Japan’s oft-criticized “scientific” whaling fleet will be extra busy this season as it aims to land up to 1,035 whales in what could be the country’s largest whale hunt in modern times. Included in the toll: up to 50 humpback whales, the first time they’ve been targeted in some 40 years. Humpback whales numbered only about 1,200 in the 1960s, but the population has since increased to about 30,000 or 40,000 due largely to the international hunting ban. Environmentalists said of the whalers, “They’re violent … terrorists. Their violence is unforgivable … We must fight against their hypocrisy and lies.” No, wait. That was actually whale-hunt mission leader Hajime Ishikawa, talking about environmentalists. Greenpeace has vowed to try to disrupt the whale hunt, as has the more militant Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The whale hunt and the hunt for the whale hunters will both be conducted in the waters around Antarctica.

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