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Captain Planet would be proud.
February 16, 2011 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Japan has suspended its whale hunt after pressure from world governments and harassment by eco-vigilante group Sea Shepherd. Previously.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (132 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. They finally did it.

.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:56 PM on February 16, 2011


Okay, I take back all the mean things I said about Captain Mouthbreather.
Well done, Sea Shepherd. Well done.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:59 PM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't support Sea Shepherd's actions and I'm not proud of the Australian government for supporting and harboring them. I'm worried about what tensions this may cause with Japan. However, I recognize that my views are probably in the minority.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:59 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yay yay yay yay yay!
posted by dmvs at 7:00 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Score one for the good guys.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:07 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow! They must know everything that they could scientifically know about whales now!
posted by robotot at 7:10 PM on February 16, 2011 [18 favorites]


This is such great news, I have been waiting for this for a long time! Three cheers for Sea Shepherd!
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 7:11 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whoa. I never thought I'd see the day.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:11 PM on February 16, 2011


I'm with you, Lovecraft. I'm glad to hear Japan's finally decided to stop whaling; I still think Sea Shepherd's activities are reprehensible, no matter their motives.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:12 PM on February 16, 2011


Whales: whew!

Hope the Norwegians are next.
posted by bwg at 7:13 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whaling ban must stay, say 200 scientists
posted by Brian B. at 7:23 PM on February 16, 2011


Whales: whew!

Hope the Norwegians are next.


Indeed! I hope that Japanese whalers stop hunting Norwegians soon!
posted by vidur at 7:23 PM on February 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


I still won't rest until I know if whales are, in fact, delicious.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:31 PM on February 16, 2011


I'm moving to Japan in May, and I'd really like to not encounter whale meat on any menus.
posted by dmvs at 7:31 PM on February 16, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "I don't support Sea Shepherd's actions and I'm not proud of the Australian government for supporting and harboring them. I'm worried about what tensions this may cause with Japan. However, I recognize that my views are probably in the minority"

Well Japanese conservation groups are pleased, some noisy right-wing oyaji will complain loudly and most of the population probably aren't even paying attention.
posted by gomichild at 7:34 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This sounds great, I just hope it stays great.
posted by Felex at 7:37 PM on February 16, 2011


"Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "I don't support Sea Shepherd's actions and I'm not proud of the Australian government for supporting and harboring them. I'm worried about what tensions this may cause with Japan. However, I recognize that my views are probably in the minority"

Well Japanese conservation groups are pleased, some noisy right-wing oyaji will complain loudly and most of the population probably aren't even paying attention.
posted by gomichild at 7:34 PM on February 16 [+] [!] "

so this won't effect Japanese arcades, import game stores, and sushi restaurants in Sydney? Good to know
I'd like to try whale meat at least once. I'm not sure if it's for the taste or because I'm trying to sound edgy, though
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:37 PM on February 16, 2011


I still won't rest until I know if whales are, in fact, delicious.

I've heard it's actually pretty nasty, not good at all. I guess the old people that trained themselves to like it are finally dying out.
posted by Malor at 7:39 PM on February 16, 2011


Someday we'll be able to just grow whale meat in huge vats. No biggie.
posted by ian1977 at 7:40 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


As gomichild says, no one really eats the stuff. The argument that there is some ancient tradition is mostly false. Up until recently, most of the population subsisted on rice and vegetables, with very little animal protein. Whale became a thing during the war. Once protein had become more common, it was a staple in school lunches. Because of shortages during the war, whale meat became common in school lunches. All of these warm fuzzy memories of whale are based on shortages leading to the consumption of an undesirable foodstuff in war-time.

And, yeah, I've eaten it. I was in a position where I couldn't really say no, and as much as I wanted to lecture and shout, it wouldn't have done a damn bit of good. It tastes awful, and has a very unpleasant liver-like texture. It's not remotely pleasant, but it is, unfortunately, not uncommon on restaurant menus, though it is very rarely ordered.

Or, what Malor said.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:42 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Might not be over yet.

From the SMH article: "Revenue for the whaling industry is falling in Japan as whale-meat sales plummet". Because there is no whale meat available because of the actions of environmentalists like Sea Shepherd? (supply / demand economics would suggest not). I would hate to think that all those efforts were in vain and that whale meat has simply gone out of fashion?
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 7:42 PM on February 16, 2011


"I would hate to think that all those efforts were in vain and that whale meat has simply gone out of fashion?
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 7:42 PM on February 16 [+] [!] "

People are turning into hippies. All the generations - kids and adults - are concerned about 'sustainability' and 'carbon footprints' and 'animal rights'. While this trend continues, we will see more of this. The needs of animals will be put before the needs of humans. Things like whale meat will die out. Cities will be reduced. The trees will return, and be worshiped.

Sorry, not sure where that came from. Just got a strange flash of anger reading that quote.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:44 PM on February 16, 2011


But the porpoise massacre continues (they must taste better).
posted by 445supermag at 7:45 PM on February 16, 2011


I'm worried about what tensions this may cause with Japan.

That's weak appeasement. The Sea Shepard are heroes who put their lives on the line to do the right thing and enforce the law in a lawless place and they won. It's downright amazing and cool, in particular since the ship is named 'Bob Barker' (whale meat has no price).
posted by stbalbach at 7:47 PM on February 16, 2011 [19 favorites]


I guess he can drive his expensive and useless batman boat off into the sunset now.
posted by Artw at 7:51 PM on February 16, 2011


Who says it's the 'right thing' though? Was killing the whales damaging the world's ecosystem? And were they enforcing Japan's law or their own?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:51 PM on February 16, 2011


"I don't support Sea Shepherd's actions and I'm not proud of the Australian government for supporting and harboring them […] I still won't rest until I know if whales are, in fact, delicious."

