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What's behind Japan's support of whaling?

62 Comments
By Elaine Lies

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Answer to headline: ignorancence, jingoism, and hypocracy

4 ( +20 / -16 )

But Japan has long felt vulnerable about food security. For the last 20 years, according to Agriculture Ministry data, only about 40 percent of the calories the average Japanese person consumes every day is domestically produced.

Well, where to start, the government is largely to blame for this in many ways. Sure there is limited farmland here, but the farmers here are mostly small businesses controlled by JA and still rely on manual labor in many locations. Japan was forced to import food, and the domestic producers are over-priced, no thanks in part to JA and the slew of middle men that force an increase in cost in every step it takes to get to the market.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

Others say whale provides protein with a smaller carbon footprint than beef or pork.

Two wrongs dont make it right! Not to mention that pork and beef are more palatable to the general public than whale.

Eating whale was an emergency measure, at a time when domestic food production was low and imports had not started on the scale that is seen today. People ate everything they caught, to survive.

Now we have choices, and while it is a person choice, yet to the majority of people I have ever talked to, very few actually like the taste of whale meat.

It will remain a niche market and by the article, relatively few people work in the industry. Time for it to die out!

5 ( +16 / -11 )

I regret Japanese people do not voice their opinions. Democracy is not rooted in Japan enough.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Whatever is rooted in their support, it is their country, their culture, and their right. Japan is no more ignorant in hunting whales, than other countries are in how they process animals for food.

No one has a right to criticize Japan for whale hunting; after all, these same people would not appreciate it one iota if any Japanese person had an unfavorable opinion on some aspect of their culture.

-9 ( +15 / -24 )

So it's generally not eaten, not on the list of foods people are consuming. But tax payer funded because politicians feel the vibe of nostalgia as they munch down on foreign foods, not themselves eating the unpalatable blubber they throw our money at.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

As long as they aren't killing whales in the Southern Sanctuary they can do what they want. Japan and others have overfished bluefin tuna across the globe for years but everyone is happy enough to head of to 100 yen sushi shops to eat their share of maguro. In 40 years since 1970s Tuna and Sword fish populations are down 90%! Maybe protesting that would be more sensible.

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2016/04/25/new-science-puts-decline-of-pacific-bluefin-at-974-percent

6 ( +11 / -5 )

oldman_13. Sorry, I beg to differ. We live in the 21st century and as a species hopefully have evolved. To successfully evolve we need to adopt the new and beneficial and discard the ways that are not beneficial anymore. That is how Japan modernized during the Meiji period and it needs to continue to adapt or it will stagnate and die.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

oldman_13

I disagree, culture or tradition aren't good enough reasons if something is harmful.

If its really a traditional reason, then a small group of completely self funded people with minimal modern machinery in the Japan EEZ.. I don't think you would hear much complaint to be honest.

As pointed out and while some small areas did whale it is mostly a hang over from the end of WW2, the people in power now remember it as part of their lives and for some reason rather than embracing where Japan is headed want to confine themselves to a time in history they look back on with rose colored glasses.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Japanese people don't like being told what they can do by foreigners. There are people who like eating whale meat. I have never eaten it and my wife hates it. Although I personally oppose whale hunting the new situation is better than before.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Though Japan's government insists eating whale is an important part of the country's food culture, consumption did not become widespread until after World War Two, when the occupation authorities encouraged it to feed the impoverished population.

So much for that flimsy argument. Eating whale is as much of Japanese food culture as being victims of the Allies is a part of their culture.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

Chip good call on so many levels.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party, worry that if Japan stops whaling, it may next be asked to stop fishing for something else, such as tuna

This argument has nothing to do with culture. It’s only about having to adjust their lifestyle. I have no doubt Japan will have to stop fishing tuna in the coming decades, simply because there won’t be any tunas to fish. Most populations of tuna have already crashed and could not recover even if fishing was stopped today. The fish have already become genetically smaller due overfishing of the larger healthier fish.

