Underwatertimes.com News Service - February 17, 2006 21:44 EST

A Japanese research group has criticized British environmentalists who recently claimed whale meat was being used in Japanese pet food. Last week, Britain's Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said the use of the meat in pet food showed that Japan was having difficulty in shifting its "surplus" supplies.

However, Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research said Thursday that a "miniscule" amount of whale byproduct is used in pet foods. Officials also denied claims that the meat was unpopular, saying that "demand always exceeds supply." The ICR added that the dried pet food referred to in the WDCS campaign came from a Baird's Beaked Whale which is not one of the species regulated by the International Whaling Commission.