Animal rights groups have been trying to stop Japan’s Antarctic whaling for years by trying to physically stop ships in the ocean and lobbying for lawful action. The United Nations has fulfilled their later wish. On Monday the highest court in the U.N. ruled that Japan’s whaling efforts are not “scientific,” as they claim and therefore Tokyo must immediate stop the practice.
The International Court of Justice ruled 12-4 against Japan’s whaling practices. The court stated that Japan failed to prove that their practice of harvesting over 1,000 whales every year was for scientific purposes. The Japanese had a three-week trial to prove their case and failed to make sound arguments defending the slaughter of the wales in the Antarctic Ocean.
The investigation into Japan’s whaling practices began in 2010 when Australia lodged a complaint stating that Japan was in violation of the 1986 International Whaling Commission ban on killing whales. The Japanese tried to get around the ban by calling their killing science and painting “Research” in large, white capital letters on all the ships they used to capture and kill the majestic mammals. Since the 1986 ban there have been 14,410 whales harvested for research purposes and 95 percent of those whales were killed by Japan.
Although the U.N.’s ruling is a great victory for whales and environmental groups like Greenpeace, it only prohibits Japan from whaling in the Antarctic. They have a smaller fleet of boats that hunts in the Pacific and this whaling fleet is not affected by the U.N.’s call to halt the practice.
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