Ocean off Antarctica, February 7, 2008
A minke whale and possibly its calf are dragged up a ramp of the Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru No. 2
in the oceans surrounding Antarctica.
The Australian government released the "distressing" photos Thursdaytaken by an Australian custom ship that has shadowed the Japanese ship for a month
to build up opposition to whaling, Environment Minister Peter Garrett told the Associated Press.
Japan kills a thousand whales each year under a loophole in an international law that allows whales to be taken for scientific purposes.
(Watch a video of Japanese hunting humpback whales
"It is explicitly clear from these images that this is the indiscriminate killing of whales, where you have a whale and its calf killed in this way," Garrett told reporters in Sydney.
However, the head of the Japanese Fishing Agency's whaling section, Hideki Moronuki, told the AP that the photo did not depict a parent and a calf.
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Photograph by Australian Customs/Handout/Reuters