A US appeals court has ordered anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd to halt their attacks on Japanese whalers.
United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit has ruled the whalers are likely to succeed with their lawsuit seeking to ban the organisation from disrupting the annual whale hunt in the waters off Antarctica.
In the ruling document, the judge says even if one believes it's barbaric in the 21st century to harvest whales for any purpose, it's clearly permitted under international law.
The judge also describes Sea Shepherd's crew as pirates, saying "when you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers... you are, without a doubt, a pirate".
But Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson says the US court is out of its jurisdiction, as United States boats are not being used and the tussle isn't in US waters.
"We're down here upholding international conservation law; we're an anti-poaching origanisation.
"The Japanese shouldn't be here, it's a whale sanctuary, and I keep asking people what it is about the word sanctuary that they don't understand?"
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