The market for whale meat is not large enough to support a major commercial hunt. The regional areas that have hunted whales traditionally are still doing so and are surviving. Only around 3% of the Japanese population eat meat from ocean mammals regularly. Others eat it a handful of times a year and most never eat it at all. The main reason Japan won’t let go of the commercial whaling program is similar to the reason they won’t let nuclear power go. They have too much money invested in it. The factory ships cost tens of millions of dollars to build and they won’t scuttle them. I live to see the day the Nissin Maru is turned into coke cans.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Japan is no more ignorant in hunting whales, than other countries

Other countries don't kill the calf and claim it as "unpreventable". Japan just doesn't care and one day they'll be scratching their heads wondering what happened when there's a sudden shortage of whales.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Other countries don't kill the calf and claim it as "unpreventable". Japan just doesn't care and one day they'll be scratching their heads wondering what happened when there's a sudden shortage of whales.

Agreed. Japan pays lip service to caring. Form over substance all the way.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

"Though Japan's government insists eating whale is an important part of the country's food culture, consumption did not become widespread until after World War Two, when the occupation authorities encouraged it to feed the impoverished population."

Total crap!

Whaling in Japan dates back to the seventh century during the Yamato-Asuka period in ancient Japan. The oldest Japanese book in existence, called the Kojiki, chronicled that the Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan, ate whale meat. In addition to the Kojiki whaling is also mentioned in numerous other historical writings in Japan.

http://www.facts-about-japan.com/whaling-history.html

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

I think with time whaling in Japan will die out of it's own accord, just look at the numbers, it continues to dwindle, just like men using pomade for their hair and women's hair being cut with razors. All this at one time was accepted as the norm

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Total crap! 

Whaling in Japan dates back to the seventh century during the Yamato-Asuka period in ancient Japan. The oldest Japanese book in existence, called the Kojiki, chronicled that the Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan, ate whale meat. In addition to the Kojiki whaling is also mentioned in numerous other historical writings in Japan.

Cobgratulations! You just confirmed that whaling has occurred in Japan for a very long time, but you did nothing to refute the assertion that consumption of whale meat was widespread before the end of Japan's war of aggression in Asia, a.k.a., Workd War II.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Get used to guys. Japan will hunt whales. You will just have to accept it.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

While there are those who say that very few people eat whale meat it is not only being caught in the seas around Japan but being imported. So what happens to that meat if it isn't eaten? Pet food?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The whale meat is forced onto schools as being part of the culture and yes pet food majority is put into tax payer funded freezers. It's gotten to the point that idears are mooted such as using it for garden fertiliser. Just can't get rid of the stuff.

Nobody wants it, except Emperor Jimmu.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

You might as well suck the mercury out of the old style thermometers as eating mercury filled whale.

The short answer to the question of this article is politics. Japan loses millions of dollars annually on the fake whale hunts. There is no business or social reason to continue. Whales tastes awful and only when, like after WW2 in Japan, there is nothing else will people eat it. Most young people have never had whale or if they had they hate it.

This is a perfect example of Abe trying to revive the past in the face of today's reality.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

consumption did not become widespread until after World War Two, when the occupation authorities encouraged it to feed the impoverished population."

Total crap!

Whaling in Japan dates back to the seventh century during the Yamato-Asuka period in ancient Japan."

Off on a tangent as usual...the original poster said " widespread"....no one says there wasnt some wooden boat in 7th century Japan hunting whales off Japan,s coast. Lets see how long before the standard " but other countries do the same and more " comes up.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

You might as well suck the mercury out of the old style thermometers as eating mercury filled whale.

Mercury in thermometers is now banned. So if its mercury you want, then you'll have to eat whale.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Whatever is rooted in their support, it is their country, their culture, and their right.

@ Old Man, Brilliantly argued. Still waiting for anyone to argue against this statement. Impossible.

Japans country, Japans culture, Japans right!

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

.the original poster said " widespread"....no one says there wasnt some wooden boat in 7th century Japan hunting whales off

There has been whaling in Japan in ages and it was widespread. The article is misleading.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

In the 7th century whale hunting was in a small open boat with a hand harpoon and was very much man against whale and often it was the whale which won killing the crew in the boat. They could only catch a single whale at one time and tow it back to shore.

 I know many Japanese who do love whale meat.

Not my wife or friends.

