September 24, 2018

Japan Kills 122 Pregnant Whales in Southern Ocean

02 June 2018, 08:20 | Edward Lowe

Japan Kills 122 Pregnant Whales in Southern Ocean

Japan Kills 122 Pregnant Whales in Southern Ocean

As per reports, more than 120 pregnant whales have been killed in Japan in a hunt which scientists in the country described as "scientific research".

Image copyright AFP Image caption Japan makes no secret of the fact that the meat resulting from its so-called scientific whaling programme ends up on the plate Why does Japan hunt whales?

Of those whales, 181 were female and 122 of those were pregnant, while 61 immature males and 53 immature females were killed, according to meeting papers from the International Whaling Commission's scientific committee. The 2017/18 "field survey" killed the whales during a 12-week expedition, with the carcasses sold on as meat for the Japanese market. In this case, the cannons were fitted with 30g penthrite grenades. The country resumed its Southern Ocean whale hunt in 2015. Of these, 122 were reportedly pregnant when they were hunted down.

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Despite condemnation by the worldwide community and the global Court of Justice, the highest court on the planet, which ruled in 2014 that Japan's "JARPA II" Antarctic whaling program was illegal and must stop, Japan re-badged its whaling program and sent its whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean for its annual whale hunt in 2015. The whales are then hauled out of the ocean onto the boat where they are sliced apart for ostensibly research purposes.

After the ruling however, Japan announced new research program, under which it would kill up to 333 Antarctic minke whales each year. Tokyo also insists that hunting whales is an important part of the nation's traditions and culture.

Despite an global ban on the practice, Japanese whalers continue to claim that their whale hunts are for scientific purposes. Japan responded by revoking its recognition of the International Court of Justice as an arbiter of whaling disputes, according to the Maritime Executive. Elaine Lies of Reuters reported previous year that the country's government has "repeatedly said its ultimate goal is the resumption of commercial whaling".

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"Whales are already facing substantial threats including bycatch in fisheries and marine pollution", Wellbelove says in the Humane Society statement.

But activists hope that the latest figures to emerge from the IWC meeting will spur countries to put renewed pressure on Japan to stop its lethal whaling programs.

A number of groups, including Sea Shepherd, are calling on the Australian government to send a vessel to oppose whaling by Japan.

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