Right.
posted by wreckingball at 7:52 PM on February 16, 2011


The scare quotes around 'sustainability' and 'carbon footprints' and 'animal rights' are a great touch.
posted by box at 7:55 PM on February 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


But what about all the scientific research that still needs to be done on these whales?
posted by Flashman at 7:55 PM on February 16, 2011


People are turning into hippies. All the generations - kids and adults - are concerned about 'sustainability' and 'carbon footprints' and 'animal rights'. While this trend continues, we will see more of this. The needs of animals will be put before the needs of humans. Things like whale meat will die out. Cities will be reduced. The trees will return, and be worshiped.
This ridiculous hyperbole certainly does your 'minority view' no favours.
posted by unliteral at 7:55 PM on February 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


Would we rather the oceans were lousy with out of control whale populations?
posted by ian1977 at 7:56 PM on February 16, 2011


I meant that it's unlikely to affect any trade agreements or tourism between the countries Japan relies on a lot of imports from Australia of raw materials.

[via MOFA]
(B) Japan's Imports from Australia
JPY3,242 billion (2008-2009)
Principal import items: Coal, iron ore, natural gas, beef, gold, wood chips, aluminum ingots, alumina, petroleum and petroleum products, wool

Also in general consumption is down - Whale meat stocks hit peak atop 6,000 tons.

It's not an appealing meat. Most people would choose tuna or beef over whale any day.

You don't see it very often but I have found it as canned curry, sashimi and bacon.
posted by gomichild at 7:57 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Happy for the whales. Wonder what you people would have said if the Sea Shepherd guys had fucked up and gotten some Japanese fishermen maimed or killed. Good riddance? Bummer for them? They knew the risks?

These Sea Shepherd idiots were like a broken fucking clock. Only right twice a day.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:57 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also it's not just about the killing but also that whale hunting is in no respect humane and we mostly expect that our food sources are killed humanely.

Oh yeah... and the whole for scientific research issue is so transparent it's infuriating.
posted by gomichild at 7:59 PM on February 16, 2011


Random factoid: when I was in Muji in Tokyo last year around February I was surprised to see a food section (didn't know they did that; it reminded me of Ikea and their Swedish meatballs for some reason), and even more surprised to see stylishly designed cans of whale meat. I almost bought one but a very American feeling of revulsion washed over me.
posted by dubitable at 8:04 PM on February 16, 2011


Nobody here likes Shark Fin Soup, right?
posted by vidur at 8:06 PM on February 16, 2011


People are turning into hippies. All the generations - kids and adults - are concerned about 'sustainability' and 'carbon footprints' and 'animal rights'. While this trend continues, we will see more of this. The needs of animals will be put before the needs of humans. Things like whale meat will die out. Cities will be reduced. The trees will return, and be worshiped.

This would be a bad thing?!
To me that reads more like a manifesto.
posted by Flashman at 8:16 PM on February 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


"This would be a bad thing?!
To me that reads more like a manifesto.
posted by Flashman at 8:16 PM on February 16 [1 favorite +] [!] "

I get a bit carried away. I've lived among very eco-conscious people and I've tended to go a bit far in the other direction. I've got friends who've called for whalers to be killed, and who quite explicitly prefer animals to people
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:27 PM on February 16, 2011


So is there any evidence that the Sea Shepard group was the main force in bringing this about? Because the article states that Japan was under pressure from many quarters on this issue, and it'd be a shame to give all the credit to the group with the greatest talent for grandstanding.
posted by indubitable at 8:28 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


People are turning into hippies. All the generations - kids and adults - are concerned about 'sustainability' and 'carbon footprints' and 'animal rights'. While this trend continues, we will see more of this. The needs of animals will be put before the needs of humans. Things like whale meat will die out. Cities will be reduced. The trees will return, and be worshiped.

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries

This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield

Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle

posted by furiousthought at 8:31 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: I get a bit carried away. I've lived among very eco-conscious people and I've tended to go a bit far in the other direction. I've got friends who've called for whalers to be killed, and who quite explicitly prefer animals to people

Well, to some degree, putting species ahead of people makes sense. The planet has a finite amount of species, and no more will be created on any timescale we can comprehend (except for bacteria and such.) A species can contribute a lot to humanity over the long time scales that out species might exist over. Think how few species will persist if humanity survives, say, a hundred thousand years with our current attitude.

It's not so much putting animals ahead of people as it is considering the welfare of future generations.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:36 PM on February 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


Hooray for less whale meat, but I'd hate to think that Sea Shepherd had some sort of impact -- they're just ideologically motivated bullies, no less than a group of Hindu environmentalists blockading an American slaughterhouse would be.
posted by shii at 8:38 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forgive me for the harsh language, that comment will probably be deleted anyway. But between mentioning how much he hates sea shepherd, wants to know what whale meat tastes like and bitching about 'hippes' and 'animal rights', i doubt mine would be a minority position.
posted by dead cousin ted at 8:38 PM on February 16, 2011


Nobody here likes Shark Fin Soup, right?

I had it once in Singapore and I thought it was delicious. I was with a huge group of people, and they ordered it; I didn't know what I was getting into, but I was like, "okay, it's already here so I'm going to try it."

There was a Chinese-Singaporean next to me who was really into scuba diving and preservation, and he started explaining to me how he would never touch the stuff again (he abstained) after finding out what they did to the sharks to get their fins (not much actually, other than chopping their fins off and then dropping them back in the water to die a slow, painful death). But I guess he grew up eating it at special occasions and really loved it. I think it's different from whale meat in that sense: people love the stuff.

Anyways, I'll never touch the stuff again but it was interesting to try once in my life. Maybe I'm damned now, I dunno...
posted by dubitable at 8:40 PM on February 16, 2011


People are turning into hippies.

Hippies are people too, man!

flashes peace sign
posted by mannequito at 8:42 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is something so appealing about eating something ridiculous. Like shark fins, or whale meat, or chilled monkey brain. I can totally get why people want them some whale meat. But, tsk, tsk, whales is good people.

Whale meat in a vat. All meats in a vat. It will solve so many problems.
posted by ian1977 at 8:44 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


So, could someone more educated than I explain why the hell they chop off a shark's fin and toss the rest? I mean, if the rest of the shark is tasty... send it my way. Or is this one of those aphrodisiac things a la Human Horn?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:45 PM on February 16, 2011


I had shark fajitas once (I generally will try weird new meats when they're on the menu unless I know they're something horrifying) and found them sort of over-chewy, but it's possible that I am just a bit of a moron for trying that at a seafood place in New Mexico.