11 ( +20 / -9 )

Arrogance, ignorance and stubbornness. Sums up many of Japanese ancient traditions they simply can't let go

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Ganbare Japan!Today  10:08 am JST

Still waiting for anyone to argue against this statement. Impossible.

Looks like you missed a couple of comments.

But what's behind Japan's support of whaling? It's all in the last paragraph:

Both Abe and the policy chief of his Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai, are from whaling districts. Abe's includes Shimonoseki, where the factory ship for scientific whaling was based, while Taiji is part of Nikai's home base.

I wonder how fast whaling will disappear when these two are out of the picture.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I tried whale for the first time this weekend. My girlfriend said she ate it in elementary school. She said that she liked it, but to be honest, she is very much like her father in a dress. She dresses like an old man to bed too.. It is too funny sometimes!

The whale was fried. Maybe it is to make it more palatable for the majority of the customers who are Japanese in an old neighborhood. It wasn't that bad at all, but it reminded me of fried fat. It is definitely an acquired taste. It isn't something I would eat all the time. The restaurant I went to only serves it in small portions and fried. This is quite unusual because it is famous for selling fresh seafood in very large portions raw or cooked. That may be a clue into its popularity. The waitress said I was probably the only person this week to order it!

I couldn't imagine eating it as sashimi or sushi. I am also wondering if the taste is also affected by the large amount of mercury whales supposedly contain. My girlfriend noted that the taste was a little different from her memory.

I don't think the market is there for a lot of whale consumption. I am just concerned that the whalers without their limitations in place will overly hunt these animals because they will be subsidized by the government. Then we start getting all of these new labeling scandals too because they will try to force it on the populace and poison everyone in the process.

If the government stops its subsidies then I suggest letting the market die on its own.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

SilvafanToday  10:54 am JST

If the government stops its subsidies then I suggest letting the market die on its own.

The LDP are never going to stop the subsidies.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

"Japanese people don't like being told what they can do by foreigners. "

This is true, but why do the rest of us have to heavily subsidize it though taxes year after year...?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

beentofivecontinentsToday  11:18 am JST

... why do the rest of us have to heavily subsidize it though taxes year after year...?

Shinzo Abe wants to get re-elected by the good old boys in Yamaguchi.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It is easy to imagine that there are various opinions about whaling. I think it is not good to hide like South Korea and do whaling using fixed nets. If you support the opposite of whaling, I would like to confirm. Do you think that Japan, Russia, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands (Denmark territory), Canada and indigenous people who are alive captives are all "no good"? Or do you think that only commercial whaling is "no good"? I felt a little doubt. Thank you.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Quote: "Both Abe and the policy chief of his Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai, are from whaling districts. Abe's includes Shimonoseki, where the factory ship for scientific whaling was based, while Taiji is part of Nikai's home base."

It's not about diet and the necessity of whale meat for food. As the article notes, consumption of whale meat is meagre. It is about politics. Every dead whale is a vote for the LDP.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If the Japanese wish to argue that hunting whales is part of their culture then they should only hunt in rowboats using hand-held harpoons.

Claiming that hunting whales in a diesel powered ship with the latest technology is part of your "culture" is like claiming the output of your computer printer is "calligraphy".

1 ( +4 / -3 )

oldman_13Today  07:19 am JST

No one has a right to criticize Japan for whale hunting; after all, these same people would not appreciate it one iota if any Japanese person had an unfavorable opinion on some aspect of their culture.

If there is some aspect of my culture that's deeply wrong I'm fine with Japanese people criticising it all they like.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If there is some aspect of my culture that's deeply wrong I'm fine with Japanese people criticising it all they like.

I’m fine with them criticising aspects of my culture even if I think it’s right as long as they are informed and arguing in good faith.

The ‘nobody has a right’ argument is babyish.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

For whaling, I tend to support it on 3 principles.

