Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Australian Scientists Say Japanese Whale Killing Unnecessary for Research

Australian scientists are saying that the Japanese don't need to kill whales for research purposes.

Researchers from Southern Cross University in New South Wales said they have developed a more humane technique for collecting the scientific data.

The process involves DNA testing of the whales' skin flakes, which naturally shed when they breach the water, said Peter Harrison, an associate professor at the university.

''The skin samples can give you the genetic information of the whale, they can tell you the relationships to the other whales, who's the mother, who's the father, etc.,'' Harrison told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The Japanese whaling fleet is due to set sail for the Antarctic Ocean within weeks. Once there, the whalers plan to kill more than 1,000 minke, fin and -- for the first time -- humpback whales.

The whales, Japan says, are taken to collect their genetic information, which in turn is needed for the future management of the ocean mammal's stocks.

These methods do not allow for exact age determinations for population studies, but that breakthrough may only be a matter of time. For now, it is at least possible to humanely estimate the age of a whale from its genetic material.

Let's be honest though. In my opinion, Japanese whaling is not about research. It's about PRODUCT and PROFIT. This sentence from the article says it all.

'Japan's research makes a valuable contribution to the management of Antarctic whale species to ensure that any FUTURE COMMERCIAL WHALING REGIME is robust and sustainable TO PROVIDE A RELIABLE FOOD SOURCE for generations to come,'' {Institute of Cetacean Research Director General Minoru} Morimoto said.

Photo by jmcar.

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