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Media Issue - Japan Cross-Breeding Cows With Whales.

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The purpose of this essay is to explain and discuss the current issue on Japanese Whaling. The article which will be used in this paper is titled as “Japan вЂ?cross-breeding cows with whalesвЂ™Ð²Ð‚Ñœ written by Saffron Howden found in the Daily Telegraph, March 8th 2008. The issue has been of wide environmental and media concern for decades. Japanese whalers kill up to 1000 whales a year using a loophole in a 1986 moratorium on whaling, which allows lethal research on giant mammals. Australian scientists have been analysing the Japanese papers throughout the years and of the 43 research papers produced by Japan after 18 years of killing whales, they concluded they are useless, strange and esoteric. This paper will look at the different arguments for and against whaling and whether it is actually necessary to kill whales to conduct the type of research Japanese scientist’s claim is necessary.

Japan claims it needs to kill whales in an effort to prove the whales populations have recovered since the ban on commercial whaling in 1986. Its bizarre experiments include attempting to cross-breed cows with whales by injecting cow and pigs eggs with dead minke sperm in an attempt to produce test tube whale calves. Others included thawing frozen whale sperm to see if it remained fertile. Scientists, who analysed the research papers produced by Japan, said the research lacked credibility and it was bizarre and strange. Japanese argue they need to kill whales as it is the only way to get accurate scientific data on the whale’s genetic makeup; such as its sex, ability to reproduce and its age. The article claims that more than half the papers were devoted to finding out whale mortality rates although they all failed to do this. Australia’s review on the Japanese research shows that the mortality rates are still unknown and that the second phase of the Japanese research was unachievable. More so how does this type of research show anything about the whale’s population?

Is it necessary to kill whales to conduct this type of research and is it even necessary? How can anyone continue to understand these whales and how they reproduce if they are continued to be killed. Surely it is better to have a live whale with an approximate age rather than a dead whale with an exact one! Australian researchers are developing a more humane alternative. They are working on getting scientific data without killing the whale. Each year when the whales migrate to Australia they shed flakes of their skin which researchers then retrieve and are able to examine their DNA. This enables them to tell the whales genetic make up. This is why activists say the Japanese type of research is not scientific and it is commercial. It will also explode Japan’s reasons for killing whales.

Activists argue that the scientific research is a cover up for selling and eating whale meat. Once the research has been done the meat is still sold. Canned or frozen whale meat can still be found in some supermarkets and there are even examples of expensive restaurants specialising



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