Peter Jay Brown, filmmaker of “Eco-Terrorist: The Battle For Our Planet”

by | Oct 23, 2019

Peter Jay Brown—filmmaker and crew member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for upwards of 40 years, whose new documentary is “Eco-Terrorist: The Battle For Our Planet”—recounts the beginning of the affiliation, being sent to cover Sea Shepherd and its founder, Paul Watson, as a producer-director with the early-80s George Schlatter-produced reality series, “Real People.” Brown says he was so taken with Sea Shepherd, and its mission, that he signed on, joining them. He describes the circumstances and conditions in the earliest days, where neither Sea Shepherd or Watson had any money to speak of—so they were impervious to lawsuits, while conducting campaigns in ships that were decaying rust buckets, amidst limited resources and, often, barely passable food. But, Brown emphasizes, the crew members (unpaid, in those days) proceeded undeterred, driven by a strong commitment to the cause, and even stronger passion to make a difference and affect change. Brown makes clear, in the film and in the interview, that everything changed with the financial windfall attendant to “Whale Wars,” the Animal Planet reality series that ran for seven seasons, documenting Sea Shepherd’s efforts to stop Japanese whalers off the coast of Antarctica. When the organization’s ship came in, as it were, as a product of “Whale Wars,” Brown suggests it was something of a mixed bag: Sea Shepherd was able to afford better ships and equipment, and salaries, and so on, but encounters with Japanese whalers in the very site of the television series led to major confrontations—including the Shonan Maru #2 ramming and damaging a Sea Shepherd vessel, the Ady Gill, captained by Sea Shepherd’s Pete Bethune, who in response, boarded a Japanese ship, setting of a string of legal troubles for Bethune, Watson, and Sea Shepherd. Brown suggests the settling of the accompanying legal disputes, including internationally with the Japanese, and between Bethune and Sea Shepherd—and the presence of lawyers everywhere, when they originally weren’t even allowed on the Sea Shepherd board of directors. The organization stopped holding an attraction for Brown, who left last year, and—joined by a few other original Sea Shepherd-ers, has launched GAIA Network, an all-volunteer group working on helping orcas and other campaigns. (,

ALSO: In lieu of the short interview we often conduct in this portion of the show, I noted that this is the time of year when many local animal rescue or welfare organizations hold major events, often outdoors, and ran down a half dozen or so of ones slated to happen in the coming days and weeks, including:

Howl-O-Ween, Oct. 26, 5-9pm, The Dog Bar, presented by Pet Pal Animal Shelter (

Spooktacular Night, Oct. 26, 5-9pm, 11780 N. Dale Mabry, presented by Humane Society of Tampa Bay (

Stride For Strays, Oct. 27, 8am-2pm, Al Lopez Park, presented by Animal Coalition of Tampa (

Free Shot Clinic For Dogs, Nov. 2, 9am-noon (first 1000 dogs), Wimauma Civic Center, presented by Humane Society of Tampa Bay (

Wildcat Walkabout, Nov. 2, 11am-3pm Big Cat Rescue, 12802 East Street, Tampa (

Tampa Bay Veg Fest, Nov. 9, 10am-5pm, Perry Harvey Sr. Park, presented by Florida Voices For Animals (

Annual ThanksVegan Feast, Nov. 28, 1:30-5:30pm, Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa, presented by Florida Voices For Animals (

KittyCon Tampa Bay, Nov. 30 (11am-6pm), Dec. 1 (11am-5pm), Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore, presented by St. Francis Animal Rescue (


COMEDY CORNER: Jim Gaffigan’s “Whales” (portion) (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: All-Time TV Hits’ “The Green Hornet”


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