Despite heavy criticism, Japanese fishing vessels set out to sea on Monday to continue their notoriously controversial “research whaling” taking place in the Antarctic Ocean.
According to the Fisheries Agency, the fleet plans to capture over 300 minke whales between now and March, in what is to be the nations fourth stunt since a temporary research ban was lifted in 2015.
While commercial whaling has been banned for nearly 30 years, Japan is able operate through a loophole which allows them to continue hunting whales for ‘scientific purposes’.
The research exception that Japan exploits allows them to effectively catch and slaughter between 200 – 1200 whales every single year. That figure includes young and pregnant animals.
Earlier this year, the IWC voted down Japan’s proposal to lift the 30 year commercial ban during a five-day meeting in Brazil.
Many agree that whaling is cruel and unnecessary and needs to come to an end. While demand for whale product and byproduct continues to fall, countries such as Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to kill around 1,500 whales each year. There is no humane way to kill a whale at sea and many die a slow and painful death.
Whaling has an absolutely devastating impact on the whale communities left behind as they are extremely intelligent and highly social animals. Additionally, it is suggested that whales play a critical role in curbing the effects of climate change, so killing whales is bad news for us too!
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