Japanese and whaling

Why do the Japanese want to take more whales? What kind of research are they doing? Can whale meat not be replaced by other food?

I understand Grennland wants their native people to take humpbacks, but they aren’t taking the quota of minkes.

National pride. They can’t pay folks to eat the whale meat, which is apparently fatty and rubbery and smells really awful. Most of it ends up as pet food.

But, gosh darn it, the Japanese have been whaling for centuries! Some western hippy isn’t going to tell them what they can do! Even if no one actually wants to eat the stuff.

For roughly the same reason hunters want to hunt deer, over the objections of the anti-hunting factions. Or seal hunting in the Canadian arctic. The Japanese have stated that whales should not be the “sacred cows of the ocean”, and that whaling should be permitted at a sustainable level. It’s interesting because America had a strong whaling tradition too at least through the 1950s; but whaling has become morally objectionable in the US while not in Japan. I’m curious as to what might have made the difference.

Great question carnivorousplant, I have never understood what they, Iceland and Norway saw in continuing to hunt whales. The Science research claims have just been a dodge the entire time.
Is it strictly some form of twisted national price? I just do not get it.


:dubious: Got a cite for that.

Why not? Why let foreigners with vastly different animal rights opinions interfere with your culture over something as mundane as a non-endangered species* that you traditionally eat?

*Are the whales taken actually endangered?

Do a search on the web and you might discover some wonderful things.
The whale meat in Japan from the increased whaling the last year is not being bought for human consumption. So it is not a matter of preventing the Japanese from eating their favorite delicacy apparently.
Without googling I believe the bulk of the whales killed are Minke Whales and they are not endangered. So as long as they keep it too sustainable levels, at least the bulk of the whaling is not endangering the species. I just do not understand why they continue when there is no longer a viable commercial need to do so.


The minkes the Japanese kill aren’t. The humpbacks that Greenland? Iceland? wants to take are.

As it relates to the discussion, I will post this information which I believe to be accurate:
Critically Endangered
Gray Whale Northwest Pacific population (cf. Northeast Pacific population)

Blue Whale
intermedia subspecies
Fin Whale
North Pacific Right Whale
North Atlantic Right Whale
Sei Whale

Blue Whale musculus subspecies - Atlantic population
Humpback Whale
Sperm Whale

Lower Risk (Conservation Dependent)
Antarctic Minke Whale
Arnoux’s Beaked Whale
Baird’s Beaked Whale
Bowhead Whale
Gray Whale Northeast Pacific population
Northern Bottlenose Whale
Southern Bottlenose Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Southern Right Whale

Lower Risk (Near Threatened)
Minke Whale

Lower Risk (Least Concern)
Dwarf Sperm Whale
Pygmy Right Whale
Long-finned Pilot Whale
Pygmy Sperm Whale
Melon-headed Whale

For roughly the same reason hunters want to hunt deer, over the objections of the anti-hunting factions. /QUOTE]
I’m not a hunter and think the are the most beautiful thing I’ve seen when they walk by the house, but if they didn’t kill 20% of the whitetails, they would die of starvation and sickness. Unlike whales, there are too many of them. God, they’re beautiful.
But I digress and hijack my own post.

It’s Iceland, not Greenland that wants to take humpbacks. So does Japan, according to this article.

I can’t find a cite for feeding whale meat as dog food in Japan; in was in a British newservice in Google news this morning.

Google is my friend. “whales dog food”

Allegations by the BBC.

The articles I have read this week all mentioned the increased haul is being kept frozen as they look for demand. The only counter argument I saw was from the JWA {Japan Whaling Association}. They have slightly less credibility than even Greenpeace. Basically Japan increasing their kill without any demand for the product. This is strange economics indeed.
I have never seen the dog food use mentioned except the waste product. Perhaps that is what you read?


The actions of the government of Japan is entirely divorced from anything except the desires of the government of Japan.

No cite.

Could be. It’s a “No we don’t”, “Yes you do” argument.

Yes. FWIW, this is backed up by anecdotal evidence I’ve heard from Japan and Norway. Whale meat sucks. Nobody likes it except a few traditionalists and people nostalgic for their childhood, when it was the cheapest meat around and a staple when family cash got tight.

The last line goves a possible motive besides traditionalism (or keeping an industry afloat for the sake of keeping it afloat):

I’ve had it a few times as sushi bars. It wasn’t bad. The few times that I discussed it with my Japanese co-workers, most said that they liked it. That’s only anecdotal, but I don’t think that it’s at all reviled in the way you’re suggesting.

My understanding of the whaling thing is that in the relevant countries the ‘whaling industry’ is a small but dedicated minority lobby group looking out for their own interests. The governments are paying out a ton of subsidies to keep them from joining the unemployment lines, while receiving endless litanies of complaints about busybodying furriners trying to destroy livelihoods etc. Whether or not the product is viable in a free market is a pretty much irrelevant to the central objective of political point-scoring and liberating money from taxpayers.
It’s not really much different from the farms/fisheries policy of the EU (and Japan/US for all I know), apart from the fact that whales are a bit more emotive than sugarbeet or sand-eels.

Why on Earth not? If the animals are not in danger of extinction. Whales are just like cows and pigs and any other kind of animal we kill.

Denmark favoured opening up for sustainable whale catching on account of The Faeroe Island and Greenland. The Faeroe Island has a thousand year old tradition of hunting whales (pilot whales). The whales are not of a threatened species. And when whales are spotted and slaughtered, the catch is shared in the whole community (after some intricate rules) and there is a big party. Some Greenlandic communities are absolutely dependent on catching whales. As long as the species are not threatened, it’s nobody’s business that they hunt them.

BTW. Whale meat taste excellent. Personally I like it best dried.

The US allows whaling by native americans. In Alaska whaling is still very important to Eskimos. But marine mammal products aren’t available commerically, native Alaskans can give away whale meat but can’t sell it.

Japanese politicians advocate whaling because it’s seen as standing up to foreign countries and protecting Japan’s traditions. American politicians condemn whaling because it’s one of the few “green” political positions they can take without affecting domestic industries.

Anyway I disagree with the “nobody actually like it” point. I’ve had it several times and liked it well enough. I wouldn’t buy it for dinner every day, but it does add variety to the menu.