Japanese to resume their duplicitous “research” whaling

December 1, 2015 • 11:30 am

The Japanese have long evaded whaling regulations by pretending that their slaughter of whales is based on “research,” though the whale meat ends up being eaten (even in the U.S., where it’s found in underground sushi restaurants) and the “research” is a sham. Japan’s own quote leads to the slaughter of 935 minke, 50 fin and 50 humpback whales every season. While minke and humpback whales aren’t endangered (though some subpopulations are, and the numbers of minke whales is falling), fin whales are threatened. Further, whales (and the dolphins the Japanese slaughter annually) are sentient, intelligent creatures, and their slaughter is morally unconscionable, especially because the “research” conducted by the Japanese is bogus, not helping a bit to save the species (two of which are “species of least concern” anyway). Nor do the Japanese really need whale meat to survive: it’s merely an expensive delicacy. A reasonable view of animal suffering would dictate that this slaughter stop, as it has in all countries save Norway (which fishes only in its own waters) and Japan.

At any rate, the Washington Post reports Japan is off to the annual slaughter:

On Tuesday, Japan’s whaling fleet will set out on a three-month-long hunt for minke whales. The Japanese government argues that this hunt — which will only kill 333 whales, about a third of the average yearly haul before the country’s year-long whaling pause — is being done in the name of scientific research. But the U.N.’s International Court of Justice has already deemed the “scientific” program to be anything but.

Most of the whales won’t end up in laboratories, but on dinner plates. Japanese officials claim that the specimens will be used to study the health and migration patterns of minke whales, but some argue that these research vessels have never been anything but a way around commercial whaling bans imposed in 1986. Today, Japan is the only country that practices whaling in international waters.

As far as Japan’s scientific rationale for whaling, it’s laughable:

In its review of the new plan, a panel set up by the International Whaling Commission agreed, and asked that Japan go back to the drawing board on its whaling plans. A group of 44 scientists from 18 different countries signed a statement arguing against the scientific validity of the killings. But instead of waiting another year to resubmit, Japan will go ahead with the controversial plan — a move that is angering many conservationists.

“We do not accept in any way, shape or form the concept of killing whales for so-called ‘scientific research’,” Australian environment minister Greg Huntsaid in a statement. It was Australia that brought the ICJ case against Japan, which led to the country’s year-long whaling hiatus and this new, tamer whaling plan.

. . . “There is no need to kill whales in the name of research,” Hunt said in a statement. “Non-lethal research techniques are the most effective and efficient method of studying all cetaceans.”

Nope, there’s only one reason the Japanese kill whales, and it’s this:

Whale meat for sale in Japan (picture from Wikipedia)



h/t: Randy

81 thoughts on “Japanese to resume their duplicitous “research” whaling

  1. One of the articles I remember reading on this reported that Tokyo said the arguments against them were “sentimental” so it means nothing.

    Kind of like saying, you are all just a bunch of animal lovers so we will continue to kill whales.

    I think the U.S. could easily pressure the Japanese to stop this barbarism but when it comes to a choice between Japan and whales, the whale loses.

    1. That may be a valid counter-argument for the healthy whale populations, but not the endangered ones.

      In any event, that sort of counter-argument gives away the game for them. “We only do it for the science” is laid bare as a lie the moment they say “your rule against killing them for food is sentimental so we won’t follow it.”

      IMO the rational way to at least demonstrate lying, if not stop it, is to create an international rule against selling animal meat derived from scientific research. After all, even in the US where we kill chimps for research, we don’t sell the meat from them. Such a rule would eliminate the primary (and transparent) motivation for such “research.”

      1. I agree. I wouldn’t mind if they kill some number of non-endangered whales for food rather than “research” (though we know that non-endangered wild species can become endangered almost overnight).
        I wouldn’t be happy if Hindus press me to abandon beef because of their attitude to cows, so I wouldn’t demand of Japanese to abandon whale meat because of my attitude to whales.

  2. Look at those numerals on the packages. This is an example of what the Arabs could do before islam came along. I’m assuming that the Japanese numerals are a problem when it comes to math. Is there anyone that still uses a different system? I’d be willing to bet $V there isn’t.

