Reports that, for the third consecutive year, Japanese whalers operating off the coast of Antarctica appear to have deliberately targeted pregnant females and juveniles highlight the need to do more to stop this barbaric practice.
They also make a mockery of Japan's oft repeated claims its annual whale kill is conducted for scientific purposes, not just to put a luxury meat onto the tables of the country's wealthy elites.
Japan's five ship strong whaling fleet returned to its home port in Shimonoseki at the end of March after a four-month expedition that took 333 minke whales.
The expedition's report to the International Whaling Commission, filed late last week, stated 122 of the whales killed were pregnant females. Dozens more were juveniles that had not reached sexual maturity; children and adolescents in other words.
Japan's Fisheries Agency, which defended the hunt citing the usual "scientific research" line, denied pregnant females were being deliberately targeted.
"We catch whales totally at random," Yuki Morita, the official in charge of whaling, said. "The IWC scientific committee recognises the number of whales we hunt is at the level that is necessary for research, but not above the level that would hurt the conservation of the stock ... the high ratio of pregnant females is noteworthy ... this shows there are many mature females, suggesting we can expect growth in resources stock".
What Mr Morita, the Japanese government and the Japanese whale meat eating fraternity need to appreciate as a matter of urgency is that they are about the only people on the globe who regard the whale population as "stock".
To most of us these are some of the most magnificent, evocative and awe inspiring creatures that have ever lived. We are fortunate, after having nearly hunted them to extinction during the 19th and 20th centuries, to be able to still share the planet with them.
They are not a natural resource to be illicity harvested under what a "scientific research program" dreamt up to get around the IWC's long standing ban on whaling.
To suggest this year's bloodbath was scientifically significant is absurd given its results almost exactly mirrored those of the hunt carried out from December 2015 to March 2016.
Of the 333 minke whales slaughtered during that expedition, an estimated 200 were pregnant; many with twins.
Did another 455 whales and unborn calves have to die this season to confirm what was already a well-documented trend? This isn't science; it is butchery.
The only upside is that as a result of Australia taking Japan to the International Court of Justice in 2010, the Japanese have been forced to slash their Antarctic whale kill from 850 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales to the current cap of 333.
Australia, which has declared an Australian Whale Sanctuary extending to parts of the Antarctic, successfully argued the previous high volume program breached the IWC rules.
There are well-justified fears that if the matter is pressed further the Japanese could challenge the legitimacy of the Australian Whale Sanctuary. If that were to occur the consequences for the whale population could prove disastrous.
While more obviously needs to be done, this issue is more challenging and nuanced than it appears.