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Review for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Burbank, CA, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

Whenever I consider volunteering or donating to a charity, I usually like to look at an organizations financial health and possible liabilities. And this organization is under significant financial strain because of several legal issues.

As of November 6th, 2013 this organization remains under a supreme court upheld injunction and is still in court over two lawsuits in Washington state, one of which involves an allegation of breach of contract that could be quite costly.

This organization has already settled with one of the parties that alleged improprieties over the management of the "MY Ady Gil", Pete Bethune, costing the group half a million dollars. And the owner of the vessel, Ady Gil, is currently suing for five million in damages.

Then there are the costly blunders that drained the organization's coffers, like the loss of a quarter million Euros in bail Paul Watson had paid in bail to German Authorities after his arrest and the legal costs the organization was ordered to pay back when it sued to gain charity status in Australia.

In regards to standard expenditures, over 6.1 million dollars had been spent on Operation Waltzing Matilda alone according to the group's 900 Form for Year 2010, which the organization alleged saved 528 whales due to a failure in Japan reaching their quota.

The campaign report issued on March 8, 2010 on their web site stated the operation was to save endangered whale species. But the vast majority of whales taken by Japan in the Southern Ocean Whaling Sanctuary are Antarctic Minke Whales, as stipulated by the special catch permit records issued by the IWC and this is not an endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The costs are therefore not associated to the saving of "endangered" whales, nor is it associated to acts meant to stop an illegal activity according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose February 12th, 2013 opinion clearly stated that Japan's activities conform to international law.

Having received no legal mandate to police and enforce Australian law, I believe it would be misleading for this organization to solicit funds in order to perform these acts.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

stop the misleading statements about the conservation status of the whales targeted by Japan and stop the UNCLOS and COLREGs violations conducted using their property.

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Role:  General Member of the Public