    1. This is an example of what the Arabs could do before islam came along.

      You are aware that the Arabs lifted (politeness for “copied” or “stole”) the numeral system in use in India and copied it for use in the Levant and North Africa?
      This has lots to do with trade routes that span the Indian and Arabian Seas and “Nothing to Do With Islam.”

      1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what the Arabs did, as “stole” implies. They saw in another culture something that worked well, they accepted it and used it. This is the way progress has always advanced. The nonsense of “cultural appropriation” is very recent and, I hope, short-lived.

  3. Add to that all the dolphins and pilot whales that have been killed this year in Taiji.
    Hopefully the Seashepherds will be there to make their lives miserable.

  4. I am not sure if all whales are really sentient, but hunting such charismatic animals diminishes all of us.
    Another terrible and related thing is that Japanese fishermen will periodically herd dolphins into coves and slaughter them, I think to kill off their competition for the fish.

    1. I find this attitude troubling. Why should the fact that an animal appears “charismatic” to humans be a factor? I know it’s not your intent, but it implies that maybe it’s okay to inflict suffering on animals that we find uninteresting.

      For sure, I don’t want to start making a “Dear Muslima” argument here – let’s try to oppose unnecessary animal suffering wherever we see it. But I think we should also be making efforts to improve the immense and unnecessary suffering that occurs to animals in battery farms, and the appalling conditions in some slaughterhouses, even though chickens and cattle may be stupid and uncharismatic animals.

    2. Selling the meat from the dolphin culls is a significant income to the villages concerned, as I understand it.

        1. True, but Japan is an affluent “first world” country, so arguably should not be a reason. (And it is a reason not to be too harsh on the lowest-level poachers in Africa; their crime syndicate etc. bosses, sure.)

        2. … that is something that a combination of ridicule (on the pseudo-medicines front) and public shaming (arrest at the airport for possession of suspect ivory ; “yes, you have missed your flight ; no that is not our problem, it is your problem”) would hopefully destroy the market for. But it is slow going.

  5. I’m surprised there isn’t a lot of whale lovers in Japan fighting the hunt. The whaling fleet seems to be heading for the southern ocean where NZ and AU are beginning to protest. Perhaps these added voices will have an effect.

  6. I’m in two minds about this. We definitely should not hunt endangered species, but as regards the non-endangered species, hunting wild game seems intrinsically less morally objectionable than farming animals in captivity, which often causes immense long-term suffering.

    The argument that whales are intelligent would apply just as well to pigs, at least to a large extent.

    If I ever reason myself into being less carnivorous, meat from non-endangered whale species will not be the first off the menu.

      1. Have you seen how they kill cattle in most of the world?

        Further, we don’t NEED to kill cattle or fish; people don’t need to eat meat or fish, as hundreds of millions of perfectly healthy lifetime vegetarians in India demonstrate. What you are defending is your cultural tradition – which you should be OK to abandon, or you should let the Japanese and the Norwegians keep their tradition…

        1. If you’re going to be consistent in your care to maintain a logical coherence to our choices so much so that it is important to you, Axlotl that cultural traditions are maintained in the face of objections from people outside that culture, then perhaps you shouldn’t object (if indeed you do) to the Niqab, Hijab and Burka and all the attendant problems associated with them. Because, after all, those are cultural traditions.

          My suggestion is deliberately outre to make the point that just because something is a “tradition” in a culture doesn’t mean others have no say in the practice of that tradition. Whaling, for example, IS allowed in U.S. waters by Native Americans – as a nod to their traditions. That doesn’t mean we can’t – or shouldn’t- object to them here or elsewhere.

          1. I am not saying that one should defend cultural traditions unconditionally – after all, many cultural traditions are objectively harmful and should be (or have been) gotten rid of. I am just saying, that whatever you do, consistency is your safest bet. If you allow yourself to be irrational/sentimental, you will find yourself in a position where you will find it OK for you to do the same things you are unwilling to tolerate to others. And that is nothing but trouble.

            1. Well, you certainly have a point there. Objectivity is this kind of issue is usually the best way through.

            2. I think Jerry is being reasonably consistent. He doesn’t want whales killed because of he thinks they’re reasonably intelligent. I bet if you asked him, he’d be perfectly consistent in that criteria by saying we shouldn’t kill and eat dolphin, chimpanzees, gorillas, crows, parrots, etc. either, for the same reason.