Freedom. If some people want to eat whale and some people want to sell it to them, both parties should be allowed to do so. There are many things in the world that are niche products which don't have any great culture or history behind them, but they are still bought and sold. Integrity: The International Whaling Commission was created to manage whaling. That is to say, they can impose restrictions of whaling, but only as objectively necessary to prevent it from dying out. In short, you can restrict it only so the whaling can continue in the long run. This is not what is happening. We now have a ban, based on subjective feelings (oh whales. Smart. Cute. I puke) and populism. Competence: As a person who doesn't eat whale, I cannot appreciate its value to people who do. I also, BTW, cannot appreciate the value of religion to the believers, since I am quite completely atheist. When you are in such a state, you are in a sense less competent to assess the pros and cons of a measure (basically, you will see the cons) and as such, should take a restrained approach to limiting the rights of people who do see the pros. That is the basis of a plural, multicultural and varied society.
1 ( +5 / -4 )

Freedom

People very often want to do things that only benefit themselves, will harm others, or will harm nature. To cite "freedom" in defense of harm is ridiculous. If we insisted on such freedom, we wouldn't be able to outlaw things like female genital mutilation in Africa, killing gay people in Russia, killing elephants for their ivory tusks, and so on. This reasoning is specious.

The IWC allows whaling for non-commercial reasons, only. Japan did commercial whaling. That's why the IWC came down on them. Japan then left the IWC in order to continue hunting whales, which at least is more honest that what they were doing before, which was lying about it. Talk about integrity? SMH.

Just because people value eating a food, doesn't mean they should eat it. There are a lot of species on the planet that need protection for this exact reason - people would eat them into extinction. Also, when the method of hunting is a cruel as whaling is, I don't see a logical way to justify it. When butchering cows, chickens, pigs, etc there are ethics involved to minimize suffering, but that isn't the case with whaling. They literally hack them up while they are still alive. If a farmer can't butcher cows by driving them around with a pickup truck and then slowly stabbing them to death, then why are we allowing it to be done to whales?

Japan keeps hunting whale because the people in towns where it is a tradition do not want to give up their tradition. Part of it is nostalgia, of course, but it's also practical - giving up on whaling (and dolphins) would force them to find another way to make a living, and that prospect is quite daunting. The older people in particular would have a hard time learning an entirely new trade. It's a little bit similar to what is happening in the US in the coal mining towns - Trump did well there because he promised to bring back coal mining. The miners just can't let go of the past and can't understand why their profession no longer has a future. It's no different from whaling towns where the fisherman just can't imagine doing any other trade.

And, just like Trump and the coal miners, Abe and other politicians are using this issue to get votes. They know this is an important issue in whaling towns, and they know if they put the right spin on it, e.g., "outsiders are trying to take away your livlihood and I will stop them", they will get political support. It's a clear manipulation of the situation, which is the bread and butter of politics. Very Trump-esque.

I also think there is more than a little bit of stubbornness here. Japan sees whaling as a cultural tradition, akin to pottery making, kimonos, and so on. They don't like the idea of foreigners coming in and interfering, which is how they see the IWC and countries like Australia and the US who criticize Japan on whaling. However, they are ignoring that a lot of the opposition about whaling is coming from inside Japan. Why are the voices of the Japanese themselves being ignored by their own government?

Politics, tradition, stubbornness. That's about it.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Follow the money.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Most people do not like whale meat. The only one I know is my cat. Then it is just too stinky!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The answer to the question is easy: idiocy, stubbornness, and money grubbing by a few.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

But Japan has long felt vulnerable about food security. For the last 20 years, according to Agriculture Ministry data, only about 40 percent of the calories the average Japanese person consumes every day is domestically produced.

And the restrictive practices that Japan has in place has a lot to do with it, small scale farming another - Its the Japanese consumer that pays the price.

As competition for marine resources heats up, Japan - one of the world's largest consumers of fish - feels the pressure. Some, including conservatives in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party, worry that if Japan stops whaling, it may next be asked to stop fishing for something else, such as tuna.

Not really its over fishing that's causing marine resources to shrink, there's an Australian Company that has managed to breed in an artificial environment Southern Blue Fin Tuna fingerlings up to 8 days, the problem is when fish of this age are placed in the Southern Ocean they die, its just a case of more research (and money) then the Japanese can have all the Tuna they want.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

why dont they just make a whale farm in those 30 year like they do to fish farms

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My girlfriend said she ate it in elementary school. She said that she liked it, but to be honest, she is very much like her father in a dress. She dresses like an old man to bed too.. It is too funny sometimes!