Lay off Lovecraft in Brooklyn, he's new here and is just getting used to it-- I've watched him around the site and am pretty sure he's not an asshole.
posted by NoraReed at 8:45 PM on February 16, 2011


I wouldn't eat too much shark. Even if the particular shark species is fished responsibly, they bioaccumulate mercury really bad. Definitely don't eat big, long-lived sharks.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:47 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks
I think I've eaten shark. Probably not the fin. It tasted a bit like tuna?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:47 PM on February 16, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn:"I get a bit carried away. I've lived among very eco-conscious people and I've tended to go a bit far in the other direction. I've got friends who've called for whalers to be killed, and who quite explicitly prefer animals to peopl"

Well no one here is saying that at all, rather it's more along the lines of - yay go whales, commenting on the pointlessness of whaling in 2011 and observing that while yay whales is good - the tactics of the Sea Shepard may be questionable.
posted by gomichild at 8:48 PM on February 16, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "People are turning into hippies."

I get the same sort of sick feeling when I hear 'hippie' or 'granola' used to casually dismiss someone that I get when I hear the word 'nigger'.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:56 PM on February 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


I get a bit carried away. I've lived among very eco-conscious people and I've tended to go a bit far in the other direction.

You know, I used to have a friend who was like this. Whenever he found out someone was a vegetarian, including me, he would proclaim that for every cow I didn't eat, he'd eat two. And you know what I thought? I thought, man, I wish my friend didn't act like such a boorish and disrespectful dick about this. I wish he was capable of showing even a modicum of respect for the fact that I feel really deeply about this. There's no excuse for this.
posted by Subcommandante Cheese at 8:58 PM on February 16, 2011 [17 favorites]


Shark is a common meat in Australia where it's known as flake. The flesh is white and flakey and often sold battered or crumbed. Kids like it because there aren't any bones.

The fins from these sharks are sometimes used in Sharks Fin soup. It's illegal to just cut off the fin and throw back the shark in Australia.
posted by gomichild at 8:59 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, we're in a hell of a state if an essentially non-violent group like Sea Shepherd gets slammed for "questionable tactics."

Their real agression was against the pirate whalers, which they single-handedly shut down in the '80s - the Japanese Fleet stuff was mostly just showboating to get cameras pointed their way. This is because they needed cameras pointed their way to make sure that the Japanese government had to answer for their whaling at home and abroad.

Or did you think handwringing and online-petition-signing would have changed a single goddamn thing?

Questionable tactics would have been sinking the fleet at port... something the Sea Shepherd Society can and has done to other whalers in the past. This is them playing nice and by the book - yes, even the ramming - if they weren't, the Japanese Navy would have sent them to the bottom a long time back.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:01 PM on February 16, 2011 [19 favorites]


I'm quite conflicted about Sea Shepherd, mainly because of its founder & leader, Paul Watson. For several months now Peter Bethune, Captain of the ill-fated Ady Gil, has been making serious accusations about Paul. The last one is pure supposition & ought to be discounted as such; but the first four aren't so easily dismissed. If true they paint a portrait of a man who's willing to lie about & cheat his own allies to further his cause. Sadly I've come to believe that it's likely that in his zeal to protect the whales Paul has lost any sense of right & wrong when it comes to his fellow man. Yes I want to protect & preserve the whales & I believe that direct action of the kind that Sea Shepherd engages in is justifiable to that end. But not at the expense of intentionally hurting those who stand with me.
posted by scalefree at 9:02 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most Australians have eaten shark of some sort, often without realising it, as 'Flake' is a term used here for sharks of various species, usually small ones. I've had it, it's a nice white fish.

However, I do have concerns about eating larger shark such as those used for shark fin soup though because of its sustainability and also, increasingly, mercury issues. Small sharks? Just another sort of fish. The usual rules apply given over-fishing, damaging fishing harvests, etc.

Now back to the whales and dolphins. I don't have an ecological argument against eating them, although I am sure there are plenty of such arguments out there.

No, I am going to argue from sheer hippy* sentimentality and from unadulterated illogical anthropomorphism.

These animals are ancient and long-lived and many species form complex societies and have elaborate and beautiful forms of communication. They're not cattle or sheep. They're such beautiful examples of the variety of life of on our planet and of the power of evolution.

I have no proof, but I really think that among whales there are species are "conscious" beings which have internal lives resembling those of humans, if inconceivably alien.**

In short, I don't think we should eat them, just as I don't think we should eat higher primates, dogs, or other animals that demonstrate what I'd rather sentimentally call "higher functions", or eagles and bears and wolves and big cats.

That said, I've had concerns about Sea Shepherd's tactics at times, but I am very glad to see Japan take steps away from whaling.

*I am not a vegetarian, I do eat meat, but I choose to eat local, sustainably produced meat as much as possible. I don't prefer animals to humans, in the main, but I do think as the so-called most intelligent life-form on this planet we have a role in guardianship of animal species that we need to take very seriously. The end.

**This view may entirely hinge on whacked on science fiction I read as a teenager.
posted by jasperella at 9:08 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I stay away from shark's fin, too, though my wife (and a very large number of Japanese people) adore it. If there were any way to be reasonably certain that the fin being served came from, as mentioned above, the sort of shark that ended up as flake, and could be reasonably sure it wasn't contributing to the scarcity of the species, I might give it a try. But with the demand so freaking huge, it feels like even going with the sustainable option would be feeding into the industry that survives off of animals being cruelly maimed and left to die.

As for this being a big turnaround for Japan, I don't know that this is anything but them calling this season off. Possibly as a result of WWII nostalgia, as I mentioned above, whale meat is a source of pride amongst the right wing here. As nasty, and disgusting as it is, there are people willing to eat it as a matter of nationalism, which is so far divorced from reality as I understand it to be utterly incomprehensible, right up there with cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:20 PM on February 16, 2011


It really doesn't matter if you think whales should or shouldn't be saved. The Japanese have been violating international treaties flagrantly for decades. If you care about the rule of international law, you'll be against Japanese whaling.
posted by koeselitz at 9:20 PM on February 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Are you guys telling me they lop off the shark fin and just toss the rest? I've had shark fin soup a few times, but I've also had shark steaks. There are also a fuck load of sharks out there are there not?
posted by Ad hominem at 9:24 PM on February 16, 2011


Ad hom, yes, that absolutely happens, and it's a problem. Previously, on metafilter!
posted by flaterik at 9:30 PM on February 16, 2011


Ad hominem, there are a lot less than you'd think, and some species are threatened. Shark's fin is a delicacy, shark meat, not so much. When one piece of the animal is worth its weight in gold, and the other bits worth, well, the price of fish, most illegal fisherman tend to do the hack-and-leave-to-die method.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:31 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ad hominem: There are also a fuck load of sharks out there are there not?

