateurs. I’m sure it’d be great to somehow afford to fund a highly professional and experienced sea crew and a bunch of mercenaries to protect everyone, but until they somehow luck into such ridiculous funding to allow that, they’ll have to make due with weekend-warriors putting a few months down of their own personal time at their own personal expense, doing the best they can.

    Yes, it often seems like a bunch of keystone cops screwing up left and right and occasionally lucking into something effective, but at least they’re DOING SOMETHING.

    It’s much easier to sit around raising money, hanging banners, chanting slogans, and crying on television for sympathy of a cause than ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING about anything. These people have my utmost respect. I wish more people would get off their asses and DO something about things they care about and that promote the progression of society.

    Imagine if America’s founding fathers never got off their asses and just sat back at home across the pond singing ditties and wearing ribbons to protest inequities? Yes, nothing scares people into doing the right thing than chants and ribbons and bumper stickers… ooooh!

    It’s clear that the people who post against this sort of thing and slander Watson and his crew fall into one of four categories:

    * Part of the whaling industry.
    * Right-wing tard who calls EVERYTHING eco-terrorists or femi-nazis because Rish Limbaugh and Glenn Beck tell them to.
    * Uneducated ignorant house-fraus and mouth-breathers.
    * Green-Peacers and other scammers who care more about showing the world how they care more about stuff than anyone else, while raising money to continue their foundation to afford them to go around showing people how much more they care again and never actually get around to DOING ANYTHING HELPFUL with their time, effort, organization, or money.

    Paul Watson and his crews have stones and it pisses people off who just want everyone to wave pretty little flags and sing environmental chants and then go home.

  • hjc

    I will say I’m not real fond of this Paul guy, buy but he is out there doing something and if the figures are correct and the whaling fleets did come about 300 whales under their quota then may be in some crazy way he is saving whale lives.
    Also, I’ve heard people say that others shouldn’t waste their time on environmental causes b/c there are so many more important things. That’s crap, I can care and donate to the nature causes and still give time and money to the sick, and less fortunate. Yeah, let’s jack up the planet for future generations. That’s really good for humanity. Bunch of fools!!!

  • hjc

    You can actually e-mail the icr (the bastards killing whales under the obnoxious “research” cover) the web sight is I saw the adress on the ship when they were pulling up a murdered whale. Their e-mail adress is It’s given right on the web sight, it’s to the left side just click on comments.

  • Thor

    Why is it wrong to hunt whale’s and “right” to fish for salmon? Or any other living thing for food. Whales are not being hunted if they are endangered. And the fleets have a quota from scientific maritime institutes of the countries involved.