Dr Evil's guide to whaling 'research'Everybody knows that Japan's so called whaling for 'scientific research' is a furphy. I'm still trying to find a copy of the report - it would make for interesting reading.
Exclusive By Saffron Howden
March 08, 2008 12:00am
AN official scientific review of Japan's bizarre experiments with test-tube minke babies and attempts at cross-breeding cows with whales has exploded the claim whale slaughter is "research".
Scientists have analysed the 43 research papers produced by Japan after 18 years of killing whales and concluded they are useless, strange and esoteric.
Some of the experiments involved injecting dead minke sperm into cow eggs, others attempt to produce test-tube whale babies and thawing frozen whale sperm to see if it remained fertile.
Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research also injected cow and pig egg cells with minke cells as part of its whaling program.
Australian delegates to this weekend's London meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will argue the "scientific research" loophole in the world-wide ban on commercial whaling that allows Japan to hunt the sea giants should be closed.
The head of Australia's scientific delegation to the IWC, Dr Nick Gales, said the research not only lacks credibility - it is downright strange.
"(The research involves) really bizarre and very strange experiments with sheep and pigs and eggs. It's totally esoteric, very strange research," he said from London.
Dr Gales also said the number of papers the lethal "research" produced - a mere 43 over 18 years - was incredibly small for a government-funded organisation.
"It was an incredibly low publication rate," he said.
More than half of the papers were dedicated to establishing whale mortality rates, but failed to do so.
"The amount of variability on these estimates means that the mortality rate remains unknown," Dr Gales said.
The findings of Australia's review show research objectives for the second phase of Japan's scientific whaling program, known as JARPA II, were unachievable, he said.
"They haven't changed any of the methodologies, Dr Gales said.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the scrutiny of Japan's research proved its whale hunt was about money.
"I challenge anyone to look at this sort of research and say it's necessary, to say it requires killing over 7000 whales," he said.
"This is why we say what is happening is not science, it's not necessary - it's commercial whaling."
This will form part of Australia's argument at the main IWC meeting in Chile later this year that killing whales is not generating any useful science.
Japan has slaughtered more than 7000 whales over the life of 18-year "research" program.
Today was a pretty cool day. I attended a football game in Canberra in which my team played (see earlier post).