An arrest warrant has reportedly been issued in Japan for “Heroes” star Hayden Panettiere over her dolphin-saving attempt last month in the country, but the actress appears to have no fear.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon to Access Hollywood, Hayden branded the arrest warrant “defensive.”
“Obviously this issue has generated defensive behavior on the part of both the Japanese Authorities and Fishermen,” she said in the statement. “I have grown up hearing - and adhering to - this phrase: ‘condemnation without investigation dooms one to everlasting ignorance.’
“We must unite as a world to solve our increasing international environmental crises,” her statement continued. “We can no longer hide [behind] out-dated, senseless cultural traditions and lazy, bad habits that are resulting in the annihilation of our planet’s resources and the extinction of our species.”
During a trip to Japan last month, Hayden put her life on the line trying to prevent fisherman from slaughtering a group of dolphins.
Hayden and five others paddled out on surfboards into the ocean on a pre-dawn mission to disrupt the local fishermen’s efforts to catch and kill the dolphins. However, as the group made their way towards the pod of dolphins, who appeared to be caught in the net, Hayden, a spokesperson for SaveTheWhalesAgain.org, and friends were intercepted by one of the small fishing boats.
The fishermen used the boat’s propellers to block the surfers’ way and used a long boathook to try and push them away.
The dramatic and dangerous encounter lasted for several minutes before Hayden and her group was forced to return to shore as the animals were slaughtered.
“They were so pretty. They were teddy bears in the water,” an emotional Hayden explained to Access Hollywood earlier this month. “They slowed down and started gathering in the net towards us. This little baby popped its head out and looked at us and all of us just wanted to cut them out of the nets and set them free.”
“I’d probably be in jail in Japan right now if I did,” she told Access at the time.
The actress learned of the arrest warrant news during an interview Thursday on Australia television program, “The Morning Show.”
“I [have] got some interesting news for Hayden right now,” Dave Rastovich, who was with the star during the protest said live on TV. “It’s just been issued in Japan that we are up for arrest in Japan for doing what we did [recently]. So they have issued arrest warrants saying that the six of us who went into the water during the kill were violating international commerce.”
The actress did not respond to the news verbally, but she wore a shocked expression on her face.
Takumi Fukuda, a spokesperson for the Fisheries Attache at the Embassy of Japan released a statement about Hayden’s protest to Access Hollywood.
“Generations of people in Taiji have relied on fisheries for their livelihoods, and their catches are carried out in a sustainable manner.
“The population of dolphins has been healthily maintained for many years.
“While respecting Ms. Panettierre’s personal feelings towards dolphins, I hope that your viewers will be reassured by the fact that Japan is carefully managing marine living resources for the future,” the statement read.