Environmentalists call for Boycott of South African wine

  • Thursday 25 June 2009

A US-based conservation organisation has called for a Boycott of South African wine, following the shooting of over 40 beached whales near Cape Town.

Paul Watson, head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Captain of its eponymous 'eco-warrior' ship, has posted a demand on the Society's website exhorting the global public not to buy wine from South Africa.

He further demands that winemakers step in and force the departure of Mike Meyer, director of South Africa's Marine Coastal Management (MCM), who reportedly authorised the shooting.

South African wine producers have expressed outrage at the ban and questioned what it has to do with the shooting.

'I suppose it shows we are one of the most visible South African exports,' said winemaker Ross Sleet of Kleine Zalze winery in Stellenbosch.

'Touch wood it hasn't hurt sales; conservation is a priority for us.'

He added it was a warning to the industry that it could be at risk from unrelated events.

South African wine writer Michael Fridjhon called Watson's remarks outrageous.

MCM said its rationale for shooting the whales was that efforts to return the whales to the sea were unsuccessful.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, based in Friday Harbor, Washington, has made it a mission to stop illegal whaling off the southern coast of Antarctica, and is best known for targeting Japanese whalers.

Watson, whom critics have likened to a terrorist, features prominently on the Animal Planet television series Whale Wars.

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