Japan has today revealed 227 whales will die in its new commercial hunt. A total of 150 Bryde's whales, 52 minke whales and 25 endangered sei whales will be harpooned in the hunt which begins today in the waters off Japan in defiance of the global ban on commercial whaling.
In what appears to be an attempt to minimise criticism, the Japanese Government held back this crucial information until the conclusion of the G20 meeting it hosted in Osaka this weekend.
"This is a sad day for whale protection globally as Japan awards itself a kill quota of 227 whales across three species, and in so doing begins a new and shocking era of pirate whaling. The word "research" may have been removed from the side of the factory ship, finally ending Japan's charade of harpooning whales under the guise of science, but these magnificent creatures will still be slaughtered for no legitimate reason,” said Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns for Humane Society International in Australia.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) agreed the global ban on commercial whaling in 1982, and it applies to both the high seas and countries' territorial waters.
"The moment Japan's whaling fleet sets out, it will be flouting the international agreement aimed to conserve these gentle ocean giants. In walking away from the International Whaling Commission, the Japanese Government is walking away from and defying international law,” said Ms Beynon.
Last week a letter signed by celebrities and NGOs from across the globe was sent to G20 leaders calling on them to object to Japan's whaling intentions in the strongest possible terms. The letter stated, "Commercial whaling is an inherently and exceptionally cruel practice which has no place in the 21st Century. There is no reliable way to kill a whale humanly at sea, and exploding harpoons often cause these animals to die slowly and in agony”. See the full letter here.
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