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Japan slaughters more than 120 pregnant whales for 'research'

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 29 May 2018

More than 120 pregnant whales were slaughtered in the latest Japanese whale hunt in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean, new documents show, reigniting calls for Australia to step up efforts to stop the annual killing spree.

A further 114 immature whales were killed as part of the so-called “scientific” whaling program, according to meeting papers from the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee meeting this month.

Japan claims the whaling is for scientific research, yet also allows the sale of the whale flesh in markets and restaurants.

The documents show Japan claims its current scientific whaling program aims to investigate "the structure and dynamics of the Antarctic marine ecosystem”.

The office of Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has been contacted for comment.

Labor's environment spokesman Tony Burke said the government "can’t continue to turn a blind eye to this. It’s appalling".

"There is nothing scientific about harpooning a pregnant whale, chopping it up and putting it on a plate. Japan’s position on this is absurd and the Australian government must not be silent," he said.

In November footage emerged showing the brutality of a Japanese whale hunt in an Australian whale sanctuary. The federal government fought to have the footage kept secret, arguing that it would harm relations with Japan.

Before being elected the Coalition pledged to send a Customs ship to Antarctica to police the hunt, which takes place in Australian waters in contravention of international laws.

In February 2013, then opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt accused the Labor government of "turning a blind eye to whaling in our waters ... [we] should have a Customs vessel in the Southern Ocean."