Field of Science

Victory in the whaling wars?

Japan has suspended their whaling for research™ for fear of the safety of the crew members. They haven't announced that they won't start again, but it's still a victory in my mind for a couple of reasons:
  • Some whales will live to see another day.
  • Killing in the name of science is a lie, and doesn't exactly give science a better reputation.
  • The Nisshin Maru whaling ship gave in to the harassment of the conservationists.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships have been chasing the whaling fleet for weeks in the icy seas, trying to block Japan's annual whale hunt, planned for up to 945 whales.
The latter point proves that aggressive actions by conservationists actually works. Three cheers!

Again, this may not be a permanent halt, but I still regard is a step in the right direction. The fact that eating whales is tradition in Japan matters none.
The country kills hundreds of whales every year in a hunt which appalls conservationists but which is also deeply embedded in traditional Japanese culture.
[Source.] Slavery. Beheadings. Torture. Discrimination. Bullfights. All sorts of things were practiced for hundreds of years, condoned by governments and leaders, and yet no longer considered morally defensible. It's got to fucking stop.


  1. I must confess that if I were in Japan and had a chance to sample whale sashimi, I'd do it in a heartbeat, ethical issues be damned. Once, that is. I would not repeat it.

    This is probably not a defensible moral position, but if I am being honest, I would. When gastronomy and ethics collide, I have a hard time siding with ethics.

    I mostly don't eat factory-farmed pork, but even that's far from absolute, and I feel really strongly about it. Large scale hog farming is an ecological disaster, pigs are highly intelligent creatures who have some of the worst conditions of any farm animals in the US (excluding laying hens, but they're birds, so I don't care as much), and in any case the current factory farming methods contribute to food-borne diseases. And yet, and yet, and yet... a life without prosciutto I cannot imagine.

  2. I largely second your double-standards. I also don't eat much pork, though it is not always up to me (say, when the wife cooks it for dinner), and I do love my Jamón serrano.

    I had fried whale once in an izakaya in Japan, and it wasn't interesting at all. Just meat. I hadn't thought about these issues much at the time, and now I would not do it again.


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