May 29, 2018 – Humane Society International has today expressed its outrage that 122 pregnant female whales were killed this year in the Southern Ocean as part of Japan’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling program ‘NEWREP-A’. This information was contained in newly published meeting papers from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee meeting held in Slovenia in May.

The results show that of the 333 Antarctic minke whales killed this year, 181 were females. 122 or 67% of these females were pregnant and 53 or 29% were immature animals.

“The killing of 122 pregnant whales is a shocking statistic and sad indictment on the cruelty of Japan’s whale hunt. 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,” said Alexia Wellbelove, Senior Program Manager at Humane Society International.

Despite condemnation by the international community and the International Court of Justice, the highest court on the planet, which ruled in 2014 that Japan’s ‘JARPA II’ Antarctic whaling program was illegal and must stop, Japan re-badged its whaling program and sent its whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean for its annual whale hunt in 2015. In a blatant attempt to protect itself from further legal challenge, Japan has withdrawn its recognition of the International Court of Justice as an arbiter of disputes over whales.

“Whales are already facing substantial threats including bycatch in fisheries and marine pollution. Significant conservation efforts are underway worldwide to address these issues, so the least Japan could do is put away the harpoons.

“The continued killing of any whales is abhorrent to modern society, but these new figures make it even more shocking. We look forward to Australia and other pro-conservation countries sending the strongest possible message to Japan that it should stop its lethal whaling programs,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.

The next meeting of the International Whaling Commission is in September in Brazil.