The Japanese are doing that damn “research” again. I’m of course referring to the annual Japanese whale hunt, what they euphemistically call a “biological field survey.” Japan says it’s scientifically imperative in understanding Antarctica’s ecosystem to kill whales; although they reference it politely as “collecting and analyzing animals.”

annual japanese whale hunt for research in Antarctica japan whaling


UN Condemns Japanese Whale Hunt as “Lethal Research”

The Japanese have been carrying on this charade for decades, stubbornly facing off against widespread criticism from the world community and a rebuke from the UN in 2014 that condemned this “lethal research.”

japanese whale hunt in antarctica meat gettyimages-The Japanese whaling fleet reduced the numbers of whales that they annually take, but the latest hunt still resulted in killing 333 minkes. 152 were male and 181 were female, of which 122 were pregnant. We are not quite sure what “scientific research” is carried out on the slaughtered whales. However, we do know that the whale meat quickly ends up in the supermarket. Ironically this happens as eating whale meat becomes increasingly unpopular with the Japanese public. (photo – Gettyimages)

The Japanese whale hunt is often justified as a historic component of ancient culture–certain communities in the north of the country long practiced coastal whaling. However, blowing a hole in this justification, Japan’s whaling in the Antarctic only began after World War II as reported in BBC.


Not Only Whales

The Japanese also allow the annual “harvesting” of dolphins at Taiji in Wikayama prefecture. And, again, although the government claims that the dolphin drive is also part of Japanese culture, that practice only began in 1969.

This bloody massacre was captured in the 2009 documentary the Cove that focused worldwide attention on the brutal method of killing. Denunciation of the practice followed. However the Taiji hunt continues “harvesting” about 2000 dolphins each year. The hunt was seen by many as a pretext for capturing young dolphins that were sold to dolphin attractions worldwide. With the closing of many of these “entertainments” one of the main economic motivations for the hunt has been eliminated. See: How You Can Help Empty the Tanks Worldwide.

Unfortunately, similar hunts occur around the world in communities as diverse as Samoa and the Faroe Islands where mostly pilot whales are targeted, with dolphins as side-catch see: 2017: A Bad Year for Whales

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) says that whaling is still carried out in a number of countries in addition to Japan with Norway, Iceland and Greenland leading. To find out more go to the WDC website and discover how to adopt a whale or dolphin.

By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network