Test-tube Baby Whales? Cow-Whale Hybrids?
Test-tube whale babies? Cow-Whale hybrids? These are just two of the many bizarre research paper subjects published by Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research over the past 18 years in respected scientific journals including "Nature". The revelations by Dr. Nick Gales, head of Australia's scientific delegation to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) are timed to coincide with this week's IWC meeting in London, England.
According to Gales, the research involves "really bizarre and very strange experiments with sheep and pigs and eggs. It's totally esoteric, very strange research." Gales added that 43 papers released over 18 years was "an incredibly low publication rate" and that very few of the papers provided useful insights on whale mortality rates - ostensibly the raison d'être of Japan's hotly disputed annual whaling program.
Australia's Environment Minister is Peter Garrett, former lead singer of the popular rock band Midnight Oil. A long-time activist for environmental causes, Garrett pulled no punches when commenting on the published research papers, saying "I challenge anyone to look at this sort of research and say it's necessary, to say it requires killing over 7000 whales. This is why we say what is happening is not science, it's not necessary - it's commercial whaling."
Now some of you may ask, "what does this article have to do with invention, innovation or the advancement of science?" My point is that science should never be used as a cover for unscientific activities. Doing so does a vast disservice to science.
Many of those on the anti-whaling side of the issue have accused Japan of flat-out commercial whaling while dismissing Japan's stated aim of "scientific whaling" as false and misleading. The new revelations effectively confirm these accusations while exposing Japan, the pro-whaling lobby, and even science itself to scorn and derision. Memo to Japanese government: "Guys, it's not worth it. Time to do the right thing." (via news.com.au)
J A P A N O R A M A