Silvafan..lol... too funny thanks for sharing.

The answer to the question is easy: idiocy, stubbornness, and money grubbing by a few.

Yep, pretty much sums it up....throw in some right wing votes come election time.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Chip StarToday  08:59 am JST

Cobgratulations! You just confirmed that whaling has occurred in Japan for a very long time, but you did nothing to refute the assertion that consumption of whale meat was widespread before the end of Japan's war of aggression in Asia, a.k.a., Workd War II.

You mean he did nothing to refute the assertion that it was not widespread? If so I agree.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Japanese people don't like being told what they can do by foreigners. "

You feel that way because you think that Japanese people should be told what they can do by foreigners.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

oldman:

Whatever is rooted in their support, it is their country, their culture, and their right.

Seeing that this is wrong on 2 counts, this old talking point is probably the weakest argument for whaling. Firstly, industrialized mass whaling is quite new, and secondly there are lots of cultural traditions that are unacceptable today.

Japan is no more ignorant in hunting whales, than other countries are in how they process animals for food.

This one fails actually on 3 counts. Firstly, two wrongs dont make a right. Secondly, whales are not farm animals. And thirdly, yes, the lack of violation of control of animal slaughter is indeed an issue that is talked about at least as much as whaling.

I wonder why these old talking points are repeated. Are people just talking and not listening at all?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

WilliBToday 03:58 pm JST

I wonder why these old talking points are repeated. Are people just talking and not listening at all?

That is exactly right.

The argument from tradition fails, as does the argument from cultural relativism. Taken too far, cultural relativism could conceivably used to defend all kinds of abuses, from female genital mutilation to killing gay people to killing elephants for their ivory. Yet people keep using those two arguments, albeit in different forms, again and again.

The only explanation for the repetition of bad arguments is that people will just utterly ignore any evidence that contradicts what they want to believe.

I would be very, very interested and would listen very very carefully if someone came up with a cognizant, fully justified, logical reason to continue whaling, but I really haven't seen one.

The only one that even comes close is to point out that the whale the Japanese generally take are not endangered, and whaling won't decimate their population. But I think that argument can be countered with the point about animal cruelty. There is no humane way to hunt whales, full stop.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I would be very, very interested and would listen very very carefully if someone came up with a cognizant, fully justified, logical reason to continue whaling

Because Japan is an independent nation, with the right to use the world's resources the same as every other nation on this planet. That's all the justification any nation needs to whale if they so choose.

Now, the question is, is there a reason stop them from their human right to use the resources on this planet,. And that comes down to whether or not the resources exist to support that usage. That's the part that seems to be up for question in past decades, as the whaling moratorium has refused to perform any counts of whale stocks, as was required by the moratorium in 1990, yet has been blocked for the past 30 years.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Strangerland:

Because Japan is an independent nation, with the right to use the world's resources the same as every other nation on this planet. That's all the justification any nation needs to whale if they so choose.

That is a legal argument, it does not invalidate the other concerns about whaling. But even the legal argument is weak, considering that currently only 3 nations are whaling. Imagine for a second that China with its 1.5 billion population would start whaling, based on your argument. How long would any whale population last?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Oldman,

Stated like a proper sage.

And the same people arguing Japan should not meddle in "Brexit", TELLING Japan not to eat whatever they wanna it. Hypocrisy at its best.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

StrangerlandToday 04:40 pm JST

Because Japan is an independent nation, with the right to use the world's resources the same as every other nation on this planet. That's all the justification any nation needs to whale if they so choose.

Now, the question is, is there a reason stop them from their human right to use the resources on this planet,. And that comes down to whether or not the resources exist to support that usage. That's the part that seems to be up for question in past decades, as the whaling moratorium has refused to perform any counts of whale stocks, as was required by the moratorium in 1990, yet has been blocked for the past 30 years.

This same point has already been discussed several times. Japan doesn't exist in a vacuum. What Japan does in international waters affects other countries who also use those waters. What if, for example, every country just decided to ignore the agreed-upon international moratoriums on fishing certain species, because they felt it was "their right to use the world's resources"? There are bans on fishing certain types of fish for good reasons, just as there is a ban whaling for good reasons. Japan can't just ignore those reasons, go against the IWC, and then act surprised and outraged when other countries who adhere to the ban criticize Japan.

