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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Grinding to a stop on Sea Shepherd's Operation GrindStop and Operation Jairo : animal law advocacy, direct enforcement, and colonialism Campbell, Ellen


Direct enforcement, originally coined by Eilstrup-Sangiovanni and Phelps Bondaroff, can be defined as a subcategory of direct action that claims to enforce a law. The author examines how anti-colonialism, anti-racism, tokenism, colonialism, statism, racism, whiteness, developmentalism, and neoliberalism operated within two direct enforcement campaigns: Sea Shepherd’s Operation GrindStop and Sea Shepherd’s Operation Jairo. Drawing on scholarship, media, and her own experiences of the campaigns, she examines how Operation GrindStop and Operation Jairo contributed to and profited from racialized and civilizing narratives of donor countries (such as the United States, France, Australia, England, and Germany) through denigrating non-Euro-Americans—labelling them as uncivilized, deceptive, criminals, “barbarians,” “psychopaths,” and “thugs.” Although the long-term effects of these campaigns remain to be seen, she argues that each campaign failed to fulfill Sea Shepherd’s stated goals, negatively impacted future campaign opportunities in their respective regions, and were unsuccessful at establishing sustainable and meaningful change in either region. She contends that this ineffectiveness was compounded by the organization’s disregard of the cultural, racial, and colonial implications of their mobilization of direct enforcement and their promotion of civilizing narratives. As an alternative to the approach taken by Sea Shepherd, she identifies other enforcement and non-enforcement related projects operating in Costa Rica and the Faroe Islands, such as Marna Frida Olsen’s project, Grindaboð, and media projects such as Grindahvalur. She argues that those mobilizing direct enforcement campaigns could be more effective at protecting the lives of animals and make their ambiguous anti-colonial agenda explicit through learning from and/or working with Indigenous land defence campaigns and activists such as the Unist’ot’en Camp. She considers to what extent Sea Shepherd’s recent Operation Virus Hunter campaign, which worked alongside Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Cleansing Our Waters, may represent a shift in this anticolonial direction. Ultimately, this thesis articulates how direct enforcement has been mobilized in ineffective ways that reproduce colonial narratives; it also reserves hope and provides direction for organizations, such as Sea Shepherd, by drawing on anti-colonial activism and scholarship to demonstrate practical methods to challenge these trends.

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