Whaling: A Refreshing Perspective

"Shocking Asian delicacies!" "Disgusting Chinese will eat anything!"

I hate how gwailohs
so self-righteously criticise the way we eat, the things we eat, and how we kill what we eat. If they could look in the mirror. Foie gras, veal, to name a few.

That's why when I stumbled across this article, written by a gwailoh about how different foods are really a clash of culture, I thought it an immensely interesting read.

I don't agree with whaling. But it's refreshing to read another perspective.

Some highlights of the article:
  • In front of me was whale meat, from an animal which it is simply unthinkable to eat in Britain - so unthinkable that I had to promise my daughters I would not touch a morsel of it during my time in Japan. Yet once in Japan, nothing seemed more normal.
  • There is a popular view that all whales are endangered - and many species are, but by no means all. And it certainly was not Japan that drove some species towards extinction. The Americans, Brits and Norwegians did that, with a bit of help from the rest of Europe and its former colonies. Has it become convenient to blame Japan?
  • Then I thought of the battery farm I had visited as a child in England - the hens cramped together five to a tiny cage, trampling each other in order to win a few cubic centimetres of space. I thought of halal abattoirs where cows are killed by draining out their blood, of fish impaled on steel hooks in the open ocean, of deer caught in snares waiting only for the relief of a huntsman's bullet, the peeled but still twitching frogs that I had seen in a Bangkok market years before.

    Who decides, and how, which cruelties are acceptable, and which not?

  • At its 2006 meeting the International Whaling Commission saw a fascinating vignette played out.

    Australia's environment minister was laying into the Japanese delegation in forthright style, casting them as ignorant slaughterers of cute and special creatures. The Japanese delegate replied by asking about Australia's annual "slaughter" of two million kangaroos.

    Later I chatted with one of the Australian journalists who tend to write about whaling in pretty stark language, using phrases like "barbaric cruelty" whenever there is an opportunity.

    Not only did this particular environment journalist see nothing wrong with the kangaroo slaughter, but they had actually been on the annual hunt, shot some "roos", and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The full article is here:

I highly recommend it.