              He also noted that fin whales are threatened, and I think a lot of people would support the very consistently applied criteria that we shouldn’t be killing threatened or endangered populations for food.

              So there’s two criteria that could be consistently applied and which would, in combination, eliminate the vast majority of cetaceans from our dinner plates without the need to demand full-on vegetarianism.

              1. I disagree – I think intelligence is an arbitrary and anthropocentric criterion. Cows and pigs can feel pain just like the “more intelligent” animals you have listed. The intelligence of the latter is primarily for your amusement – since they have a trait that makes them more intriguing to humans, they are deemed more worthy of protection than the species that frequently form part of Jerry’s “noms”.

                None of the whale species that are allowed to be hunted commercially (common and antarctic minke whale, and long-finned pilot whale) are threatened or endangered, and the population sizes are carefully monitored. I am not defending the practice, only correcting an incorrect claim.

              2. Protecting endangered species is uncontroversial.

                It’s the “sentience” and “intelligence” criterion that are troubling. That’s what I think needs to be challenged and discussed to develop an ethically consistent position. I don’t think our intuition is at all reliable in this regard.

                We don’t grade the value human lives based on intelligence. Animal intelligence is also a continuum, within and across species. Is there a bright line? Are slightly more stupid animals worth slightly less?

                If sentience or intelligence is really the criterion, how do you answer the intelligence-to-body-mass issue raised by Henry below?

              3. Carnivory almost by necessity requires bringing pain to other animals, since most animals have nervous systems, brains, etc. and will feel pain when they die. If you find that sort of direct pain infliction immoral and grounds for not acting, then I think the only viable option is vegetarianism. I would guess most of us accept that some amount of animal pain infliction is acceptable as the cost of being meat-eating omnivores.

                However, I think the intelligence-based restriction is grounded in the concept of minimizing second order types of stress and pain, such as the awareness that one is being raised merely to be slaughtered for food, stress due to understanding exactly what is happening to you, and feelings of loss over a loved one. Pain and stress associated with being able to project one’s fate out into the future. We would expect some animals to be able to do that sort of cogitation and thus experience such types of pain and stress to a much greater extent than others.

                Now, maybe Ralph is right and Jerry and others don’t have good proxy measures of intelligence. I think it’s a reasonable argument to make to say that we need to do a better, more objective and less culturally centric job of measuring awareness, and that according to better measures, whales might not pass the test. If we could do that and that was the result, I’d accept whale hunting. Until then, I don’t really have a problem with at least trying to minimize the eating of the more self-aware species. The criticism ‘we have a poor and humanocentric view of animal intelligence’ is IMO not sufficient to stop trying; we should not make perfect the enemy of good here.

              4. In fact, perhaps Jerry even agrees with Singer’s principles but not his facts. (I think this would be wrong, but at least it would be a plausible position.) Namely, sea mammals can suffer because they have interests and the other animals in question do not.

        2. Axolotl, I obviously agree with your perspective overall, from other comments that i’ve made.

          But I don’t think “cultural tradition” should be a factor whatsoever. I think we should base our policies solely on an ethically consistent attitude to animal suffering.

          I think it may be ethically inconsistent to oppose HUMANE hunting or farming of whales for their meat, unless you also oppose (for example) pig farming.

          On the other hand, I have no tolerance at all for somebody who tells me that their “cultural tradition” is that the only acceptable way to butcher an animal involves inflicting unnecessary pain. “Cultural tradition” does not trump animal rights any more than it trumps human rights.

        3. Some people thrive on vegetarian diets others don’t. We are omnivores and animal protein provides aminoacids and nutrients that are not always found in vegetables, legumes or nuts.

          Your argument that people don’t need meat because millions of Indians are vegetarians and totally healthy is completely fallacious.

          Although there is evidence that vegetarian diets can be beneficial for some people it is also true that diets that include fish and other kinds of animal protein -in moderation- are also healthy and beneficial.

          As for whales and dolphins, well, scientific evidence suggests that cetaceans are of the few mammals that are not only smart but also, and very importantly, self-aware. We are talking about more complex brains and higher EQ (encephalization quotient).