Um, no, not really. Sharks are generally pretty high on the food chain and aren't the fastest in terms of reproduction or growth.

There are still some shark species which are abundant enough that they can still be fished responsibly, but it has to be done sensibly and without waste. I mean, we've severely impacted the herring and the sardine. With as many people as are alive now, you can't recklessly and wastefully fish for anything without consequences.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:32 PM on February 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Are you guys telling me they lop off the shark fin and just toss the rest? I've had shark fin soup a few times, but I've also had shark steaks. There are also a fuck load of sharks out there are there not?

See here.
posted by Brian B. at 9:33 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still won't rest until I know if whales are, in fact, delicious.

I am going to make myself unpopular, right now. I ate whale once. And I liked it. A lot. A lot.

Whale meat is wonderful. It tastes like a combination of beef and the best liver you've ever had in your entire life. I went to a restaurant in Tokyo that specialized in whale, and they had a set meal which is best described as "different parts of whale, prepared many ways". Of the many ways, my favourite was lightly fried, diced into small cubes, on top of rice. When fried, whale meat has a similar texture to beef, but it's a deep purple colour and has a strong "meaty" taste. Beef, even really good beef, does not compare. I don't have the right words to accurately describe the taste, which is frustrating. But it tastes amazing. Really.

I have no comment on the practice of whaling. But I think it's relevant to say here that in one persons opinion at least whale meat is, in fact, fucking delicious. That trip was a few years ago and I still sometimes think about that meal. On the same trip I also ate really good Kobe beef, and incredible sushi from Tsukiji market, and a whole slew of other things which left a large impression in my brain. And while I think about those meals too, I don't think about them as much as I think about that one time when I got to eat whale. The taste lingers. It gets in your brain, and it stays.

It bears repeating: whale is meat is fucking delicious.
posted by tracert at 9:38 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Damn. I guess as with most delicacies from other cultures I didn't really get it. Certainly not worth killing whole shark for, I guess I figured they used the whole shark and the fin was desirable because there was one per shark, like a hanger steak.

Now I kinda feel bad.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:45 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tracert, I kind of hate you, but not because you ate whale...

incredible sushi from Tsukiji market

Damn you!
posted by flaterik at 9:46 PM on February 16, 2011


The next thing you know, we'll all be enjoying life to the fullest with the knowledge that our grandchildren will have the same opportunities to experience this beautiful planet the same way we did. But won't someone think of the children who will have slightly less money and meat choices?!

Saving the world is clearly destroying America, and it must be stopped.
posted by notion at 9:47 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I say we just kill and eat Paul Watson.
posted by Artw at 9:47 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I say we just kill and eat Paul Watson.

I've always wanted to try human.
posted by NoraReed at 9:53 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, these days almost all fishing is unsustainable. Shark populations are plummeting, and shark fins are absolutely harvested in a completely reprehensible manner. Many whales are endangered, and the sperm whale, a target of the Japanese fleet, is vulnerable.

Personally, I think that putting the health of the global ecosystem ahead of my stomach is the least I can do.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:53 PM on February 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


Maybe trash vortex is edible?
posted by Artw at 9:54 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


flaterik, random note of evil: I live in Japan, but I'm not a big fan of sushi. I can take it or leave it. My cousin, who lives in Chicago, is a devoted sushi lover. Absolutely adores the stuff. When he came to visit, our planned sushi dinner didn't work out (timing was off, there was some food poisoning involved), and we ended up getting sushi together at the airport, right before he left.

He said it was the best sushi he'd ever had. Still talks about it to this day. Airport sushi. Even the airport sushi is delicious.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:55 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Paul Watson.. Julian Assange.. Richard Stallman.. I think a lot of these zealots, and I use the term in respect here, may be Not Nice People. But their crusades should be considered independent of their personalities. Or recognize that perhaps an adversarial attitude is helpful when going up against some enemies.
posted by formless at 9:58 PM on February 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Like shark fins, or whale meat, or chilled monkey brain.

I thought monkey brain was best served fresh from the live monkey's skull? That's what Mondo Cane taught me, and I'm gonna believe it until the day I day, regardless of how many monkeys I eat.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:58 PM on February 16, 2011


I would highly recommend whale watching to all mefites. Go while we can still find them. It won't change your life, but it is real in a way that watching them in high-definition on Nat Geo isn't.
posted by vidur at 9:58 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


As I mentioned, I'm really happy to hear this news and I too hope that action continues to be taken to protect Sharks from shark finning.

The way I see it, I am on a level playing field with every-other-living-being on this earth. My life is no more important than say, a whale's or a shark's. Yes, we may have large EQ's, but we need to remember that in the end, we are all on this planet together. We are not any more important than any other animal that co-exists here with us, and we need to learn to treat them with the respect that they rightly deserve.

Thank you Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd for helping keep these wonderful creatures alive and on this earth for many more years to come.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 10:05 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, we're in a hell of a state if an essentially non-violent group like Sea Shepherd gets slammed for "questionable tactics."

Most people instinctively fear aggression, so this is a natural response to their confusion (but they'll probably sort it out if they can avoid identifying with the passive, robotic nature of the whaling fleet). Others, though, seem threatened by public emotions toward whales. It's like nobody ever gave them a hug so they might feel passed over for an anonymous sea mammal.
posted by Brian B. at 10:05 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ghidorah, luckily I live in Los Angeles, which I'm led to believe is pretty much #2 in the world behind Tokyo, but I do believe your airport sushi is better than ours.

(of course our airport sushi is pretty much a wolfgang puck, since LAX is terrible, but that's another issue)

But I'm also led to believe Tsukiji is one of those places that makes Tokyo #1. I gotta make it there someday.... and I do wave my fist in make believe anger at your not appreciating the food awesomeness at your doorstep.

