Japan’s whaling fleet is now retreating from the Antarctic waters after a four-month stay in the area. The fleet is confirmed to have slaughtered 333 minke whales just as it had promised to, with the reasoning behind the unnecessary killings being dubbed “scientific research.”
Japan claims that the research had to do with getting to better understand the population of minke whales in these regions, although the unnecessary killing of the animals is understandably why the practice is frowned upon.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has banned whaling across the globe, but Japan continues to defy these rules under the grounds that its whaling actions are being carried out for scientific research, and not for commercial gain. Scientific research is the only workaround for this rule.
Among the 333 minke whales that were killed during the “scientific research” were about 230 females and the rest male, as CNN reports. Even more striking was that 90% of those females were reported to be pregnant with baby whales.
Japan’s true intent for killing these whales remains to be seen, but it’s obvious that this loophole in the rules is being taken advantage of. Other nations around the world manage to conduct scientific research on sea animals without slaughtering them by simply using other techniques.
Although minke whales are some of the most common in the world’s oceans, other species of whales are currently endangered because of whaling efforts in the past. It’s a long-standing concern of wildlife organizations that this “scientific research” could further bring down whale populations in our planet’s waters.
The IWC will have to take further measures to make sure whaling, even if for legitimate purposes, is expunged from our oceanic activities.