Following a four-month excursion in the Antarctic, a Japanese whaling fleet returned home on Friday after capturing and killing 333 whales.
According to the Fisheries Agency, the fleet of five ships completed its southward journey with few obstacles.
Though anti-whaling activists have been heavily safeguarding the massive mammals in recent years, it is believed the recent excursion was met with little resistance.
Claiming “ecological research,” the Japanese cite a loophole in the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling, allowing the killing of whales for scientific purposes. Japanese whaling detractors say that the fleet’s labeling the hunt as research is merely a cover for the mainstream killing of whales, given the evidence that the whales are eventually sold for food.
In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Antarctic target of Japanese whalers didn’t reach scientific levels of legitimacy. In an effort to appease the court, Japan rolled back its typical number of whale killings in 2016.
Japan also claims its research helps scientists identify the age, nutritional habits, and reproductive effectiveness of whales. However, advocates of the popular sea creature believe such research can be performed in a non-lethal manner.
At the fleet’s main docking site, Shigeto Hase of the Fisheries Agency said, “It was great that we have achieved our plan. We will steadily continue our research toward a resumption of commercial whaling.”
In an attempt to maintain traditional consistency, Japan continues to pump tax dollars into the whaling industry, though the hunting of whales has continued to tail off in the modern era.
“It is an obscene cruelty in the name of science that must end,” said Kitty Block, executive vice president of the Humane Society International.
H/T: Fox News
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