Japanese whale hunters have admitted butchering 120 pregnant minke whales.
In a report detailing a whaling expedition in the Southern Ocean, the slaughter of 333 minkie whales is detailed, of which 181 were females, including 122 pregnant ones.
The report on the three-month expedition which began at the end of last year was submitted by to the International Whaling Commission.
The grisly details will add to international condemnation of the Japanese whaling fleet.
Despite an international ban on the practice, Japanese whalers continue to claim that their whale hunts are for scientific purposes.
– This despite the produce of such brutal hunts – whale meat being sold openly in Japanese restaurants and markets, fetching high prices.
The international court of justice found against Japan, ordering the yearly slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean to be suspended.
But the shocking report details the bloody reality of such hunts which carry on under the auspices of science.
According to the report, “apparent pregnancy rate of sampled animals was high (95.3%).”
To justify the slaughter, the report claims “age information can be obtained only from internal earplugs and therefore only through lethal sampling methods.”
This involves harpooning and chopping up hundreds of whales in a trip.
In the controversial kills, whales are shot with grenade tipped harpoons that explode inside them.
However this only results in instant death for 50% – 80% of harpooned whales. The whales are then hauled out of the ocean onto the boat where they are sliced apart for ostensibly research purposes.
According to the report, 114 of the slaughtered whales were immature.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Japanese fleet intends to hunt an additional 4,000 whales over the next 12 years.
Japan, Norway and Iceland have whaling fleets that between them kill around 1,500 whales every year, many dying a slow, painful death.