Japanese Hunters Kill 120 Pregnant Whales, 114 Babies For 'Scientific Research'
Whale (Photo Credits: Pixabay)

Japanese researchers harpooned and killed 122 pregnant whales this summer in Antartica. In an annual hunt last summer, 333 Antartic minke whales were hunted for "scientific research" of which 114 were immature ones, according to a report released by the International Whaling Commission's scientific committee.

Despite international condemnation, Japan conducts its annual summer whale hunt. As per the data, of 181 were females of which 122 were pregnant. According to the reports, the whales were killed for acquire data on the age, size, stomach contents of minke whales in the South Ocean between Australia and Antartica. Reportedly, the killed whales were brought abroad the research vessel and cut apart on-site.

The data said, killing the whales in the way was necessary as "age information can be obtained only from internal earplugs and therefore only through lethal sampling methods." Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has slammed the Japanese whale hunt. While Japan claims that it was only for research purpose, whale flesh is allowed to be sold in markets and restaurants.

Alexia Wellbelove, the senior program manager for Humane Society International said that the killings of minke whales is a sad indictment of Japan's whale hunt. He further told The Herald, "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."

In 2014, The International Court of Justice had ruled Japan's Antarctic whaling program illegal. Japan then withdrew its recognition of the court as an arbiter of whaling disputes, and continued hunting in 2015. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Japan plans to catch an additional 4,000 whales in the next 12 years.