          So, IMO comparing whales with chickens or cows is like comparing a 10 year old child with a newborn… not really the same thing when it comes to realizing an asshole is trying to kill you.

      2. Murdering whales and dolphins for any reason is revolting. I’m thoroughly disgusted with many of things too many humans do in the name of profits, religion and the mania to kill other living things out of no real need except to suit our own selfish desires, especially given that our species is supposed to be intelligent enough to know better.

    1. Let us try a reduction ad absurdam. Posit that I am a mad scientist (you’ll get more dispute on the “scientist” bit than on the “mad” bit) and that I’ve got tricks of the developmental toolbox of mammalian genetics up my sleeve which no one else has. Nothing magical – just what every embryo did including yourself. Specifically, I can control which bits of a blob of cells develop into muscle, fat, bone, nerve.

      The argument that whales are intelligent would apply just as well to pigs, at least to a large extent.
      If I ever reason myself into being less carnivorous, meat from non-endangered whale species will not be the first off the menu

      I want to set up my production line for “long pig”. I’m going to be ethical, so I’ll use donated sperm and eggs (donated via Hollywood trash cans, from the other part of the industry) to get my initial stock of stem cells, and with my high tech techniques, I’ll production line “long pig”.
      It’s so far chemicals (vegetarian, even!) going into a vat, and “long pig” flesh coming out of the other end. I’ll even make it into the shape of … well, let’s just say a good leg joint, to make it carvable, if 20 yards long.
      A leg joint is too thick for diffusion to feed. I need to put in a circulatory system. [Clickitty-click] and the Operator of my equipment (some readers may recognise Simon ; he’s a Bastard) gives it a circulatory system which branched new vessels on the arteries, and closes them down near the packing plant. The details are commercially confidential.
      But the flesh has no texture. Even Quorn has texture. So I need to add some nerves to exercise the muscle. [Clickkity Click] and a nervous system is there – motor only, not sensory – and the flesh twitches to tone itself up for the consumer.
      Sounds like DentArthurDent’s meal at the Restaurant, doesn’t it?
      But twitching doesn’t really exercise and align the muscle fibres. They need something to pull against. [Clickkity click], there are axial bones forming in the Leg of Long Pig. Every metre or so, there’s a sort of hinge joint in the bones, and the flesh is now arranged in abductor-adductor muscle pairs, and they can really work against each other under the direction of the nervous system. Someone tries to play disco music in the production plant, but the Pasty-Faced Youth gets to the player before Simon does. This is not a cause for deep joy.
      There is a problem from shipping. They’d really like the product to have a resilient outer layer – call it a skin – to keep the edible bits clean during shipping. [Clickkity-click] and the work is done, with a flourish that every joint (between the hinges) has a tattoo with the company’s logo on it – “I luv Mum” in a heart. Innit sweet.
      Here you go – completely unintelligent, ethically sound, well exercised, highly hygienic pseudo meat, in conveniently packaged 7.5 kilo units, self basting and ready to pop into the oven. Crackling too!
      Where did it trip your “Uncanny Valley” senses? Was it well before the question of the meat’s intellectual capacity (granted higher than some football players, of either eccentricity), or the marketing logo that got you?
      Well, it gives me something to think about instead of indulging in “sleep” – the sport of wimps.

      1. I don’t get where you are going with this.

        Making specially designed human meat for human consumption sounds unpleasant? Well yes. Nevermind the long pig, the production of regular pork is disturbing enough.

  7. Things to consider:

    1. Whale hunting has been a commercial activity for a few centuries now.

    2. The Japanese and the Norwegians still eat whale meat regularly and most see no problems with it.

    3. None of the species currently hunted is endangered, and the stock is carefully controlled.

    I do not eat whale (or any) meat, and couldn’t care less if whale hunting stopped tomorrow. I would just like the arguments in favour of its ban to be consistent with arguments put forward for other animals. Why are the whales more shock inducing? Because they are “intelligent and sentient”? Well so are pigs, kind of. And is somebody seriously suggesting that cows or lambs are OK to kill and eat because they are “stupider”? It reminds me of when I read “Chronicles of Narnia” where nobody in Narnia was supposed to touch the noble talking animals, while they would gorge themselves on the “mute” specimen of the same species, with the author going into the detail of the feast in painful detail. I have always found this distinction abominable. Singling out whales and dolphins this way is uncomfortably close to this.

