In 1982, the IWC implemented a global moratorium on commercial whaling, although countries like Norway and Iceland have disregarded the law and continued to hunt whales. Japan has also carried on with its whale hunts, although it claims to kill them for “scientific research purposes.”
Yet animal welfare advocates doubt that claim — they believe Japan has always killed whales for commercial purposes, and continues to do so now.
“At HSI [Humane Society International] we deplore Japan's ongoing and relentless killing of whales for profit,” Mark Simmonds, senior marine scientist at HSI, told The Dodo. “This cruelty continues despite a global ban on commercial whaling agreed [to] in 1982 and still in force. Japan's claims that its takes are for scientific research provide a thin camouflage for a large-scale commercial activity that continues annually in the North Pacific as well as in the Southern Ocean. The latest news of [a] large number of pregnant females being killed only deepens our concerns.”