Australia has launched legal action to stop Japan killing hundreds of whales a year in the name of science.

The Aussie government wants to take Japan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking to stop the exploitation of a loophole in a 1986 global moratorium which allows whaling for research purposes.

Between the 1987 and 2005, Japan killed 6,800 minke whales for research in the Antarctic alone.

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the move underlines the Australian government’s “commitment to bring to an end Japan’s program of so-called scientific whaling”.

However Japan’s Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu has retaliated that “scientific whaling is recognized”.

Greenpeace, who campaign against whale hunting, have backed Australia’s move, claiming that: “The Japanese have seized on that loophole and stretched it beyond all recognition.”

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