Minke whale drowned by hanging him upside down in Japan

A captured Minke whale is unloaded after commercial whaling, Japan, July 2019, photo: Kyodo / Reuters
A captured Minke whale is unloaded after commercial whaling, Japan, July 2019, photo: Kyodo / Reuters

Japanese fisherman drowned a minke whale by hanging him upside down by his tail, footage released by Life Investigation Agency (LIA) and Dolphin Project showed. The minke whale had been trapped in fishing nets for 19 days before fishermen brutally killed him.

LIA was monitoring the Taiji dolphin hunt when they first spotted the minke whale on the 25th of December stuck in an area surrounded by fishing nets. The fishing nets are used to trap dolphins. Taiji is the only town in Japan where this kind of dolphin hunting is still allowed.

The minke whale got lost in the maze of fishing nets and couldn’t swim out on his own. For 19 days, he endlessly tried to escape by charging the net and deep diving, but he sadly didn’t succeed. And nobody came to his rescue.

Japanese police and coast guard patrol the area and only Taiji fishing vessels can enter the nets.

When fishermen finally, after 19 long days, went to catch the whale, they didn’t set him free but decided to drown him. They tied the tired and stressed animal by his tail and hung him upside down in the water.

Whales need to come up for air, just like humans. The minke whale is seen struggling to come up but died in a horrible way, fighting for his life for 20 minutes.

Minke whales breathe air at the surface of the water through two blowholes located near the top of the head.

“Despite Japan being a whaling nation, it’s unjustifiable by anyone’s standards to make an animal suffer in such a cruel manner. The Taiji Fisheries Cooperative’s indifference to this animal’s suffering is shocking,” LIA’s campaign director Ren Yabuki said.

“Although this is potentially the first time such a killing has been filmed, it is not an isolated incident,” Dolphin Project said, “as fishermen in Japan are permitted to take whales that may happen to swim into set nets.”

Video made by Dolphin Project and Life Investigation Agency

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