Japan Attacks Aussie Moralising on Whaling

JAPAN has told the UN’s top court that Australia’s anti-whaling stance is part of a ‘civilising mission and moral crusade’ that is totally out of place in the modern world.raw whale

That’s according to Sky News, and I couldn’t agree more. The article continues…

Tokyo didn’t hold back in its opening submission to the 16 judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Tuesday…

‘In a world with diverse civilisations and traditions, international law cannot become an instrument for imposing the cultural preference of some at the expense of others.’

The deputy foreign minister argued Japan had long lived in harmony with nature and it would be the last country to misuse marine resources.

‘Australia can’t impose its will on other nations nor change the International Whaling Commission (IWC) into an organisation opposed to whaling,’ he said.

Tokyo argues killing 850 minke whales in the Southern Ocean each year under JARPA won’t endanger stocks.

Professor Akhavan on Tuesday said Japan stood unfairly accused of 30 years of defiance and deception, but Australia’s position was based on a belief ‘that whales are unique, sacred, charismatic mammals that should never be killed’.

Indeed, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established in 1948 at the initiative of the United States to establish a new world order in whaling. Initially 15 governments were party to the IWC with Japan at the time under occupation and without the right to join.

The Commission’s objectives included safeguarding the great natural resources represented by whale stocks and providing for the “orderly development of the whaling industry” recognising that whale stocks will increase if whaling is properly regulated.

But by the 1960s an anti-whaling movement had emerged in the West and the IWC focus started to change. In 1972, at the United Nations Human Environmental Conference held in Stockholm, the United States lobbied for a moratorium on commercial whaling; a moratorium that came into effect ten years later.

Japan initially took action to be exempt from the moratorium in accordance with Article V of the convention. Japan made the case that the moratorium infringed upon provisions within the convention in particular that decisions of the IWC be based on scientific findings – at the time the scientific recommendation was that the moratorium was unnecessary – and take into consideration the interests of consumers of whale product.

The United States threatened that unless Japan withdrew its objection it would revoke fishing allocation for Japanese trawlers off the west coast of Alaska. Japan withdrew its objection, but the US nevertheless phased out its fishing allocation to Japan.

As the 21st Century becomes the Asian Century it will be interesting to see the extent to which history is re-interpreted and the moralising of the west increasingly seen for what it is.


Read more on whaling and Aussie hypocrisy at http://jennifermarohasy.com/tag/whale/

The picture is of raw whale, part of a mean I enjoyed in Tokyo in September 2008.

154 Responses to Japan Attacks Aussie Moralising on Whaling

  1. Luke July 3, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    So they need 850 minkes to check their health eh? and sending massive modern ships with penthrite harpoons into our Southern Sanctuary to satisfy food fetishists while the rest is left to rot is “cultural” tradition.

    And this is a ‘civilising mission and moral crusade’ that is totally out of place in the modern world.


  2. kuhnkat July 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    “and sending massive modern ships with penthrite harpoons into our Southern Sanctuary to satisfy food fetishists while the rest is left to rot is “cultural” tradition.”

    I suppose you would prefer they cluib them to death or drag them up onto the beach and allow them to die??

    Or, maybe you believe they have souls and should be worshipped while aborting more babies??

  3. spangled drongo July 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Japan, as a traditional avid seafood eating society, is perfectly entitled to kill a sustainable quantity of whales.

    What’s the difference between fish and whales? Particularly when it is traditional food. Culling 0.1% of the Minke resource for food is quite responsible.

    Australia’s arrogant, high-handed, holier-than-thou attitude is what’s disgraceful.

  4. Larry Fields July 4, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    Whale meat? Yuck! And while we’re on the subject, I have no desire to sample truly authentic, historically accurate Pozole for the unique cultural experience. Call me provincial, but I’ll take beef any day. And yes, the Japanese have been lying through their teeth about harvesting Minke whales for ‘research’ purposes. BFD!

    By the way, the Faroe Islanders use less humane killing methods when they harvest Pilot Whales.

    That said, I’m also opposed to ‘mission creep’ on the part of the International Whaling Commission. Sorry Greenies; the IWC is not about cetaceans being cute and cuddly.

    If NGOs and various busybodies want to take up a moral crusade against whaling, that’s a different story. As long as they do not engage in trespassing, sabotage or other illegal activities, I do not have a problem with their exercise of free speech.

  5. Debbie July 4, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    I don’t have a problem with their right to exercise free speech either.
    It’s such a pity that by their ‘moralising’ or ‘holier than thou’ attitude. . . they are doing whatever they can to rob others of their rights.
    No one, including the Japanese, are wanting to wipe out whales.
    Along with Larry, I don’t like the ‘idea’ of eating whales. . . but that’s my problem. Some cultures eat horses and dogs. . . I don’t like that idea either.

