WARNING DISTRESSING CONTENT: The film shows a Japanese research ship chasing down and killing minke whale in areas designated for wildlife conservation
Horrific footage showing the grim realities of Japanese whaling in Australian waters has been shown for the first time after a five-year legal battle by animal rights protestors.
Conservation charity Sea Shepherd won the case against the Australian government who refused to hand over the footage despite a Freedom of Information request in 2012.
Filmed in 2008 by customs officials the graphic footage shows a Japanese research ship chasing down and killing minke whale in areas designated for wildlife conservation.
The animal is harpooned, dragged alongside the boat before being hoisted up.
According to the Asian Correspondent website the boats race after the mammals at a speed of 24knots, faster than the 17knots the whales are able to swim at.