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Interview With Sea Shepherd’s Jane Taylor

Written by PETA | July 15, 2009
Jane Taylor

Have you been tuning in for the newest season of Whale Wars? If not, you’re missing out. This season has been a wild ride both on and off the Steve Irwin: The boat was almost destroyed by an iceberg, Paul Watson ordered the crew to stand down while whalers within arm’s reach searched for a crewmember who had fallen overboard, and there was an anthrax scare in the most recent episode.

Oh, and we can’t forget about the addition of PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Naval Woman to this year’s crew. For all of you who are just as thrilled by the addition of Jane Taylor to the Steve Irwin crew as I am, I’ll let you in on a little secret: She may be back in the future. Want to know more? Just read our interview with her below:

How did your training in the Navy prepare you for your position with Sea Shepherd?
I spent my six and a half years in the Navy as a surface warfare officer, where I was assigned to a marine transport ship in San Diego, California, and a frigate out of Seattle, Washington. On both of those vessels, I was required to be a small-boat officer, which made me very familiar with Sea Shepherd’s Delta and Gemini launching, recovery, and general small-boat operations. I’ve spent countless hours in a Navy small boat. I was also required to qualify as an officer of the watch, so I had experience with ship maneuvering (but not through ice!), navigation, rules of the road, helicopter operations, radars, radio communication, and everything else that comes along with being on the bridge of a 300- to 500-foot ship. As a bonus, I was also a helicopter control officer on the frigate, ensuring the safety of a helicopter when launching and recovering.

The difference: Sea Shepherd plays music on the bridge, we get to ride the bow in major storms, our ship’s log has drawings and colorful stamps (after three mistakes in the Navy, you have to rewrite the log) … and the Steve Irwin is vegan!

What was the most rewarding part of your post with Sea Shepherd?
I would say being able to utilize my skills in an appropriate arena—the ocean—and feeling useful. The ultimate for an animal activist is to go on campaign and be in the action and feel the wind and sea spray and life as opposed to being in an office, which, of course, is important as well.

It was wonderful. The day we found the fleet, a minke whale crossed in between us and the factory ship, Nisshin Maru, and we knew we were his or her protector. The whale could safely carry on and live another peaceful day, and to do that for at least one whale was a mission accomplished. But we knew we couldn’t stop there … whaling needs to end.

What was one of the most difficult things about fighting against whalers?
When we were out in the Southern Ocean, it was four against one. The harpoon ships are so fast and maneuverable (they could do a 180 in their own wake!) and easily did circles around us. It made it difficult to ever feel as though we had the upper hand, and we often felt a bit like a tin can. It would be amazing if we were no longer outnumbered.

Here are some stats:


Steve Irwin60 meters/196 feet885 gross register tonnage
Harpoon ships (Yushin Maru) 1025 gross register tonnage
Factory Ship (Nisshin Maru)130 meters/425feet8000 gross register tonnage

What animal rights issues are you most passionate about?
It was very difficult to decide where to focus my efforts, but I thought Sea Shepherd was the perfect place since I have skills for ship-handling, guts for action, and a heart for humanity.

Immediately, I would like to work on getting Sea Shepherd another ship to use down in Antarctica. But in addition to focusing on marine life, I will also be concentrating my efforts on ending vivisection—another arena of extreme cruelty to animals.

Whale Wars can be a pretty intense show. Have you ever had a moment where you thought you couldn’t keep going? What made you persevere?
There was never a moment when I thought I couldn’t keep going. All the action was extremely intense with lots of adrenaline going through everyone’s blood. The action became very addicting, and when we had to leave the whaling fleet, it was very, very disappointing. I was not ready to leave. We definitely need more ships out there.

Now for the question on everyone’s mind: How has being named PETA’s Sexiest Naval Woman positively affected your life?
It’s a very fun title to have, and who wouldn’t be honored to have the title of PETA’s Sexiest Naval Woman? I thought there might only be two vegetarians out there to compete with, but what a wonderful surprise to hear that there were so many! I’m looking forward to wearing my winning T-shirt and sparking some interesting conversations with animal lovers, as well as educating those who want to debate the issues.

