Japanese Whalers Murdered 122 Pregnant Whales and 114 Babies Last Summer

Despite global condemnation, the Japanese whaling group submitted a subsequent report outlining 'The importance of scientific research in the Antarctic ocean' through its whaling activities and agreed to "limit" it's annual catch to 333 minke whales.

Japan says it follows Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling that rules countries can "kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research". This year's 12-week expedition, in which whales were killed using harpoons fitted with explosives, has also been particularly criticized for the number of pregnant females that were killed.

According to the International Whaling Commission report (pdf), 122 of whales that were pregnant died at the hands of Japanese research vessels.

"Apparent pregnancy rate of sampled animals was high", the Japanese whalers stated in a new report to IWC's scientific committee meeting in Slovenia this month.

"It is further demonstration, if needed, of the truly gruesome and unnecessary nature of whaling operations, especially when non-lethal surveys have been shown to be sufficient for scientific needs", Alexia Wellbelove, Senior Program Manager at Humane Society International, said in a statement. Tokyo also insists that hunting whales is an important part of the nation's traditions and culture. By carrying out its hunts in the name of science, Japan is able to exploit a loophole in worldwide regulations that allow certain quotas of whales to be killed for research.

"The whales often get used for pet food". Japan then withdrew its recognition of the court as an arbiter of whaling disputes, and continued hunting in 2015.

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But Japan resumed whaling in the region two years later under a revamped whaling plan, that included reducing its catch quota to about a third.

As Sputnik previously reported, though commercial whaling has been banned by the IWC since 1986, Japan has been able to use a scientific research loophole as a means to continue killing the large cetaceans.

But consumption has declined significantly in recent decades, with much of the population saying they rarely or never eat whale meat.

Wellbelove called on Australia and other anti-whaling countries to send "the strongest possible message to Japan that it should stop its lethal whaling programs".

Hansen is not, however, convinced that sufficient global pressure will be brought to bear on the Japanese government over its whaling program.

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