Australia: Japan whale research 'bizarre'

March 8, 2008

Australian scientists say that Japanese research on whales, the justification for its whaling program, has produced few results and is often "strange."

At this weekend's International Whaling Commission in London, the Australian delegation plans to argue for the end of a loophole that allows taking whales for scientific research, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reported.

Nick Gales, the head of the Australian scientific delegation, said that a review of Japanese research found that scientists have published only 43 papers in 18 years, which he called "an incredibly low publication rate." Papers on whale mortality contained such wide margins of error that they were useless, he added.

Japanese scientists have also performed what Gales called "really bizarre" experiments like injecting Minke whale sperm into cow eggs.

"It's totally esoteric and very strange research," he said.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the review shows Japan's real motive for its whaling is commercial.

"I challenge anyone to look at this sort of research and say it's necessary, to say it requires killing more than 7,000 whales," he said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Whale sharks in Gulf of Mexico swim near the surface, take deep dives

Related Stories

Climate is changing fast in West Antarctica

November 23, 2015

When the ship pulls up at Palmer Station each Antarctic spring, the arriving scientists glance up at the massive glacier that covers most of Anvers Island. It has been retreating about 7 meters per year, and this year is ...

Size matters when it comes to sperm dominance

November 18, 2015

A tiny fruit fly has the bizarre distinction of possessing the longest sperm of any animal—20 times the length of its own body and 1,000 times that of human sperm.

The mighty dinosaurs were bugged by other critters

November 17, 2015

Dinosaurs were the dominant group of terrestrial vertebrate animals for more than a hundred million years. Some of them grew to gargantuan sizes but even these mighty creatures would have fallen prey to parasites.

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.