  6. Jennifer Marohasy July 4, 2013 at 10:50 am #


    There is a campaign against eating beef. “Didn’t you know that it is Yuck.”

    And they will show you how truly horrible it is in side an abattoir.

    I would prefer to be harpooned on a fine day… swimming in the Southern Ocean.

    Usually so rational in your response, tell me why you don’t like the idea of eating whale. And whether it is OK to be totally rationally, including in your discussions with Cohenite, when it comes to a global mean, yet revert to the emotive when it comes to food?

  7. cohenite July 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    “I would prefer to be harpooned on a fine day… swimming in the Southern Ocean. ”

    Sorry Jennifer, I can’t cope with that image. I would find that very regrettable!

    Slightly OT but a poll on a council’s right to persecute people about sea level rise could use some sensible votes; vote here:


  8. cohenite July 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Is there a viable market for whale meat or is it subsidised?

    Minkes are one thing but surely not Blues, Greys or Sperms?

  9. Larry Fields July 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Comment from: Jennifer Marohasy July 4th, 2013 at 10:50 am
    “There is a campaign against eating beef. ‘Didn’t you know that it is Yuck.’
    And they will show you how truly horrible it is in side an abattoir.
    I would prefer to be harpooned on a fine day… swimming in the Southern Ocean.”

    About the Yuck factor … Here’s one partial short answer: There’s something to be said for the “kill it and grill it” philosophy. How about substituting free-range venison that I shot myself for beef? No cruel abattoir.

    But then I’d need to go out and buy a .30-30 and a freezer, and trade in my trusty station wagon for a ute. There’s also the issue of the short hunting season in the Fall. There’s no guarantee that I could bag a buck in the allotted time. And even if I could, that it would tide me over for an entire year.

    Here’s another wrinkle: At the moment, I’m somewhat limited in the high-protein foods that my aging digestive system can handle.

    Soy protein is OK maybe twice a week. Yes, Politically Correct foods have side-effects for some people.

    Dairy products are another question mark for me. You may be horrified at the amount of butter that I eat. But beyond that minuscule amount of dairy protein, cheese, for example, also has side-effects for me.

    For me, poultry is OK at supper, but not at breakfast. Go figure.

    Because I have Sensory Integration Dysfunction (screwed up wiring), various stimuli — including numerous foods — that are ho hum for most people affect me quite strongly — for better or for worse.

    Example: I really need the strength training exercise that I do for my upper legs. That part of my Sensory Diet is absolutely essential for my well-being. BTW, my upper quads are literally twice as strong as they were 12 years ago. One side-effect is that I need a bit more protein for muscle maintenance.

    There’s more to my personal Yuck Factor than DSI. I don’t like the idea of eating animals that are relatively high on the intelligence scale. Turkey yes, Sulfur-Crested Cockatoos no. Beef yes, Cetaceans no. Why?

    It’s partly Cultural Prejudice. CP would also effect my revulsion at the idea of eating Escargot. And snails are not exactly an Einstein species.

    The Intelligence Food Factor is partly a reflection of the pesky old Slippery Slope. I remember one scene from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. An intelligent mammalian biped that had been genetically engineered for food was begging the protagonists to eat him. No, I wouldn’t either. Even if he had been harpooned in the Southern Ocean.

  10. Graeme M July 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Jennifer: “I would prefer to be harpooned on a fine day… swimming in the Southern Ocean. ”

    If you had the choice, which would you prefer Jennifer? To live your life as best you can until nature takes you or to be harpooned? The point is in the case of Japan’s whaling, we who have the choice as to whether we take life or not choose to take it for a non-essential purpose.

    And that just is not civilised, no matter how you dress it up. I like to imagine that, beyond individual cultural practices, there could be some commonly held ideals of morality and ethics. Otherwise we can all just stand back and let anything go. Heck, it’s fine for women be mutilated in the name of religion – after all, they have the right to practice that religion how they see fit, don’t they?

    Where do YOU draw the line, and how do you justify that?

    And as for souls, kuhnkat, no they don’t. But then, neither do you.

  11. Debbie July 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    Maybe Jen has indeed nailed it?
    As soon as we go into this space….it’s much more about emotion than anything else.
    Where do YOU want to draw a line Graeme?
    I am totally, totally unclear why you would juxtapose this particular issue with the mutilation of women?
    Humans are omnivorous and always have been….some of us are lucky enough to choose exactly what we do and don’t like to eat….some of us are better educated about animal welfare and land management than others….but we are omnivorous nonetheless.
    No offense…but your line of argument is largely similar to the actual ‘moralism’ that the Japanese are criticising.

  12. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    “I would prefer to be harpooned on a fine day… swimming in the Southern Ocean.”

