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Japan to Resume Controversial Whaling Program

Many countries believe that Japan wants to kill whales not for research purposes, but for the meat and oil.

The Asahi Shimbun/Getty

Japan plans to resume whaling in the Antarctic next year even though an international whaling conference voted Thursday against the idea. According to the Associated Press, during a recent meeting in Slovenia the International Whaling Commission decided that Japan should not continue their whaling program because "it isn’t for research purposes." Many believe that Japan plans on the using the program for "commercial purposes" like producing meat and oil. Japan, however, insists that it is launching a new "research program" that will fall under the U.N.’s very strict conditions.

Japan has a history of sourcing and selling whale meat for consumption, typically in high-end restaurants. According to the New York Times, an Icelandic whaling company has killed hundreds of whales "purely to exploit a limited demand for whale meat and blubber in Japan." The whaling company has provided more than 5,000 tons of fin whale products to Japan, including 2071 tons in 2014 alone.

The Huffington Post notes that whale meat has long been a controversial topic. Whales often take around ten minutes to die: "A death so slow that it would be unacceptable even in factory farms." For this reason, many places in the world have banned whale meat, and chefs have faced prison time for offering the meat. Earlier this year, two LA chefs were convicted after they were caught serving endangered whale meat at their restaurant on three separate occasions.

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