Hmmm, not sure what to say

cow-dolphin

I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t comment on it, but I’d like to say that is not in fact a big huge secret in Japan that whaling continues unabated here.  Whalemeat (or more likely, dolphin meat) is widely available, even in my local supermarket.  It’s not very popular though, and most people can take it or leave it, which leaves me wondering why on earth the Japan cling to their defense of whaling for traditional/nutritional reasons when they have so many other sources of protein available.  On the other hand, many Japanese are genuinely puzzled by the emotional Western opposition to whaling.  Sometimes they ask me, what’s the difference between rounding up and killing whales and dolphins, and doing the same to cows, pigs and sheep?  Why is one okay, but not the other?  I have yet to formulate a satisfactory answer.

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5 comments on “Hmmm, not sure what to say

  1. Karen says:

    That’s because there is no satisfactory answer. Except perhaps that we can breed cows, pigs, and sheep domestically for meat, whereas, we can’t breed whales.

  2. Jeni says:

    I think the endangerment issue is one reason–whales are endangered. I think that dolphins have a different image than cows, pigs, or chickens. They are seen as intelligent are more personified than other animals. In the rounding up and killing there isn’t much difference. But my understanding is that the dolphins are rounded up and killed because fishermen believe that the dolphins are eating up all the fish that the fishermen would otherwise be catching. And that is a whole other reason than the “nutritional” one.

  3. Miko says:

    Yes, that’s a good point Jeni. Dolphins do threaten their livelihood, and that’s a whole other issue. I’ve even heard that some Japanese fishermen regard dolphins as “the cockroaches of the ocean” (except I’m pretty sure they’d never dream of feeding real cockroaches to their kids).

    Dolphins are cute and smart, but so are many other mammals. I am now virtually vegetarian, albeit mainly for economic rather than idealogical reasons (I just love the taste of roasted meat!). Due to my cultural conditioning in two different lands, I can accept eating cows, pigs, sheep, horse, and about every kind of sea mammal – including whale – but …. I can never accept eating cats. I guess it all boils down to what you grow up with.

  4. Petra says:

    I could not eat cats – obviously. I also have an aversion to eating horse, like many Germans. See, for the old Germanic tribes the horse was sacred, like the cow for Hindus. It is quite remarkable how such old customs and believes manage to stay alive over time – even if only in the subconscious.

  5. Miko says:

    Excellent point, Petra. It makes me wonder about a lot of other attitudes that we carry, too.

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