    You nailed it Jen. It is always the most humane to kill animals quickly in their natural habitat. They dunno what hit ’em. Beats catching a fish on a hook.

  13. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    “But then I’d need to go out and buy a .30-30 and a freezer, and trade in my trusty station wagon for a ute.”

    Larry, I bet you can buy venison killed exactly that way without having to do it yourself as we do with kangaroo. Very humane, eco-friendly, economical and tastes good too.

  14. Luke July 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Yep Jen has nailed it with a penthrite grenade.

    You mean 50% of whales are not killed on the first shot. So as you’re enjoying your day as a whale in the Southern Ocean non-cultural whalers in modern boats from the northern hemisphere blow half of you away – and eventually you’ll be hauled on board to be taken to Japan and sold as dog food. Yep great stuff.

    Don’t whinge about about aboriginal dugong and turtle hunts if you’re taking this line – it’s just so hypocritical.

  15. cohenite July 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Fair enough luke; the cultural justification for anything is fraught, but we won’t sidetrack the discussion into the wonderful world of islam.

    Whaling needs to be put through the utility and economic cost/benefit prism; is it economically better to harpoon the big loons or watch them; which makes the most money?

    I suspect there is fair bit of Japanese bloody-mindedness in this; but maybe I’m biased; I go to Hawaii a lot and it is astounding the number of times you have to sit Japanese blokes on their arse before they realise they can’t literally walk over you.

  16. Debbie July 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    OK Luke. . .
    So what about the poor little fish and plankton etc that the whales hunt?
    Is that PC?

  17. Larry Fields July 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Comment from: spangled drongo July 4th, 2013 at 5:38 pm
    “Larry, I bet you can buy venison killed exactly that way without having to do it yourself as we do with kangaroo. Very humane, eco-friendly, economical and tastes good too.”

    I’m not sure about that. I know that there are game farms in the Midwest. And that’s probably where some California restaurants get their venison, rather than from in-state. And I don’t know where these game farms fit on the free-range vs factory food continuum.

    Under the American version of Federalism, each individual state is free to enact its own fish and game laws. What can you shoot? What is the bag limit? Where and when can you shoot it? How much does a hunting or fishing license cost? In most states, you are not free to sell what you shoot.

    My understanding is that in RURAL Australia, kangaroos are regarded mostly as pests that compete with sheep for grass on pastures. It’s mostly OK for farmers and ranchers to shoot them, and mostly OK to eat or sell the carcasses. Please correct me if I’m mistaken about that.

    In America, Bambi is variously regarded as cute and cuddly to city folks, as a relatively cheap source of meat for local people, and as a source of revenue for state Fish and Game Departments. For non-locals, deer hunting is essentially a form of outdoor recreation.

  18. Graeme M July 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    No Debbie, it’s not purely an emotional matter, though to be honest I don’t see what is wrong with acting according to an emotional view of the world. You may wish to explain why that is discounted in such arguments when it is clearly a driver in so many perfectly valid human interactions.

    For me, it’s more a matter of what is morally right and I think there ARE moral responsibilities that transcend individual cultural practices.

    That’s why I brought in the matter of genital mutilation. There must be some practices that as a group humans can agree are not morally or ethically acceptable. If not, then anything goes.

    So, our first point of agreement must be that not all possible human behaviours are valid within what humans agree is ‘acceptable’. If you disagree, explain why.

    Once we have reached that shared understanding, our next job is to work out how we can agree on just what constitutes acceptable. And here we have to develop some sense of what it is to be moral or ethical. This is a fluid thing, but as a species if we hope to evolve in our ethical model of the world, then surely we should be aiming to raise the bar as it were. Over time, this is what we see happening. For example, once we thought it reasonable to burn witches at the stake. Today if we learned of a society that did that, we would rightly find it wanting. There are no such things as witches and it’s not a humane response.

    Now, we know we can’t just rock up to say England and stop them burning witches if that were their thing, but we can take steps to try to change their views and encourage change in their ethical and cultural pracrices. Our history is full of such examples.

    So our second point of agreement I hope is that progress in human ethical and moral evolution should recognise certain fundamental matters such as rights, freedoms, care, science, and so on. For example, if science shows us that there is no such thing as witches, we should seek to find better ways to deal with those so charged. Perhaps they are ill or unfairly victimised. Whatever, we should find better ways to treat the matter of witchery.

    And our third point of agreement arising from this is that progress can be measured in terms of making life better. Because it is quality of life that we are seeking through this evolution.

    Now, rather than make this comment go on much further, it is my contention that our responsibility as the only creature on the face of the earth with the capacity to transform it is to do that with something approaching ethically valid intent.

    When it comes to whales, no Japanese person faces starvation if they do not hunt and eat them. Their choice to eat whales is, as far as I know, purely cultural, in the same way as any number of other cultural pracrices like shark fin soup, tiger penis aphrodisiac and bear bile.

