The Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which is a Japanese institute, just released a statement on Thursday that announced that they had just returned from killing 333 minke whales in Antarctica for “scientific research.”
Japan has a long and complicated history with whales, as they have historically and cruelly hunted these whales for purposes of consumption, but with a United Nations ban on their whaling, it was assumed that this mass hunting would stop. However, because of a few loopholes in the legally-binding ban on Japan’s whaling efforts, the nation is still able to continue killing whales for “research.”
In this last expedition, the ICR wound up killing 333 whales since December 2015, with 103 of them being males and 230 of them being females, of which an estimated 90.5% of them were pregnant.
The so-called research that the Institute was conducting involved an analysis of the krill population and information on the marine environment these creatures live in. However, why they would need to kill so many whales for this purpose, or why they needed to kill any at all, has others questioning the ICR’s true intentions.
As Darren Kindleysides, director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, puts it, “We can collect all the information we need from whales using non-lethal means and the ICJ said Japan needs to look at those non-lethal means.”
Of course, the Japanese might be interested in non-lethal means of researching the whales if their stated purpose for researching was actually what they were looking into. Since Japan has relied so heavily on whale meat in the past to feed its population, many speculate that their real reason for killing so many whales is to prove that the minke population could sustain itself if Japan were able to continue with commercial hunting for food purposes.
Essentially, if this is what Japan is really doing, as many believe they are, they are killing hundreds of whales each year simply to prove that they can.
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