26 November 2007

The Japanese go Whaling

Japan Hunts the Humpback. Now Comes the Backlash.

Vessels from the groups Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace tail and harass the whaling fleet, while strong protests are lodged by environmental groups, many marine biologists, and officials from the United States, Australia and other countries. But this year those complaints have intensified, largely because Japan has added a new animal to its planned harvest of more than 1,400 whales from seven species — the humpback, Megaptera novaeangliae.

Usually I can understand both sides of a debate and at least appreciate where those I disagree with are coming from. I can usually understand that reasonable people can disagree. I can usually accept that people coming from different cultural backgrounds can look at the same thing and see different things.

Usually I don't feel like I need to dress in black and hurl Molotov cocktails.

On this point I feel the need to do spectacular physical damage, I feel the need to send these people to Sea World followed by a long stint in a small cell.

There is no reason for the Japanese to continue to hunt any whales. Their appeal that they are doing real scientific is totally undermined by the fact that most of the whales end up on the market as food.

The interesting comment comes near the end of the article.

The Japan Whaling Association, a private group representing the whaling operations, has described complaints as cultural imperialism on its Web site, whaling.jp:

“Asking Japan to abandon this part of its culture,” the association says, “would compare to Australians being asked to stop eating meat pies, Americans being asked to stop eating hamburgers and the English being asked to go without fish and chips.”

Whaling was part of American culture once too. At some point we got over that. Yeah, it hurt, whole communities were upset and people were put out of work. And while thats horrible, society moves on and culture adapts. Besides, how much of Japanese culture is still dependent upon this whaling culture? Falling back on the idea of respect for other cultures to defend this horrible act is a pretty ridiculous.

There is no reason for Japan to be whaling and the rest of the world needs to call them on it. In fact you should go over to Green Peace and send a letter to Condoleezza Rice urging her to put pressure on Japan. I am doubtful that Condoleezza is going to actually do much, but something is better than nothing.

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