Now, that is not to say that the whales Japan hunts are endangered. As far as I understand it, minke whales are not in danger. But just because Japan could whale minke sustainably, that doesn't mean it should, because sustainability is not the only reason for the whaling ban.

For one thing, whaling is ethically wrong because the methods cross the boundary into blatant cruelty. That is why countries such as the US and Australia are protesting. They feel they have a moral right and obligation to protest the cruelty.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So as it is to now be “commercial whaling” presumably there will be no subsidies and it will stand on its own profitability?

girl_in_tokyo, well said.

Food security will not be addressed by the barbarous butchery of a few marine mammals that few if any prefer to eat. Reformation of the entire agricultural sector, farms consolidated in to economically viable units (with support for the small farmers to move on), efficiency’s in the supply chain to take out costs so that domestic production becomes competitive will do far more. Subsidies and barriers merely encourage and entrench inefficiencies to the advantage of the monopolies and the harm to the people at large.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

peeping tom:

TELLING Japan not to eat whatever they wanna it. Hypocrisy at its best.

Nobody was telling people not eat something. The issue here is about hunting and killing something. Strawman?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There is a case here for any country with the capability to do so to be justified in capturing and sinking ANY whaling related vessel ANYWHERE. Murdering whales for meat is an offense against Earth itself. The energy used by just one of these floating abatoirs required to hunt and kill these defenseless and highly valuable sharers of our planet would raise 10,000 additional cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, or grow 10,000 acres of grain. I find it odd that a culture which prides itself so much on its connection to Nature and its own collective intelligence would be so blind to LIFE, so ignorant of our pathological effect on our fellow LIFE, so conscienceless in ignoring the damage we do to whole species when we remove huge chunks of a genepool's collective information, how we cripple the future of these species' genepools, their ability to adapt to the very rapid changes we are causing in worldwide climate driving them to 'crash', that is, go extinct because their numbers have been decimated and their remaining store of allelic variation has dwindled to inbred and maladapted individuals no longer viable in their usual habitat. There is no benefit to Japan here and it casts the Japanese People as ignorant and careless murderers of Earth's glory.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@bullfighter

"Can someone explain why only Japanese whaling warrants condemnation"

It's hard to "explain" a false assumption.

"International Whaling Commission meetings have become an annual forum to criticize the Norwegians. The IWC has repeatedly passed resolutions calling for Norway (along with Japan and Iceland) to return to the international fold"

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/norwegians-hate-whale-mea_b_5800432?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAhE9KNyBHW5cRYx_DzDd3Rm9K4hjtHx3j8mqJglgN5nAMG8-QEuTu0DvemL_fhGHqEvaNZZP_uovIq1DcYr5ccsuu9-XACCh8esTfpaIQ_tgbpUjRGiEXh8IRvyY9ve7U9m-XYrDlRVsAq-fFInVuTqq12WLntG-EyCSR6p-UpA

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That is a legal argument, it does not invalidate the other concerns about whaling.

Well, there's not actually any legality at all. In an international stage, there are only agreements, and countries choose whether or not to respect them. NK has been showing that for years, and Trump has pointed it out explicitly over the past two years.

In the greater scheme of things, the law of the planet always has been, and still is, might makes right. And in that regard, Japan has the same right as any country to really do whatever they want, if they have the might to stop that.

Other concerns most definitely can be valid. The question is, are they?

Imagine for a second that China with its 1.5 billion population would start whaling, based on your argument. How long would any whale population last?

Not very long. And my argument isn't that Japan should be whaling, or that they are justified in doing so. I was answering this question:

I would be very, very interested and would listen very very carefully if someone came up with a cognizant, fully justified, logical reason to continue whaling

I gave a justification for it. Whether there is justification for opposing that, to the point of using might to do so, is a different question.

If whale stocks are endangered, then I believe that there is justification for opposition. What I'm unclear on is whether whale stocks can support Japan's whaling or not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This same point has already been discussed several times. Japan doesn't exist in a vacuum. What Japan does in international waters affects other countries who also use those waters. What if, for example, every country just decided to ignore the agreed-upon international moratoriums on fishing certain species, because they felt it was "their right to use the world's resources"?