    1. We make those kinds of distinctions all the time Axolotl and often it is not based on a kind of rigid logical orthodoxy. They are in that sense irrational. One can take a very formal approach to these things and attempt to parse out all the conflictions that a particular stance may have, but that’s not how most people do it. By your metric, all human lives ought to have equal value to you. But I’ll wager my undies that you’d value the lives of your children over the lives of all others.

      Not saying you’re wrong about the inconsistency of valuing cetaceans over other kinds of life, just that it doesn’t matter that it is inconsistent.

      1. Well, if it doesn’t matter that it is inconsistent, if you admit it is irrational, then the Japanese are technically right to call your reasoning “sentimental”, aren’t they?

      2. Your argument seem to be that we should just trust our intuition without deeper reflection. I think that’s profoundly wrong. There was a time in history that the vast majority of people found it intuitively obviously that dark-skinned people were inferior to the white races.

        With regard to animals, most of us find it intuitive to oppose slaughtering cute seals or charismatic whales, but we don’t have such a strong emotional reaction to the suffering of chickens or pigs. It seems to me that we should ABSOLUTELY be reflecting more deeply upon this, and examining whether our gut reaction and “intuitive ethics” are actually valid.

        1. You make good points, Ralph. We *should* be more concerned with the suffering of all animals, notwithstanding the fact that it cannot be prevented to some degree.

          What I’m trying to say is that even though our decisions are not always (usually) rational about how we treat animals that doesn’t mean when we feel we need to treat ONE kind of animal differently to another that we mustn’t simply because we don’t treat ALL animals that way. That’s nonsense and it is perfectly acceptable to make distinctions like that. We even do it to members of our own species.

          One would hope that the care and concern we show to those we set apart translates into better treatment to those we do not. Obviously there will be those who disagree when we those kinds of distinctions, but there is nothing wrong with making them.

          1. Yes. I think a problem does arise if we get too holier-than-thou with the Japanese, though. I think if the Japanese turned around and said “f*** off, first go and sort out the horrific things that are happening every day to thousands of animals in your own battery farms and slaughterhouses”… well, they would have a point. It would not justify the suffering that they are inflicting on whales, but it would be a valid perspective. We ARE hypocritical and inconsistent about this.

            Organizations such as WWF are well are of the fact that they have “flagship” animals, the charismatic and cute ones, that allow them to raise more money. And I think they then do their best to distribute their largesse more evenly based on need and suffering.

    2. There’s a strong argument in favour of whaling – compared to other kinds of meat-eating – which I feel honour-bound to mention here: Whales are big.

      So the ability to feed people you get from killing one individual animal, if that animal is a whale, is equivalent to the the meat you would get from maybe ten cows, which in turn is equivalent to maybe a thousand chickens.

      I’m not saying this is decisive consideration, but it’s certainly a consideration, to be weighed on the Japanese and Norwegian side of the ledger before we commit to condemning them.

      1. That’s hardly a “strong” argument for whaling, Harold. At best it’s a rationalization that ignores other factors important in deciding the virtues of killing whales.

        1. Well, I think Harold’s argument does cause us to reflect much more carefully on ethical arguments based on “sentience”.

          Consider a whale where the species is abundant, conservation is not an issue. Suppose that there is no economic difference between killing one mature whale or ten juvenile whales, both yield the same amount of meat. Do you think there is no significant ethical difference between killing one whale and killing ten whales?

          It seems an obvious next step to compare the killing of one mature whale to the killing of hundreds of mature pigs, each one of which has roughly similar “sentience” to the single whale, and all for a similar meat yield.

        2. I meant (and I apologise for my tortured syntax earlier) that it’s a strong reason for preferring whaling to other kinds of animal harvesting.

          Should we harvest animals at all? That’s a separate question.

    3. There is a continuum of intelligence and sentience in nature. It seems to me that more intelligent, more sentient animals have more capacity to feel pain, remorse, etc., and therefore have a greater weight in such deliberations than others than are less so.

      Some people think plants have feelings.

      It seems as if you are saying that it is (morally and environmentally) wrong for us to value tigers over mice, whales over lemmings, mammals over beetles.