Can we look forward to a third season of the show?
Oh, yes. There is a third season. Sea Shepherd has just merged with Earthrace, a round-the-world, record-breaking trimaran, so I suspect that the tactics next year are going to be completely different. Anything could happen when you bring a boat that looks like a spaceship down to the Southern Ocean!

Will you be on deck again?
Oh, I got so addicted to Sea Shepherd’s campaigns that I want to go on all of them! Before the merge, I met Earthrace in New Zealand and loved the boat, so I will be trying out to crew on it. With Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s new popularity, there are so many new, interesting, skilled, and keen volunteers, so I’m not sure if I will be selected, but my fingers are crossed!

Written by Shawna Flavell

Commenting is closed.
  • whale says:

    i love you jane..i’m your “the biggest fan”..u r truely doin an outstanding job out there…GOD bless u & the sea shepherd…all d best for the upcoming challenges… on behalf of all the Indians.

  • Scott says:

    With all respect to Lilly I am Jane’s biggest fan. I had the privelege to serve with her in the Navy and she truly is a remarkable woman.

  • Cyril says:

    Hey Jane now I remember where I read about you! It was a great privilege meeting you today at the animal welfare forum sorry I didn’t say bye as I had to dash off. Thank you also for volunteering your valuable time with ACRES we are greatly honored to have had you on board! God speed in all your coming endeavors hope to see again soon in Singapore.

  • lilly says:

    I deeply respect and admire Ms. Taylor as to her service to our country as a veteran and her choice to be a part of this great adventure which educates us all about the repulsive senseless and unnecessary cruelty of whaling. Ms. Taylor is an admirable example of what a young woman may accomplish. Being a daughter of a career military family and combat veteran I consider myself “Jane’s Biggest Fan”. Though I abhor the term “fan” I find no other term to express my appreciation. I do hope that Ms. Taylor will continue her efforts with the Sea Shepherd crew whom I support with all my heart! No matter what she does she is a shining example for young women who wish to intellingently educate and activate upon their passions. I am a grandmother and find Ms. Taylor as a great example for my grandchildren to aspire. As an an addendum I am American Indian and I do support some whaling for ONLY subsistence for a few Indigenous Peoples such as the Inupiat. God Speed Jane I pray you keep yourself and crew safe as you are all too valuable to lose. Though we do need you to stop this senseless slaughter we also need you and yours to survive in order to further this cause. Again Ms. Taylor THANK YOU for your service. With Respect to All Our Relations Lilly

  • Sea Shepherd Supporter says:

    I love watching Whale Wars! I am soo happy that someone is actually doing something about the Japanese whalers. I have a ship myself too not as big as the Steve Irwin though! One day I’ll join the Sea Shepherds right now I can’t afford to fly to Austraila and join. When I do I’m going to try to do everything I can to stop those whalers from whaling! Unless of course the Sea Shepherds already stop them! I hope they do! Best of luck Sea Shepherds!!!

  • Logan says:

    david the ideas of animal wellfare and animal rights are based on differant viewpoints. Rightists such as those at PeTA and Sea shepherd are hellbent on the abolishon of many things while wellfarists just want them toned down some. The most likely combo would be rightists and enviornmentalists. Even there I think its sketchy.

  • David says:

    Hey guys.. good news I hear the SSCS is working on a larger more powerful ship for this upcoming whaling season Starting this Nov or another ship. I don’t know for sure. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for the BLOG PETA. All of the animal rightswelfareprotectionenvironmental organizations out there need to spend more time working together we’d get way more done.

  • Rex's Mom says:

    I love this show! But I want the “Steve Irwin” to be able to out maneuver the Japanese ships and try to throw more stink bombs and aim for the harpoon like Captain Watson said. But the Steve Irwin was running out of fuel and they had to return to refuel. Too bad the ship couldn’t last longer. This whaling has got to end and for the Japanese to say their ship is for “research” which is written on the side of the ship is a crock of you know what!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Our cable provider does not offer Whale Wars but my cousin’s provider does so she records the shows and we watch them with the kids during family get togethers. My young niece asked a very interesting question during one show “Why does the United States let the Japanese do this?” My answer was that we are so dependent on their electronics and automobiles that the United States is afraid that if we really enforce the whaling restrictions they might put an embargo on the products they send to us. She wanted to know why we are not independent from this. I had no answer for that.