The U.S. and Japan have teamed up to ask the International Whaling Commission to evaluate whether killing whales to study them produces better research findings than studying them using non-lethal means. The IWC banned whale hunting in 1986, but Japan has continued to hunt the mammals, saying that the hunts are for scientific research allowed under the ban. This year, over many international objections, Japan expanded its whale hunt. Critics contend that Japan’s research program is merely a front to provide restaurants in Tokyo with whale meat.

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