      If you can’t have gradients (or buckets) of concern level, then you are left with no realistic way to decide (short of removing yourself from the environment to prevent yourself from impacting other life forms).

      – I am in favor of stopping all whale hunting (because it is unnecessary, and usually involves cruel methods and often endangered species (at leas tin the recent past)).
      – I think endangered species should be protected and saved whenever it’s practicable (almost all cases).
      – I think the degree of sentience and/or intelligence is a reasonable way to grade the level of concern.
      – I think it’s OK to value human life over other animals.
      – I think it’s OK to value you family over other humans.

      These positions may not be philosophically consistent. So be it.

      All animals die. In nature, animals die from: Predation, parasites, starvation, or disease. I am not convinced that these are better ways to go than in a humane and well-run agricultural setting (feed lots, caged hens, etc. do not qualify) with humane methods of killing.

      Watch any video of orcas killing another whale species. Or a kill by cape hunting dogs.

      The discussion around environmental impact is separate; and I think it is an important one. Large animals like cattle (from what I’ve read anyway) have greater environmental impacts than small animals such as chickens. This seems important to me.

  8. Of course, I’d agree that if the hunting and slaughter methods are inhumane and cause unnecessary suffering, they should be opposed.

    But I’m less convinced by arguments based on sentience and intelligence, or the question of whether the meat is really needed for human survival. Aren’t pigs also highly intelligent, for example?

    I’m not sure where I come out on this overall. For sure, we should oppose unnecessary suffering for all animals, wild or farmed. But is there any ethically consistent position between accepting the idea that all animals can in principle be used for food, and strict vegetarianism? If there is an intermediate position, what are the criteria? I guess intelligence is one, but it seems so difficult to try to draw a bright line.

  9. I was going to preface this with thou shalt not tease me for appreciating Leonard Nimoy’s whale activism, but it is hard not to giggle when he gets a little uncomfortably romantic (and mystic) at 4:28 and concludes with “dark rainbow bliss in the sea.”

    Whales Weep Not!

  10. I discussed this with one person who enlightened me regarding a very odd mental roadblock they have. When discussing potentially driving a species to extinction, they acknowledge that yes, that is a bad thing, but “whale meat tastes good!”.

  11. The Japanese could make similar argument, such as the ones made here to defend their whale killing ways. Tell us that they have checked the intelligence of the animal compared to pigs and cows. Used computer programs to show weight to calorie ratios and worked out the math to many decimals. Maybe even convince a few that they have scientific motives as well.

    And the end of the day all of their reasoning means nothing. The rest of the world has moved on and have decided that killing whales is a bad thing and we stopped doing it. And they have also decided that any country that continues to do it will be criticized and not thought well of. Some may think that killing a whale is the exact same as stepping on a bug but good luck selling that to the rest of the world.

    1. “At the end of the day all of their reasoning means nothing. The rest of the world has moved on and have decided that killing whales is a bad thing and we stopped doing it. And they have also decided that any country that continues to do it will be criticized and not thought well of.”

      Really? Although I too oppose whaling, I think on principle this is a weak non-argument, that you only like because it’s an issue where you happen to side with the majority. We don’t have to look too far to find issues where the majority is wildly wrong and where we’d find tooth and nail against the majority’s insistence that an issue is settled.

      You have no right to expect the Japanese to shut up and accept what you (or the majority) have arbitrarily decided is wrong if you can’t back up that position with coherent argument. And, in this particular case, I think it’s a valuable conversation to have. Not because the conclusion is ever likely to be that whaling is okay for a civilized human society, but because it serves to illuminate our own nations’ hypocrisy about other forms of animal suffering.

      1. I hope that you would go back and look at what you have said here.

        I have arbitrarily decided it is wrong to kill whales even though I can not back that up with a coherent argument. But I only think this because it is a majority opinion.

        You must also be a mind reader with great power so you could use this ability on the whales and other animals and find out what they think on this matter as well.

        If we had not discovered a better and cheaper product to light our houses, there would be no whales to argue about today and I could go look for another majority opinion.

        1. I’m not trying to read your mind, I’m reading what you wrote. Perhaps I misunderstood the paragraph of yours that I quoted – but if so what else does it mean? You seem to be saying that you feel no need to defend the ethical consistency of your position, and that the Japanese just need to accept on an arbitrary basis that the world has “moved on”.

