Conservationists chucked paintballs and rotten butter at Japanese whalers, while the whalers fired back with water canons in their latest pitched, if unconventional, naval battle in the Antarctic Ocean yesterday. No one was injured in the clash, the AP reports. Paintballs are a new weapon for the Sea Shepherd group, who say they were aiming them at a sign that read “research.”
The whalers consider Sea Shepherd dangerous and violent. They say the rotten butter, which forms butyric acid, has caused eye and facial injuries in the past, and they think the paintballs are dangerous, too. “If they hit somebody on the boats, they could easily kill them,” says a spokesman. On Monday, one of the activists jumped aboard the ship on a Jet Ski, trying to place its captain under citizen’s arrest; the whalers captured him instead. He faces trespassing charges in Japan.