Japan And Whaling

The Controversial Issue Returns

At the beginning of July Japan turned around their stance on something that many people find morally wrong – whaling. Whaling is the hunting and killing of whales for their meat which is something that previously the country of Japan had agreed to refrain from. After joining the International Whaling Commission late in the 20th Century Japan put a stop to its commercial whaling front in 1986. Since then apparently whales have been killed for ‘scientific reasons’ but even so not on the scale they once were. However, despite protest on many fronts Japan has stepped out of the commission which governs the agreed rules for whaling in shared waters and began hunting the great sea mammals once again. Because they couldn’t come to an agreement with the IWC about allowing whaling with limits, they left altogether to resume under their own rule. This may seem like an outlandish and uncalled for move by the nation, yet when looked at objectively it may not be as bad as the shocking sound of it may first seem.

Whale
Whale

A Cultural Issue

Japanese culture is often seen as odd and eccentric at the best of times by the western world. This petite Asian country with a large urban and rural population has leaked its cultural flair into other realms gladly as anyone who loves manga, sushi, or wacky TV game shows will tell you. Yet whaling is a part of an even more historical cultural heritage that is even more misunderstood. Each country has their own norms when it comes to eating particular animals, some people wouldn’t dream of eating a cow however others consume beef as a substantial part of their diet. The Japanese argue that consuming whale meat is a large part of their culture and so have chosen to return to hunting the animal. The infamous satirical cartoon South Park mocked the Japanese and their seemingly savage urge to hunt whales and dolphins back in 2009, and once again it seems Matt Stone and Trey Parker one step ahead of real life issues.

Whaling
Whaling

How Unethical Is Whaling

As far as how brutal the act of whaling actually is all falls upon individuals faced with the issue. In today’s modern and growing liberal society it isn’t out of the question to say that many people are strongly against the hunting and killing of any animal. Veganism is spreading like wildfire and the moral side of human interactions with animals is constantly being altered. However, fishing is still very popular and legal in most places around the world, so why are whales different from other sea dwelling species? The fear of extinction is a cause for concern, though the breeds hunted by the Japanese aren’t endangered and so far, they intend to apply their own numbers for excessive hunting which seem to be reasonable compared with past expeditions. In reality as long as Japan doesn’t put strain on any particular species, they aren’t doing a great deal of harm. Compared to the inefficient, polluting and clearly unethical treatment of mass farmed cows and battery hens, Japan aren’t breeding these things on mass in gross conditions and certainly aren’t filling the food market with hormones and dangerous antibodies. In the end whaling may just be something that doesn’t sit right with westerners.