We’re outraged by the news today that Japan’s whaling fleet has murdered more than 300 whales, more than half of them pregnant females, in its Antarctic hunt after a year-long suspension.   Four Japanese ships were sent to the Antarctic region Dec. 1, 2015 and returned yesterday with the slaughtered 333 minke whales.   Japan’s most recent actions are in defiance of international criticism and despite a 2014 UN legal decision that ruled so-called scientific whaling activity in the Southern Ocean was actually a front for commercial hunts.

Japan has killed whales under a loophole in the 1986 global moratorium, which unfortunately allows whale-killing under the guise of research–although the meat ends up on menus and in food markets.   Japan’s “whaling towns” sell the flesh and it ends up in restaurants and on fish markets. Whales and dolphins were once a source of fuel and food, but Japan’s consumptive habits have changed, and it’s no longer a regular part of most people’s diet.

According to an article by Reuters, Japan intends to kill nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years as part of its “research program” and has repeatedly said that its “ultimate goal is the resumption of commercial whaling.”   It’s horrifying that these commercial whale and dolphin kills, which mercilessly exploit these unique ocean mammals, are allowed to continue in this day and age. Whale-killing is not culture; it’s torture.