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Japan's whaling science under the microscope

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© 2015 AFP

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Considering they have almost hunted the Southern bluefin tuna species to extinction, despite wide knowledge of the perilous state the species is in, I don't think Japan should be allowed anywhere near whales.

27 ( +29 / -3 )

And if this ruse doesnt work I wonder what idea they will come up with next....a miracle diet pill? Cure for cancer?

13 ( +15 / -3 )

“The purpose of Japan’s research is science—science that will ensure that when commercial whaling is resumed, it will be sustainable,”

I love this! They are using a ruling from the organization that banned global commercial whaling to research the viability of commercial whaling. Commercial whaling will never be resumed. Why can't the Japanese just get used to it and stop wasting so much time and tax payer's money on such s frivolous pursuit?

19 ( +22 / -3 )

What was the actual experiment? Did he feed whale meat to rats and then watch them run through a maze a few times? Did they make any attempt to isolate this mystery 'meaningful substance'? (... let me guess, we need more samples for that.)

Can anyone find the paper? I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that it hasn't been published in a mainstream peer reviewed journal.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Oh what? Another substance that reverses the effects of aging? There seems to be a new one every couple of months if you watch cable TV in Japan. And ones for women's skin too, that usually involves the death of some creature or other. It is this changing fashion for such snake oil that discredits most products. But you know what they say, thoughts travel faster in a vacuum.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

What a load of humbug. Do they really think the public is so stupid they'll buy this?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Does anybody look at the real question - whether the extension of the moratorium is justified?

-9 ( +3 / -11 )

Good headline - contrast of huge whales and microscope

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Professor Seiji Shioda of Hoshi University in Tokyo, who did the work, refuted any suggestion it could be tainted by politics

Professor Shioda has a company, the Shioda Life Science Institute, which lists "dementia remedies" as one of its products. Thus Professor Shioda has a financial interest in claiming that balenine might mitigate the effect of dementia.

I cannot find the research published anywhere and if it is published I hope Professor Shioda's financial interests are declared, otherwise his university should investigate him for unethical conduct. Interestingly, Professor Shioda has published a paper on the negative effects of methylmercury, which is also present in whale meat.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

I believe there surely is a meaningful substance” in whales’ bodies, he said, noting they live long lives and continue to carry out complex navigation in old age.

Witchdoctors in primitive societies used to believe that eating the flesh of dead enemies (or friends) imbued the eater with the strength/wisdom/magical powers of the victim. It was mumbo jumbo then and it's mumbo jumbo now. You don't emulate an animal's properties by eating it, you emulate it by copying its lifestyle.

How many Olympic sprinters up their performance by eating cheetah meat?

tests on mice revealed consuming balenine—a substance found in whale meat—mitigated the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mice don't naturally get Alzheimer's, so any 'treatment' that 'mitigates' the effects of Alzheimer's in mice is immediately suspect.

While mice are opportunistic omnivores and will occasionally eat animal-based food, they don't eat whales. The effect of whale meat on the mouse body (or brain) is no indication of its effect on the human body or brain.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

"They think it would look like Japan’s succumbing to (environmentalists’) or Australian demands,” he said.

wat?

"Pride goeth before making a bit of sense."

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan's whaling 'research' is a joke and has always been a joke.

This is an interesting point though:

Tohoku University’s Ishii says ironically, the moratorium on commercial hunting is one of the few things that has kept whaling alive in Japan.

By around the turn of this century, the industry was no longer commercially viable. Japan “could not have extended the life of whaling without the moratorium”.

Given every Antarctic mission results in a loss, the fisheries agency actually wants to pull out, he said, but a group of pro-whaling lawmakers will not allow it.

“They think it would look like Japan’s succumbing to (environmentalists’) or Australian demands,” he said.

So, as happens so often, it is unrepresentative special-interest groups steering Japan in the wrong direction. Just let the industry die, as has already happened naturally everywhere else in the world, except Norway and Iceland.

5 ( +7 / -3 )

Not that I am saying the IWC should go down this path, but I wonder what the Japanese government would do if the IWC, in response to their proposal, said, "Fine, if its just for research, then you can resume limited whaling for research, but ALL meat from the whales killed is destroyed, other than what is used for direct research purposes, and ALL whale meat stocks in the possession of the govt., the IRC or any other related organisation must be destroyed. No meat may be stored, sold, given or in any other way transferred to anyone that would pass it along for human consumption."

Basically, challenging Japan on the whaling being just for "research". To be clear, I don't believe whaling should be permitted and certainly not around Antarctica, but would really love to see Japan's response if this was put to them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan's whaling science under the microscope

There has never been any "science" to it. Just tax-payer funded, stubborn nationalism

4 ( +5 / -2 )

Mice don't naturally get Alzheimer's, so any 'treatment' that 'mitigates' the effects of Alzheimer's in mice is immediately suspect.

You don't seem to understand how mouse models work.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Given every Antarctic mission results in a loss, the fisheries agency actually wants to pull out, he said, but a group of pro-whaling lawmakers will not allow it. They think it would look like Japan’s succumbing to (environmentalists’) or Australian demands,” he said.

Translation: We must gambare and keep this up or we lose face before the rest of the world, eventhough they think we are a bunch of backward dolts for whaling and liars by labelling our whaling for commercial purpose as scientific research. Aussie opinions be darned we must gambare and gambare even more. Our lack of transparency and lack of integrity is at stake.

Go figure. Yet Japan's pols want Australia to furnish military hardware for them.

2 ( +4 / -3 )

Basically, challenging Japan on the whaling being just for "research". To be clear, I don't believe whaling should be permitted and certainly not around Antarctica, but would really love to see Japan's response if this was put to them.

Fair point

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The fundamental problem with this research is that it is a solution in search of a problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the organization that banned global commercial whaling to research

But they didn't ban commercial whaling. They established a moratorium that included a requirement to evaluate whale species to determine if or when they had recovered enough to allow a return to commercial whaling. Those reviews that were required by the IWC to be done in the 1990's have never been done. For whatever reason Japan is at least attempting to do what the IWC claimed they were doing with the moratorium.

Not that I am saying the IWC should go down this path

The IWC can't go down that path. First because Article VIII requires the whales to be processed, and second because the IWC doesn't have the authority to put limits on research permits. To go down that path would require the IWC to rewrite Article VIII, which any member country could just object to and thus not be bound by the change.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan's whaling science under the microscope: No science found.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

geez there getting desperate, even if there BS science were true, it would be countered by the higher levels of mercury consumption if the meat was eaten more often. High levels of mercury in whale meat and the damage it causes to the human body is real science and has been proven by real scientists

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You don't seem to understand how mouse models work.

Of course I do.

You genetically engineer a mouse to develop an illness or condition it wouldn't normally develop, then you give it massive amounts of whatever it is you hope will cure the condition the mouse wouldn't normally have in the first place.

If the mouse gets better, you take it as 'proof' of the efficacy of whatever it is you're trying to sell, and start putting together a marketing plan

If the mouse doesn't get better, you shrug your shoulders and say that well, mice aren't men and it still might work in people even if it doesn't work in mice, and start putting together a marketing plan.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Of course I do.

So in short you really don't.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

whale meat is so tasty if japan stops selling it i will buy it from korea or norway or iceland .did you know that korea kills hundreds of whales every year and process the meat in a dedicated factory with a cannery.slick quiet operation run under the loophole of by catch.nets in the china sea check it out.at least japan harpoon them. korea drowns them to death. i wonder which method produces the better quality meat?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The word "science" in the headline should be in quotes. It's been a huge scam from the beginning.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No argument there

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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