          My own motivation for wanting to flesh out the ethical position here is certainly not motivated by wanting to “defend their whale killing ways”. I find the whole notion of whale hunting appalling. My motivation is to expose the hypocrisy of the opposition to whale hunting, when appalling and inhumane living and slaughterhouse conditions for vastly greater numbers of farmed animals are accepted in other nations to give us the cheapest possible bacon and eggs.

  12. I’ve stopped hunting. I’ve killed deer, elk, and ducks, and don’t feel good about it. Don’t need the meat. I don’t see any good reason to kill wild animals.

    1. I am in that same boat as you describe. Also, have the same opinion and see no good reason to kill them today.

      We have moved on and don’t give a damn if it is majority or not. Just call it a shift in personal morals or whatever it is.

    2. Wouldn’t that make you a bit of an outsider in your local community? It seems from the landscape that the woods should be a-popping with huntin’, shootin’ an’ fishin’ types.
      Cue : Bob Newhart’s pean to game wardens and a pure-bred Jersey cow.

    3. Little corrections: I kill mice with traps. They’re destructive and unsanitary. If the beavers keep up what they’re doing between the ponds I may have to do something about it. I kill invasive wasps and hornets, especially in their nests, with no compunction and more than a little satisfaction.

    4. One of my students was relating his hunting tales from the recent holiday, and mentioned that a deer that had been shot in the heart ran for 50+ yards before dropping. While a white-tailed deer may not be as intelligent as a whale or dolphin, there’s no doubt in my mind that the animal suffered terribly as it was trying to flee and hemorrhaging internally. The majority of hunters I know eat the meat from the deer, ducks, turkeys, wild hogs, etc. that they kill, but it’s no longer necessary to hunt game for survival in most of the US, just as the Japanese don’t need whale meat for survival.

      I just returned from a trip to Japan, and I definitely did not want to eat whale/dolphin meat or horse meat while I was there. I’d classify my decisions as sentimental in nature: whales and dolphins are wild, and in some cases endangered, animals with a high level of intelligence, and I’ve had much-beloved horses and engaged in equestrian sports for the last two decades. Also along the lines of sentimentality, I think many Japanese would be appalled at the large numbers of abused, abandoned, and suffering dogs and cats that often end up flattened on streets and highways in the US.

  13. Whale hunting also takes place in the U.S. in Alaska. Is a part of whaling traditions that also remain active in Russia and Canada.

          1. And, it’s almost exclusively carried out by Native Americans (/NE Asians (Russia)/Inuit), continuing their long-standing traditions of subsistence food gathering and their cultural community actions, which seems a better reason than those given by, for instance, the Japanese.

            1. I think the overriding issue, if whaling is ever acceptable at all, is that the methods be as humane as possible. I’m not sure that anyone has yet developed a humane way to hunt and kill whales, and “traditional” methods tend to be particularly cruel. I think animal rights and welfare trump cultural tradition every time. Embracing a diversity of cultures only goes so far – if a culture involves unnecessary cruelty to animals, that culture needs to change.

  14. Lets not forget the Faroe Islands where they annually turn the sea blood red with their slaughtering of Pilot Whales , despicable !

    1. If one slaughtered the same biomass mass of cows or sheep the way they are traditionally slaughtered in most of the world, and did it in shallow water in the same place those whales are killed, the sea would turn just as red. Why isn’t that equally despicable?

  15. Looks tasty. I may have to try it when I visit Japan again. Maybe the Japanese should stop harvesting fin whales to get some of the naysayers off their back. Otherwise, it’s all just first world white sentimentality and speciesism. As a brown third worlder who has eaten bush meat and dog meat, I generally tune out when they holier-than-thou latte liberals start spouting how culturally superior western white liberalism is.

    Don’t worry, I don’t eat threatened/endangered species. Anything else is fair game.

  16. I’ll bet they know an awful lot of “scientific” information about whales by now- I never realized that there was so much to learn!

  17. It wouldn’t be too hard to get Japan (and Iceland and Norway) to take seriously other people’s objections to whaling. Ordinary consumers can use their buying power and boycott all products from those countries.

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