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Australia to ask world whaling body to scrutinize science behind whale hunting

Australia to ask world whaling body to scrutinize science behind whale hunting

Australia will push the International Whaling Commission next week to ensure that commercial whaling can no longer be conducted under the guise of science, the environment minister said Saturday.
Australian officials attending a March 7 meeting in London will push for the whaling commission to set "agreed priorities and criteria for research," Environment Minister Peter Garrett said, in the latest escalation in Australia's campaign to end the annual slaughter of hundreds of whales by a Japanese fleet in the Antarctic Ocean.
"We have a responsibility to continue to increase our efforts to make sure that these beautiful animals aren't killed in the name of science," Garret told reporters. "The loophole which permits the killing of whales in the name of science will stop."
The London meeting will consider the agenda for the IWC's annual conference in Santiago, Chile, in June.
Japan is pushing for an end to the IWC ban on commercial whaling that began in 1986.
Japan will host a seminar Monday on the "sustainable use of whaling" and has invited African and Asian countries that either joined the commission recently or are considering membership, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.
Japan kills hundreds of whales each year under an IWC-allowed scientific research program, which opponents decry as commercial whaling in disguise. Meat from whales killed under the program is sold.
For the year ending March 2007, Japan said it would catch about 1,460 whales from the Antarctic area, and from Pacific Ocean waters northwest of Japan, as well as coasts near the country.