Japanese hunters kill 120 pregnant minke whales during summer months

Cristina Cross
May 31, 2018

But figures show that 333 minke Antarctic whales were killed last summer alone, of which more than 120 were pregnant females.

But Local media said that whale flesh was also being sold by the bucket load in Japan's fish markets.

MORE than 120 pregnant females and 114 juveniles were among hundreds of whales slaughtered in Japan's latest hunt in the Antarctic, prompting condemnation and calls for global action.

This involved shooting the whales with grenade-tipped harpoons - a controversial killing method that results in instant death only 50 to 80 percent of the time - hauling the slain whales aboard a research vessel and cutting them apart on-site. Much of this information, the authors claim, can only be obtained through "lethal sampling methods". "The killing of 122 pregnant whales is a shocking statistic and sad indictment on the cruelty of Japan's whale hunt", a Humane Society International program manager says in a statement.

"It is further demonstration, if needed, of the truly gruesome and unnecessary nature of whaling operations, especially when non-lethal surveys have been shown to be sufficient for scientific needs", she told the Sydney Morning Herald. This potential profit motive - coupled with recent footage of Japanese vessels slaying whales in an Australian whale sanctuary - has resulted in worldwide condemnation of the country's brutal hunting practices.

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Japan established its scientific whaling program in 1987, one year after the IWC issued a moratorium on the commercial hunting of all whale species.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that Japan's JARPA II Antarctic whaling program was illegal but Japan no longer recognizes the court as an arbiter of disputes over whales, the Maritime Executive reported.

Japan cut down its catch by two-thirds under its new research plan, and has stuck to taking about 330 whales each year. The country resumed its Southern Ocean whale hunt in 2015. "Japan's position on this is absurd and the Australian government must not be silent", he said.

Wellbelove called on Australia and other anti-whaling countries to send "the strongest possible message to Japan that it should stop its lethal whaling programs".

"Whales are already facing substantial threats including bycatch in fisheries and marine pollution".

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