Also, hey, whales and sharks: Pretty great. Let's keep them around too, and also the fish. I really like eating the fish. I promise to eat less if it means I can eat it forever.
posted by flaterik at 10:18 PM on February 16, 2011


I thought monkey brain was best served fresh from the live monkey's skull?

All I know is, while monkey brains are popular in Cantonese cuisine, they are not often to be found in Washington D.C.
posted by hippybear at 10:18 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


He said it was the best sushi he'd ever had. Still talks about it to this day. Airport sushi. Even the airport sushi is delicious.

I had sushi at the airport in Narita and it was pretty decent, definitely. But the stuff at Tsukiji (Daiwa zushi is where I've been) is so good in terms of price to quality ratio...I mean, it's just so fucking good period. Oh god, the toro...
posted by dubitable at 10:19 PM on February 16, 2011


Man, we're in a hell of a state if an essentially non-violent group like Sea Shepherd gets slammed for "questionable tactics"

I feel like I'm going to get slammed for this, since NHK is pretty much my main source of news on the matter, but throwing caustic chemicals onto the whaling ships doesn't quite fit into my definition of non-violence. If this announcement is in any way attributable to their actions, bully for them, but their methods aren't exactly Ghandi-esque.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:20 PM on February 16, 2011


dubitable, flaterik, yeah, the sushi at Tsukiji is that good. As I said, I'm not a big fan, and I don't particularly like red-fleshed fish, so toro, katsuo, all that is right out for me. I mentioned this at the restaurant we went to, and they made me a tasting menu of white fleshed fish and shellfish. When I saw the tsubogai, well, I kind of flinched, but it was pretty tasty. The tai, on the other hand... wow.

Now, raw horse, that shit is delicious. And chicken knuckles. Mmm, chicken knuckles.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:23 PM on February 16, 2011


Watch out chicken, and cow.
posted by buzzman at 10:25 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I ate whale once. And I liked it. A lot. A lot.

I thought it was like liver, only blander and with an odd texture. Of course, the whale meat I ate was part of a school lunch, first whale meat school lunch in 20 years, so it is possible they had forgotten how to make it taste good.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:25 PM on February 16, 2011


Paul Watson.. Julian Assange.. Richard Stallman.. I think a lot of these zealots, and I use the term in respect here, may be Not Nice People.

I wouldn't put Stallman in the same category as Julian & Watson. He's more unsocialized. Gets his hair in his soup (which still haunts my nightmares), that sort of thing. Doesn't know how to be a People. Either way, it is really hard to spend any time around him.
posted by scalefree at 10:30 PM on February 16, 2011


Are you guys telling me they lop off the shark fin and just toss the rest? I've had shark fin soup a few times, but I've also had shark steaks. There are also a fuck load of sharks out there are there not?

KQED Forum on Proposed California Shark Fin Soup Ban
posted by benzenedream at 10:38 PM on February 16, 2011


With so much evidence that sharks are being grossly over-fished and whales brains quite possibly being at least as intelligent as humans [warning: science], I am at a loss for words re the "yum shark! yum whale!" comments.

I mean, I get it, "Extinction and genocide: I did it for the LULZ!"

But openly questioning whether mass-killing sharks/whales really affects the eco-system?

[struck dumb]

Most regretfully, it all lessens my confusion about how there is any discussion whatsoever on the validity of same-sex marriage.
posted by humannaire at 10:45 PM on February 16, 2011 [16 favorites]


but their methods aren't exactly Ghandi-esque

I beg to differ:

"I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully."

"The strength to kill is not essential for self-defence; one ought to have the strength to die. When a man is fully ready to die, he will not even desire to offer violence. Indeed, I may put it down as a self-evident proposition that the desire to kill is in inverse proportion to the desire to die. And history is replete with instances of men who, by dying with courage and compassion on their lips, converted the hearts of their violent opponents."
-Source: The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi
posted by humannaire at 10:49 PM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Who says it's the 'right thing' though? Was killing the whales damaging the world's ecosystem? And were they enforcing Japan's law or their own?

They are enforcing an international treaty that Japan signed on to, and then loop-holed or simply ignored. The fact Japan signed the treaty answers your first two questions. Japan was killing whales because they could, no one was there to stop them - except Bob Barker! And you know what a hippie Bob Barker is.
posted by stbalbach at 11:37 PM on February 16, 2011


For those of you claiming that this was equivalent to someone picketing a slaughterhouse, it should be pointed out that what the Japanese whalers were doing was illegal. Blatantly illegal. Not illegal-by-the-laws-of-the-U.S.-so-they-didn't-actually-apply-in-Japan. Illegal for those Japanese whalers. Completely. No one was enforcing the law, but the law exists.

So don't think picketing a slaughterhouse. Maybe more like one of those dog-fighting/dog-killing rings, if you want to roughly equate it to something that's actually happened in the U.S. not all that long ago.
posted by kyrademon at 12:11 AM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Regarding the differing reports here on the deliciousness of whale meat: When done right, whale meat is good. But it's easy to slip up and end up with something of a cross between fishy beef and liver.

We had whale from time to time when I was little (I'm Norwegian). I understand the revulsion this provokes in Americans. Sort of the same I feel when contemplating eating cat or dog, I guess - which are eaten here and there in the world. But consider that a Muslim or Jew will feel the same way about you eating pork. And pigs are pretty bright, at least on par with dogs.
posted by Harald74 at 12:37 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


This will only encourage Sea Shepherd.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:57 AM on February 17, 2011


Whale meat is wonderful. It tastes like a combination of beef and the best liver you've ever had in your entire life.

So it tastes like really awful beef, basically? Wonderful.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:29 AM on February 17, 2011


We had whale from time to time when I was little (I'm Norwegian). I understand the revulsion this provokes in Americans. Sort of the same I feel when contemplating eating cat or dog, I guess - which are eaten here and there in the world. But consider that a Muslim or Jew will feel the same way about you eating pork. And pigs are pretty bright, at least on par with dogs.

Pigs and dogs are not endangered. Fin whales and sei whales are.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:02 AM on February 17, 2011


All you people claiming the Sea Shepard's tactics are violent should realize than an anti-materiel rifle would make short work of a modern harpoon gun, yet the Sea Shepard doesn't employ them.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:35 AM on February 17, 2011


throwing caustic chemicals onto the whaling ships doesn't quite fit into my definition of non-violence

Are you talking about the butyric acid stink bombs, or something else that's actually seriously hazardous? Because I thought the stink bombs were hilarious.
posted by ryanrs at 3:54 AM on February 17, 2011


...their methods aren't exactly Ghandi-esque.

