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University Taking Cash From Whaling Criticised
By Matt J. Weiss, March 3, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: education.guardian.co.uk
St Andrews University was criticised last night for accepting funds for whale research from the Japanese agency which directs the country's annual whale hunt.
The Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research is regarded internationally as a scientific fig leaf for the country's commercial whaling ambitions. Conservationists say that by taking money from ICR, scientists at St Andrews help to legitimise its activities. The university argues that the research was undertaken to improve scientific understanding of Antarctic whale populations.

The university's Research Unit for Wildlife Population Assessment received £31,900 in 2002 and £5,000 in 2005 from the ICR. The work did not involve data from animals killed by Japanese vessels, the university has no current involvement with ICR and the project was commissioned by the International Whaling Commission, which regulates hunting.

"It is vital to understand whale abundance in the Southern Ocean to ensure that decisions about conservation may be taken on the basis of the most accurate possible assessment of population data," said Professor Alan Miller, vice-principal for research at St Andrews. "The University of St Andrews abhors the practice of whaling under scientific permit, as it does not believe that there is a scientific case for the continued take of whales. We have a strong track record of producing research which consistently undermines the case for whaling." According to the IWC, the Japanese caught 1,078 minke whales, 50 brydes whales, 5 sperm whales, 100 sei whales and 10 fin whales in 2005/06. It says these catches are necessary for scientific research. It has previously announced extending the catch this season to include 50 fin and 50 humpback whales.

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