It turns out that whales who are young or pregnant are easier to kill, probably because they can’t swim as fast as the rest of their family attempting to outrun harpoon vessels.
This depressing discovery wasn’t included in the report that NEWREP-A, Japan’s alleged ‘scientific’ whaling program, submitted to the International Whaling Commission.
However, it becomes clear when one looks at the data. The program filled its annual quotas during the 2018 hunt that lasted from December 8 to Feb 28. A total of 333 Antarctic minke whales – 152 males and 181 females – were slaughtered. Of these, 122 individuals were pregnant and 114 were considered immature.
The World Court had previously ruled the Japan was illegally hunting whales using the “scientific” research whaling as a cover for commercial whaling. Japan stopped for one year, but proceeded to a new scientific whaling scheme. The meat from the hunts is offered on the Japan market, although so few Japanese people eat whale meat that most – tons of it – is going to storage in freezer units.
It seems clear that NEWREP-A is in violation of the quota: by 122 individuals. Why fetuses were not included in the quota remains puzzling.
While it might be tempting to place the blame on the nation of Japan for these needless deaths, it must be remembered that most Japanese people do not support whaling, or are even aware that it occurs – in much the same way that people in North America remain unaware of the suffering that takes place on factory farms.
The Japan government controls the media in Japan, so that the public only hears how important it is for Japan to conduct the slaughter for “science.” The fact that most of the research conducted by Japan is never accepted by scientific journals undercuts these arguments, but the Japanese people are kept in ignorance.
Taking the lives of young whales and those who are pregnant is a great tragedy, in the same way that stealing an infant from a mother cow is tragic. The rapid expansion of vegan products around the world, though, is cause for hope.
Photo credit Sea Shepherd.