I had the same thought when I saw them gleefully firing stinkbombs from giant slingshots. As for those stinkbombs being "hilarious," have a look at this MSDS data for butyric acid:
Toxicology

Harmful if swallowed or inhaled. Corrosive. Extremely unpleasant smell may cause nausea. Liquid may burn skin and eyes. Readily absorbed through the skin. Severe skin, eye and respiratory irritant.
I do not think Ghandi would have gone that route.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:06 AM on February 17, 2011


I'm not kidding when I said he's sunk whalers - he's destroyed a dozen or so ships, plus an entire whale processing plant. He's been shot at by governments, and responded with high-pressure chocolate and lemon pie filling fired through a water cannon at full blast (yes, really.) One, it's silly and humiliating, and two, it's much denser than water and can seriously knock people around. They've taken on naval warships in a fight and won.

"The Whales Forever was rammed by the Norwegian destroyer Andenes, fired upon, and had two depth charges deployed under the hull. Although suffering significant damage, the Whales Forever prevented the Norwegians from boarding and returned to the Shetland Islands having severely embarrassed the Norwegian authorities."

Some dilute butyric acid is not really in the same league.

The TV show is them playing things safe and timid.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:29 AM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I get a bit carried away. I've lived among very eco-conscious people and I've tended to go a bit far in the other direction.

Why? I mean, there's got to be a better reason than that you just enjoy being argumentative and contrarian, right?

posted by box at 5:00 AM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The TV show is them playing things safe and timid.

The TV show is hilarious. I have never seen a greater bunch of dimwitted numbskulls.
posted by Pendragon at 5:28 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've had shark's fin soup, it's very tasty but once I found out about the sharks being stripped of their fins and simply discarded alive for a slow death; never again. Mrs arcticseal and me have been trying to get our Chinese family to give it up, some success with the younger cousins, but the older generation are less keen to give it up (as I said, it's delicious).

Still, yay for whales!
posted by arcticseal at 6:02 AM on February 17, 2011


If you cannot live without the experience of eating shark fin soup, use shark fin melon which has the same texture. As shark fin is flavourless there is really no difference, all the flavour comes from the broth.
posted by asok at 6:03 AM on February 17, 2011


Just wondering since Sea Shepherd has been doing this for a while and we never got this type of response, if the whole Discovery Channel show, awareness (and possibly funding) has helped this decision.

Whatever the reason, good.
posted by stormpooper at 6:05 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Paul Watson: On Prop Foulers And Other Tactics
Response to questions about Animal planet's dramatizations.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:07 AM on February 17, 2011


Pure, undiluted butyric acid has a pH of 4.82 (what Sea Shepherd uses is significantly diluted from there). By comparison the pH of Coke is about 2.6 & lemon juice is 2.3. Don't believe the hype.
posted by scalefree at 6:53 AM on February 17, 2011


Ghidorah: “If this announcement is in any way attributable to their actions, bully for them, but their methods aren't exactly Ghandi-esque.”

humannaire: “I beg to differ...”

I didn't see the part of that quote where Gandhi says that you should engage in smear campaigns, waste donor money, and then lie to the press and cover it up. I like Sea Shepherd's goals, and I don't even mind somewhat violent means, but it's not hard to have some problems with the tactics they engage in.
posted by koeselitz at 7:13 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whale meat is wonderful. It tastes like a combination of beef and the best liver you've ever had in your entire life.

It's OK, I've had non-endangered whale given to me by Icelandic friends. It is pretty decent raw, but it has a ton of mercury, so I won't be eating it in the future.

I'm amused by people who regularly eat endangered fish (who can blame them since almost every restaurant serves it) and condemn eating whales... if you are looking at it from an animal right's perspective that makes sense (but what are you doing eating fish in the first place if you believe in animal rights?), but not from an environmental perspective.
posted by melissam at 7:52 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What if some kinds of whales are really, really smart? What if the way these kinds of whales are smart is 90° to our own kind of intelligence? What if there is something better to do with comparably intelligent and empathic creatures (to ourselves) besides eat them?

No, not what if, how about imagine the above? As in, imagine all of the above to be the case.

Actually, let's not imagine, let's take a chance. Let's gamble that there is another creature on the planet that is at least as interesting as us.

Wait, better yet, instead of gambling, let us presume based on the science at hand that such a thing is quite possibly the case.

And what more, let us consider at the same time that our own definition of human is inadequate or our appreciation of what is and what is not a sentient species.

In summary, killing whales is murder. Not because meat is murder but because whales are people—only in an entirely non-anthropoid way. And eating whale is equal to eating people because they come from another nation, one which is only foreign and different to us.

Whales mourn their dead, they protect their own kind, they communicate with one another in a manner which is clearly intelligent, they are helpful, conscious, compassionate and empathic.

If all of this is not enough to stop killing whales (and dolphins) and to refrain from imagining them as being "delicious"—a thinking at least as equally as disturbing as imagining children to be being "sexy"—then indeed it would seem there are in fact at least two different kinds of intelligence on the planet.
posted by humannaire at 8:36 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about thinking that children are delicious and animals are sexy?
posted by hippybear at 9:01 AM on February 17, 2011


Humannaire- while it is nice to recognize the complexity of another species, you don't need to anthropomorphize whales to think we should not eat them. It could turn out that they are no smarter than mice and we should still not eat them because they are apex predators and linchpins of many ecosystems. There are worms and ugly fish that live on the bottom on the sea bed that we only discovered with submersibles in the last few decades, and we only found them on decaying whale bodies that sunk. It may be the case that there are species we know almost nothing about that may be entirely dependent on dead whales for food. The loss of that biodiversity would be a big problem but one we could barely measure, until it turned out that the ugly whale eating worms were doing something to clean and enrich the water and it finally showed up years later in the declining health of commercially important fish.

