The obvious benefits of whaling for research
Media Release from the Institute of Cetacean Research:
It's time to brush aside the hysteria and misconceptions and look rationally at the Japanese programme of whale research.
For 20 years now we have been carrying out this research and only last year we came up some amazing findings. As a result of capturing (we hate the emotive word slaughter that has been coined by eco-terrorist organisations such as Greenpeace) 20,000 whales since 1986 we have made a startling discovery. Whales eat fish in vast quantities!
Scientists worldwide have long suspected this but as the result of the 20 years of painstaking Japanese research, the theory was confirmed in 2006. Yes, they definitely eat fish -- or at least most of them do.
Baleen whales are actually more partial to krill, which is why humpback whales are such a spectacular sight when they can be seen rushing to the Krill Grill off the coast of Australia.
Quite why it has taken us nearly 20 years to come to this conclusion about whales' fish diet is as much a mystery to us to us as it is to everyone else.
We suspect that it could be that the whales we have previously captured were vegetarians as no fish were spotted in their stomachs. Or maybe, by some astounding coincidence, we managed to catch only whales suffering from bulimia.
Before making this momentous breakthrough regarding whales' diet, it was decided after great deliberation to avoid wasting the research programme and the seemingly needless death of 20,000 captured whales by selling the whale meat on the Tokyo market. This ensured the whales had not died in vain and, fortuitously, also brought in $500 million a year. This, of course, was a valuable addition to our research coffers.
The discovery in 2006 that whales ate fish came as a great surprise to our scientists who had previously thought that whales dined only on food discarded from whale-watching boats.
But given this stupendous finding we feel it is now necessary to extend the period of research into whales to ensure this is not an aberration.
It may be that whales eat fish only in years of even numbers; or perhaps only in years when the Commonwealth Games are held; or maybe only in years when Israel attacks Lebanon (we are watching this one particularly closely because we believe there are links been environmental groups and terrorist organisations).
We are particularly puzzled as to why, despite more than half a century of whaling, this is the first time one of our scientists has noticed fish, but on this occasion it was a little hard to miss because this particular whale had 100kg of fish in its stomach and, as I'm sure our British counterparts will be interested to know, not a single chip.
As an aside we are suggesting to our UK colleagues that they might like to set up a chip research programme to determine whether the great British chip is also in danger of extinction.
We would offer to them all the resources at our disposal and if they should came across a whale with more than 100kg of chips in its stomach, these could be sold in conjunction with our whale meat in Tokyo takeaways.
Our extensive research programme, despite being decried by many Western nations but not by the many island nations who benefit from our generous aid donations, has made several other important findings.
For instance, we have now determined that whales are invariably bigger than humans. The scientific community has long suspected this but now we have photographic evidence to back it up (note for editors: photos of Japanese fishermen being dwarfed beside harpooned whales being hauled aboard our ships are available on our website).
We have also discovered that the more whales we capture the lower the price of whale meat in Japan's sushi bars. Economists find this of particular interest and a parallel project is being set up to see if increasing the capture of more tigers will bring down the price of tiger penises as an aphrodisiac.
Finally it is important for the world to know that we are not undertaking this whale research lightly. We do so with heavy hearts but steadfast in the knowledge that what we are learning year by year will one day be of immense benefit to mankind (well, the whale-eating sector of it anyway).
And, contrary to the claims of Greenpeace and nations such as New Zealand and Australia, we are not having a whale of a time.
The Timaru Herald