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Australian judge issues whaling ban

January 15, 2008|From the Associated Press

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — An Australian judge today banned the company that conducts Japan's whale hunt from killing the animals in a large part of its regular hunting grounds off Antarctica.

The ruling was unlikely to bring about an immediate end to Japan's whale kill, but could strain ties between Japan and Australia if the whalers ignore the ban and Australia is compelled to try to enforce it.

Japan does not recognize Australia's declaration of the whale sanctuary in Antarctic waters, and has said previously it would ignore an injunction if one was granted.

The Humane Society International sought an injunction in Australia's Federal Court against Japanese company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. to stop it from whaling inside Australia's exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from Australian-declared territory in Antarctica and in the southern Pacific.

Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha operates the ships used by Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research to conduct its annual hunts under a program the organization says is for scientific purposes but that critics say is an excuse to kill whales.

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