Monday, February 13, 2006

Whaling or Do you want blubber with those fries?

killer whale
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
"But Im Whaling I feel like Jonah
Never mean you no harm" Dave Dobbyn

By sheer chance the day after I visited the Aquarium the Daily Yomiuri ran an article "Japan faces whale meat glut after boosting catch"(Saturday Feb 11 2006)
It seems after increasing its whale catch program in the name of "research" there is now an oversupply of whale meat.Prices have dropped about 30% in the five years up to 2004.
Despite this glut and low consumer demand Tokyo plans to kill in 2006 about 1070 minke whales up 400 from last year.To quote from the paper "Tokyo says the program is needed to establish reliable information on whale populations and habits-data that Tokyo says can only be gleaned by killing them".One trader is quoted thus "Japanese will never forget the taste of whale.Its part of our culture.Its part of our DNA."
While I'm all in favour of respecting culture and tradition there must be some limits placed in terms of reason,legality,science and basic economics.
Why increase the supply of a product that is not in demand.Further oversupply will only drive the price down further.Maybe the logic is that a decrease in prices will make it more attractive to consumers.Particularly given the current problems with U.S beef.
From a scientific stand there must be better ways to gain data than by killing the subject being studied.
If killing is necessary,why in such huge numbers.
Wouldnt a smaller,more selective sample suffice?Then again are these "research hunts" just a euphemism and a way to dodge the International Whaling Commissions ban on commerical whaling?
When does "research" become "commerical" and vice versa?
After visiting the aquarium the thought of whale meatballs and whale spaghetti bolognese doesnt seem so appetizing.

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