The Whale Hunt in Japan (My Thoughts)

As certain shows on Animal Planet have made known, Japan still hunts whales for food.  There is no real reason as far as needing this type of meat, but some people do eat whale meat and it is a part of their past culture.  I’m not sure of all the little details behind the numbers and politics and such, but I do know there are animal rights groups from Australia battling it out with Japanese whale ships.  Sometimes things can get pretty heated.

Who do I think is right?  I do not think either side is totally in the right actually.  I do understand it is a part of Japanese culture to eat whale meat, but I don’t think they should eat whales anymore because they are endangered.  From what I understand (from Japanprobe and a couple of other sites) the demand for whale meat has gone down and the government is more worried about preserving tradition rather than needing whale meat for its population to survive.  I understand that Japan eats a lot of fish, and that whales were once important to their diet, but I think that sometimes practices need to change in order to help the environment.  And I’m not saying Japan is the only country that should take these kinds of measures, the US also needs to do its part in preserving the environment, but I don’t think we are stepping up to the plate at this moment.

As far as the animal rights activists go, their tactics are horrible.  I don’t feel like they are even trying to understand where the Japanese are coming from.  Instead of listening and trying to work out a solution in which both sides can come to some sort of  an agreement (say at least cutting down on the number of whales hunted) they are attacking the Japanese for this old cultural practice.  That is one of the worst ways to go about it, because it makes the Japanese whalers into the enemies.  If it were me I would feel like my culture was being attacked unjustly, which would make it harder for me to change my mind.  I think people need to accept that it is an old cultural practice first before they go out and try to change it.  I also believe that they should not board whaling ships and try to arrest people because that just makes tensions worse.

I think this conflict over whaling can be resolved as soon as people try to understand each other.  And I also don’t think this will be the last conflict over fishing related things because of the overfishing of tuna.  If the Japanese people feel threatened over whale meat (a product they don’t even eat a lot of) then it’s going to be a lot harder to get them to change their mind about overfishing of tuna (which they eat a lot of).  I think that by just trying to understand where they are coming from though, that would help a lot in resolving these problems.

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