Whaling is frowned upon by a vast majority of the world because it’s considered a complete waste of an animal species that are loved by a large number of the population of animal lovers and conservationists.
An organization known as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is an international body set up to regulate these sorts of things. The IWC has a long-standing whaling hiatus in place to help restore whale populations and prevent whalers from killing the beloved species.
Despite the controversy, Japan has launched its whaling ships on Tuesday with the intent of catching and killing 333 minke whales over the course of the months of December through March, which the country’s officials say will be used for “research” purposes only. Japan argues that the “research” it is conducting is related to the ‘health and migration patterns’ that are attributed to minke whales.
Japan’s practices are highly controversial because it’s believed that the “research” cover story isn’t exactly inclusive of all the facts. Rather, it’s just that, a cover story, so that the country can have whale meat available in its markets. Japan has openly admitted at one time that the whale meat does end up on its citizens’ plates, but only as a by-product of said “research.”
Japan realizes the world’s frustration with the decision, although it continues to go about these methods because the IWC exempts scientific research. Whales are not intended to be slaughtered for food on the IWC’s clock.
As you can expect, the controversial actions of Japan’s whaling actions are getting the attention of other nations who believe the so-called research is unethical and inhumane. Among those is Australia:
"We do not accept in any way, shape or form the concept of killing whales for so-called 'scientific research'," Australian environment minister Greg Hunt said in a statement. "There is no need to kill whales in the name of research. Non-lethal research techniques are the most effective and efficient method of studying all cetaceans."
Further action would have to be taken by the IWC to ban whaling for scientific research if whale numbers are to stay around the numbers that they're currently at. It's already feared that the effects of whaling are impacting whale numbers despite the fact that minke whales are much more plentiful than other species of known-to-be-endangered whales.
Source: Washington Post, Greg Hunt - Minister for the Environment (Australia)