The Japanese government has continued their charade of conducting "scientific" studies in Antarctic waters that involve the indiscriminate culling of whales. The Japanese industrial whaling fleet departed this year in an effort to kill over 1,000 whales while in the Southern Ocean, including 50 endangered fin whales, 50 threatened humpback whales and 935 minke whales. Much of the information on this hunt has come from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza but now the Australian Government has been engaged in both monitoring and reporting on the lawless activities of the Japanese.
The Hunt for Humpback whales is the first since a ban in the 1960's. The Japanese have sent four whaling ships (239 men) from the southern port of Shimonoseki, Japan in November which will hunt until mid April.
Despite diplomatic and economic efforts by the Japanese government to stack the International Whaling Commission with countries that have no interest in whaling or conservation they have not been able to overturn the ban on their activities.
The US, UK, Australia and the UK have repeated stressed that the kind of research the Japanese are allegedly performing can just as effectively done thorough non-lethal means.
The Australian Government has released evidence challenging Japan's claims that its hunt is the most efficient and humane possible. The images show "scientific research" that needed multiple rifle shots to finish off the mammal.
The Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, said there would be a diplomatic push to end what he said was the charade of scientific whaling, starting at an intersessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission next month.
As the customs ship Oceanic Viking's mission to gather evidence against whaling is extended in the Antarctic, the Government is being urged to fulfil its threat to take legal action against Japan.
A sequence of images taken by customs officers was released yesterday showing harpooned minkes, including two hauled up the stern ramp of the factory ship, Nisshin Maru.
Media claims that they showed a mother and calf were denied by the Institute of Cetacean Research, which said they were randomly taken sizes. "Both whales were female, and both were not lactating," it said.
But the images also showed a whale struggling on the end of a harpoon line under the bow of the catcher boat Yushin Maru, and then the same animal lifeless.
Its head clearly showed entry wounds in a hunt where a high powered rifle is used to finish minkes that are still alive after being hit by an explosive-tipped harpoon.
"This disputes any notion that whales die instantly, and without suffering," said Darren Kindleysides, campaigns manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfar
Sidney Morning Herald
The BBC today has linked video taken from Australian vessels that document the Japanese brutality in their culling of these whales. It is quite shocking: