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A Southern Resident killer whale leaps into the air. The Southern Residents are an endangered population of fish-eating killer whales. Credit: NOAA

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Australia questions the science behind Japan’s whaling

Australian officials have questioned the scientific basis behind Japan’s Antarctic whale hunts on the opening two days of the public hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

The Australian government has taken Japan to the court in a bid to expose the true nature Japanese ‘scientific’ research programme under which it kills large numbers of whales.

During the first few days of the hearing, Australian representatives outlined how useless Japanese whaling is in scientific terms, stating that the ‘research’ programme only makes use of a small part of the whale, whilst the rest is turned into edible products and a third discarded – thus confirming that these hunts are effectively commercial whaling in disguise and just an excuse for Japanese whalers to get around the current international ban on such hunts.

In reference to the scientific merits of the slaughter, the Australian legal team pointed out that Japan has never explained why it needs to kill thousands of minke whales undermining the claim that its in the name of research. Australian scientific experts at the trial told the court that the only thing the Japanese so called research has offered following the killing of more than 7’000 whales is that ‘Antarctic minke whales eat a whole lot of krill’! This, they explained, is something we can learn in biology class at school.

Australia also criticized Japan for consistently failing to acknowledge the danger of these hunts to whale populations, and will continue to lay out its case against Japan’s whaling in the Antarctic this week.

You can follow the trial on our blog.

Watch proceedings from day – Part 1 and Part 2.