Same reason why I am extremely reluctant to eat tuna anymore. Most of it is fished unsustainably and tuna rarely reach full adult size in the wild now. They are awesome predators in their own right but not exactly intelligent like mammals or cuddly. Doesn't matter; slow growing, large apex predators should just probably not be eaten, period. There are lots of tasty fish and low quality tuna is just so disappointing in taste that I would rather just have a really fresh piece of mackerel.
posted by slow graffiti at 9:05 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]



Whales mourn their dead, they protect their own kind, they communicate with one another in a manner which is clearly intelligent, they are helpful, conscious, compassionate and empathic.

If all of this is not enough to stop killing whales (and dolphins) and to refrain from imagining them as being "delicious"—a thinking at least as equally as disturbing as imagining children to be being "sexy"—then indeed it would seem there are in fact at least two different kinds of intelligence on the planet.


I mean this in the most un-trollish way possible:
Being an intelligent, compassionate, social animal hasn't helped pigs much either.

I don't necessarily disagree with what you're saying, but I think that you'll get further criticizing the methods used to harvest them, or the impact on them as a species or the ecosystem. Appealing to compassion because of their intelligence and sociability just doesn't seem to go far, for whatever reason.

Personally, I'd avoid shark more for the reasons that I listed than because I feel it's somehow inherently wrong to harvest them. I'm sure the same logic can be applied to whales.

...but we also need to consider that attitudes about this change a lot from culture to culture. It's not easy.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sea Shepherd deserve a large amount of credit for this. Their approach of blocking the slipway of the factory ship so whales could not be loaded has caused the Japanese fleet to miss their quota the last few years, this year it seems by a long way, but Kyodo Senpaku, who carry out the hunt for the ICR were already losing money on the hunt.

The other points of pressure, including the Australian legal case against whaling and the IMO's new special requirements for the use or carriage of oils in the Antarctic area may hasten the end, but even then, Sea Shepherd's tactics contribute: it doesn't make sense to refit the Nisshin Maru to comply, or build a new factory ship for a loss making proposition.

So well done Sea Shepherd. Paul Watson is still a total asshole, but those others who take the time out of their lives, on a voluntary basis, despite not having much of a clue about life on a ship, and go down to some of the most hostile seas on the planet to engage a better equipped, government backed organisation carrying out an illegal hunt, those 'dimwitted numbskulls', have my full admiration
posted by IanMorr at 9:13 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've had whale as well, though in a slightly different context. It was whale meat that was flown in from Nunavut and was lunch at the local Inuit Community Centre here in Ottawa.

It was frozen and raw. You pretty much had to sort of chisel of a piece and pop it in your mouth. It tasted like nothing but cold, because it was frozen. That was the only piece I had. I wanted to try 'country food' as they called it, and plus it was offered to me and I didn't want to be impolite.
posted by aclevername at 9:18 AM on February 17, 2011


have a look at this MSDS data for butyric acid:

Toxicology

Harmful if swallowed or inhaled. Corrosive. Extremely unpleasant smell may cause nausea. Liquid may burn skin and eyes. Readily absorbed through the skin. Severe skin, eye and respiratory irritant.


Man, you should see the MSDS for sharpie markers.
posted by eviemath at 11:24 AM on February 17, 2011


Or not... here's the worst-sounding MSDS I could find. I remember the MSDS for the lab markers we got many years ago when I worked in a lab sounding scarier, though. Perhaps they make less hazardous markers nowadays. Perhaps I am misremembering.
posted by eviemath at 11:40 AM on February 17, 2011


If all of this is not enough to stop killing whales (and dolphins) and to refrain from imagining them as being "delicious"

I've accidentally tried it, it's not imaginary for me that whale is delicious (some people disagree about the taste obviously). Nor is it imaginary that ivory is beautiful. Nor is it true that elephants and whales are humans. But you don't need mental gymnastics like this to get someone to be against the whale hunt or ivory poaching; in some respects it may be overly confrontational and counterproductive. Shouting "murderer!" at someone doing something they feel is normal isn't going to change their mind about anything other than your sanity.
posted by Hoopo at 12:02 PM on February 17, 2011


As for those stinkbombs being "hilarious," have a look at this MSDS data for butyric acid:

Oh please. Butyric acid is a large part of the stink in rancid butter. The oral dose LD50 (dose at which 1/2 the animals died) for rats is almost 3g/kg. Assuming the toxicity is similar in humans, a 100kg human would have to eat 300g (almost 300ml, near a soda can) of pure butyric acid to drop dead. It's used as a flavor enhancer in fish bait.

Check out this scary MSDS for weak vinegar as a point of comparison.
posted by benzenedream at 12:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


People are turning into hippies.

Hippies are people too, man!


Soylent Green is Hippies!
posted by steambadger at 12:24 PM on February 17, 2011


Sea Shepherd deserve a large amount of credit for this. Their approach of blocking the slipway of the factory ship so whales could not be loaded has caused the Japanese fleet to miss their quota the last few years, this year it seems by a long way, but Kyodo Senpaku, who carry out the hunt for the ICR were already losing money on the hunt.

I can't help but feel they were a mere annoyance and the financial factors weighed more heavily. If Sea Shepherd reduced the number of whales caught, then absolutely they accomplished something and deserve credit for that. But everything I've read suggests more whales were getting caught in the hunt than people were buying or eating, so I'm not sure whether a reduced catch would be the reason for the cessation of Japan's whaling.
posted by Hoopo at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2011


Sea Shepherd deserve a large amount of credit because they kept the camera & media focussed on the slaughter, which influences those buyers. As I indicated twice up thread, they're playing towards the media, not necessarily employing the most effective strategies for obstructing the hunt.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:12 PM on February 17, 2011


I still won't rest until I know if whales are, in fact, delicious.
I bet that Lake Ontario Kiyi was delicious. Yum yum! It's a shame that you can't have some pigeon pie. How about some jellied eels? Would you like some (real) caviar with that [one that really grabs me since reading The Philosopher Fish]? Gosh, I bet you'd love some turtle soup right now. Enjoy that tuna while you can, maybe you can tell your grandchildren how delicious they were, because chances are they'll have no chance of knowing they existed otherwise. Same goes for the Dodo. All delicious I'm sure.