We live in a might makes right world, whether you choose to acknowledge that or not. If a country decides to do that, they have as much right as any other country. And I agree it would be horrific if such a thing happened. I sure don't want the Japanese fishing these whales to extinction.

But, for me to come to the decision that Japan must be stopped, first requires determining if their actions will have an impact on the whale stocks. I don't see the moral issue with ethical whaling if done in a sustainable manner.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

IloveCoffeeToday 08:06 am JST

I like your analytical skills, and i agree with almost everything you said with the exception of the cultural relativism part.

I read your entire post, and it's good to see someone who is actually thinking about what they are writing instead of just being obtuse for the sake of being obtuse. However, I can find several holes in your reasoning.

First, please note that I said "when cultural relativism is taken to extremes." I recognize the importance of considering cultural values in context, but there absolutely do exist objective standards that apply to all human beings. One of these that one could disagree with is that it is morally and ethically wrong to cause unnecessary pain, suffering, and death. There are fundamental human rights built on this premise that are recognized worldwide, and we absolutely DO judge cultures that violate these fundamental rights. One good example is the worldwide condemnation of female genital mutilation. Even in countries where it is not illegal, there exist organizations dedicated to stop it. And there are worldwide organizations, such as the UN Council on Human Rights, that exist to address human rights violations.

This shows that it is simply not accurate to say that no one, anywhere, ever, has no right to judge another culture. This is actually what is meant by taking cultural relativism to an extreme.

One other objective standard that no one could disagree with is that it is morally and ethically wrong to cause unnecessary pain and suffering not only to humans, but also to animals. As an example, countries around the world strive to protect endangered species and make it illegal to hunt them. Likewise, it is considered moral and right to condemn other kinds of cruelty to animals, such as cockfighting, cutting the fins off sharks, trapping, and so on. Just like the cruelty to human beings that still exists, not all countries outlaw cruelty to animals, but these practices are objectively cruel and universally condemned. Again, it would be taking cultural relativism to an extreme to try to argue that, for example, just because a culture allows cockfighting, that somehow makes it ethical, and therefore no one is allowed to criticize the country that allows it.

That is the same with whaling. The way whales are hunted is cruel and causes horrible pain and suffering.

But they don't apply the same principle when it comes to animals or insects. People kill insects for example all the time. Is the pain an insect feels less significant than the pain a whale feels? Is little pain justifiable but a lot of pain not? Why? Where do you draw the line? This is purely subjective.

It's not purely subjective. It's based on sound objective reasoning and logic. We don't go around pulling the wings off flies or torturing them before killing them, and we don't kill insects indiscriminately and for no reason as you seem to be suggesting we do. We kill insects that are pests, that spread disease, that harm the ecosystem, that are out of control, and so on. There are good, objective reasons to kill them.

Good objective arguments can also be made for vegetarianism and veganism. There are cultures that completely ban the destruction of life to benefit oneself, such as the Jains. These are very good arguments with a lot of merit, but they are not without flaws. As an example, there are places in the world where people would be unable to survive if they didn't kill and eat animals. The point being, these kinds of right and wrong judgments should be based on objective, sound logic and reasoning.

And, as mentioned, that objective reasoning includes "no unnecessary pain and suffering. There are two points against whaling that can be made in conjunction with that.

There are laws governing how animals are to be treated when they are butchered in order to minimize pain and suffering. Japan has such laws, but for some reason does not apply those laws to the butchering of whales or dolphins - where is the logic in that? Whales and dolphins are also mammals and feel pain in the same way, so the law is not applied logically or equally. And the only reason for that is because if they did apply the law logically, they wouldn't be able to keep killing them. That makes it both hypocritical and self-serving.

Unnecessary pain and killing - people do not need to eat whale and dolphin meat, because other kinds of meat are easier and cheaper to get. Whale and dolphin isn't even that popular.

There is literally no good reason to keep butchering whales and dolphins for meat. It causes unnecessary pain and suffering, and one needs to eat it to survive. The government allows it for purely political reasons, and that is unethical in the extreme.

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