BTW - your 'shepherd' tag is wrong.
posted by unliteral at 4:35 PM on February 17, 2011


"Why? I mean, there's got to be a better reason than that you just enjoy being argumentative and contrarian, right?
posted by box at 5:00 AM on February 17 [2 favorites +] [!] "

Yeah. I'm not sure why though. I think it has something to do with not having any pets growing up. I prefer pop culture and technology to nature, and I think of the 'natural' part of humanity as the mortal part that decays and dies.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:36 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


they're playing towards the media

But whose media? Trust me, that show hasn't aired in Japan, and it never will. The people who are buying and eating whale, as I mentioned above, are largely doing it out of some sort of conservative/nationalistic sense of duty. They are, to be blunt, the absolute last people in Japan that would listen to a foreigner who tells them they are wrong, and should stop what they are doing.

The thing is, these people, and people like them, pretty much run Japan. They are the politicians. They are the "red prefecture" voters whose weighted ballots count nearly twice as much as (the exceedingly rare) urban votes. Pressure to change from outside voices just makes these pigfuckers dig their heels in. If pressure from the Australian government actually had anything to do with this decision, the meetings would have to have been conducted in the utmost secrecy, and any leak of those meetings would probably cause resignations of key government officials, if not a no confidance vote against the PM.

Much, much more likely? There's no longer any profit in it. There are vast stores of frozen whale meat in Japan. It's not widely popular. There's no profit (in this year's hunt, at least) to be had, so they're calling it a day. This is not to say that they won't start again next year. All the reports I've seen suggest that 'this year's' hunt has been called off. No mention of next year.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:53 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speaking of absurdity and funding, Gojira is recording an EP in honor of Sea Shepherd, with proceeds going to the organization, and Sea Shepherd returned the favor by naming their new ship Gojira.

Makes sense for a band who's best song is Flying Whales.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:34 PM on February 17, 2011


HOORAY!!! :D
posted by perilous at 7:52 PM on February 17, 2011


Whale meat you say, is that a Narwhal in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

This news gives me hope for our world, in the face of gross stupidity on the part of the new congress, and the worldwide mass extinction currently in progress from human activity.

Sea Shepherd! Cheers to you all!
posted by Oyéah at 8:22 PM on February 17, 2011


"
Makes sense for a band who's best song is Flying Whales yt .
posted by Existential Dread at 7:34 PM on February 17 [+] [!] "

makes sense because GODZILLA SHOWS AGAIN AND AGAIN HOW NATURE DESTROYS THE FOLLY OF MEN!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:01 PM on February 17, 2011


> People are turning into hippies. All the generations - kids and adults - are concerned about 'sustainability' and 'carbon footprints' and 'animal rights'. While this trend continues, we will see more of this.

You're mistakenly assuming that "sustainability" is a moral choice, probably due to greenwashing (hint: most "sustainable" or "eco-friendly" products are anything but); we either achieve sustainability eventually or we go extinct. Simple as that. Obviously, short of some unexpected catastrophe, humanity we will not go extinct anytime soon so the real question remaining is where the sustainable society we end up with will be placed in the wide spectrum of possibilities still available to us now, ie, how closely will it resemble the present. The kind of attitude you're displaying is precisely the one most likely to answer that question with a "not much".

But don't worry too much about the "hippies", the non-hippies have won long ago.

The needs of animals will be put before the needs of humans. Things like whale meat will die out. Cities will be reduced. The trees will return, and be worshiped.

If you consider whale meat a human need, perhaps is best not to hunt them to extinction?


> I've lived among very eco-conscious people and I've tended to go a bit far in the other direction. I've got friends who've called for whalers to be killed, and who quite explicitly prefer animals to people

There are loads of people who believe vitamin C megadoses cure cancer or whatever, and that doesn't change the fact that you'll die if you don't ingest any vit. C at all. They probably drink water, too.


> I prefer pop culture and technology to nature, and I think of the 'natural' part of humanity as the mortal part that decays and dies.

You may choose to believe that eventually technology will solve any and all problems we need it to solve, without causing any unforeseen ones and without requiring any resources apart from wishful thinking. Believing in that won't make it true, it's called science fiction for a reason, after all.
posted by Bangaioh at 11:46 PM on February 17, 2011


From a slightly different point of view. As a meat eater who would nonetheless not want to submit the animal foodsource to unnecessary suffering it makes a certain amount of sense to choose to eat larger animals instead of smaller. If the suffering of one rat is equal to one whale than whaleburgers are ethically superior to ratburgers or indeed almost any other burger.
posted by abx1-se at 2:40 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people who are buying and eating whale, as I mentioned above, are largely doing it out of some sort of conservative/nationalistic sense of duty.

With all due respect, this does not describe the Japanese people who ordered whale when I ate it without knowing what it was. They ordered it because they like the taste and thought it would be an interesting Japanese dish to introduce to a visitor. My guess is that they were possibly not aware of any moral ramifications of eating whale because it seemed normal to them and there is not a great deal of stigma to it in Japan. It's true whale is not a staple in the Japanese diet or anything, but neither is venison in the Canadian diet and I've eaten that from time to time when it's offered on a menu despite having no clue about where it came from.
posted by Hoopo at 10:08 AM on February 18, 2011


Shouting "murderer!" at someone doing something they feel is normal isn't going to change their mind about anything other than your sanity.

You may be right. However when murderers (or tree-poisoners or spouse-abusers or bigots or etc) have second-thoughts about my sanity for NOT doing what they are doing, generally, I consider this a win.

Doing something bad or wrong normally does not give it credibility, it only makes it more apparently bad or wrong.

But there's more! Noting to someone that a certain anti-social behavior is bad or wrong when said person is unconscious of it being inherently bad or wrong in fact does and can lead to positive, benevolent change.

Traditionally, this is exactly what is done to elicit change. It's when we don't say something that the problem remains a problem. See slavery, child labor, womens suffragette, race relations, gay rights, et al. Or even Horton Hears A Who.

KILLING WHALES IS BAD AND WRONG. EATING WHALES IS BAD AND WRONG. THINKING OF WHALE (or children or baby animals or beasts raised in suffering or (key word) thoughtful creatures) AS DELICIOUS IS BAD OR WRONG.

Do I sound like a wild, maniac, unwell person for saying as much?

Great! I'm off to a good start.
posted by humannaire at 8:57 PM on February 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


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