    And as a matter purely of choice with no human well-being dependency, is it ethically acceptable to turn a blind eye to these practices which impinge substantially on the capacity for another sentient species to enjoy a natural life?

  19. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    “Don’t whinge about about aboriginal dugong and turtle hunts if you’re taking this line – it’s just so hypocritical.”

    Luke, you pathetic flea brain, this is a completely different set of values.

    Aboriginals are wanting native hunting rights over endangered species, not a plentiful resource, using outboard powered boats and high powered rifles instead of traditional methods [and still they kill them with concrete blocks to save ammunition].

    About as hypocritical as you could get.

    The Japanese OTOH, as a traditional whaling nation, are killing whales sustainably and humanely and using only a plentiful resource.

    If they weren’t harassed by dickheads at every opportunity, their aim would be even better.

  20. Johnathan Wilkes July 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Graeme M

    That long winded essay portrays your moral view of the world.

    Others may have a different one.
    Neither can have a precedence over the other, to claim so would validate the Japanese claim that it’s nothing more that western missioneering.

  21. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Based on this incredible logic, we should be killing more phytoplankton-eating whales:

    “Global warming radically and rapidly changes the Earth’s climate. This will have severe implications for the entire planet. The marine phytoplankton (microscopic plants), which are prevalent in the Southern Oceans, play a pivotal role in the climate change scenario. They naturally break down carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. If the numbers of phtyoplankton are reduced because of global warming, the remainder cannot use up the excess CO2. The warming process will then speed up and Earth will literally cook itself.”


  22. Graeme M July 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    My point JW is that there must be SOME ethical values that have ascendency over others. Yes, the Japanese moral view may indeed be different. But is it right? How do we agree what is right? Or do we take the ultimately weak position that everything is OK if someone somewhere thinks it’s OK?

    In WWII Nazi Germany believed in their moral and racial superiority over Jews and other racial types. You argue that we can’t now take a contrary and ultimately more ethical view because that just happened to be their take on the world. I think you are wrong.

    And I think it’s wrong to harm animals if there is no reason to do so beyond saying we like to do it. I don’t understand why you seem so keen to prove that’s a not a defensible position to take. The Japanese are NOT whaling because they need to for research purposes or because they need the food. It’s purely a whim.

  23. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Larry, there is commercial harvesting of ‘roos by shooters who spotlight them and kill them in their natural habitat usually clean an’ clever with a single shot [or it’s not a commercial proposition] the cost of ammo being what it is.

    It became a big export industry until PETA or someone loused it up [you could buy kangaroo fillet steak at a very reasonable price] but not so much now even though they are in plague proportions.

  24. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Graeme, the Japanese are not whaling for a whim. They whale because they see their right to sustainably harvest a traditional resource put in jeopardy by crackpots.

    Harvesting this resource takes pressure off other more fragile resources and people like Greenpeace are too stupid to see it.

  25. Johnathan Wilkes July 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    “It’s purely a whim.”
    You really believe that?
    And while we are talking about whaling, why are you not talking about Norway?

    There is an unwritten internet law about invoking Hitler and the Nazis, I think you just broke it.

  26. Graeme M July 4, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Oops… I mentioned the war but I think I got away with it 🙂

    Norway? I thought Jen’s post was about Japan?

    SD, you and I will just have to differ on this one. I struggle with the notion that other beings are simply a ‘resource’. Once we take this path, there is no way to justify any humane treatment of other creatures. A whale, or a kangaroo, is not a resource. That’s something we made up. It’s a purely human artefact. And we can just as easily take a different view.

    Do you equally argue it’s OK to harvest sharks for their fins? Or to imprison bears for their bile?

  27. Debbie July 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Yes JW,
    I think he may have done so.
    Perhaps Graeme could read what the Japanese said and then re read his comments above from that perspective?
    Perhaps he could also reread the title of this paricular post?

  28. John Sayers July 4, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    I’d rather be a Minke whale than a battery chicken, or a caged pig. At least the Minke is allowed the freedom to breed and have a love life!

    Let’s face it, we were whaling up until 1979! (34 years ago) We decimated the humpback, Blue, Right and Sperm Whale populations nearly to extinction for our oil lamps, our cosmetics and women’s whale bone corsets. We didn’t eat them, we threw the meat away. We are hardly the people to hold the high moral ground on the subject of whaling!

    I’m with Jen and SD on this – the Japanese have to go to the oceans to gather protein for their nation of 127 million. They do it as humanely as they can and they stick to their quotas. The grey haired boofhead who runs the sea shepherd is an international pirate and should be treated as such.

  29. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Graeme, when animals, or anything else, are a great source of very necessary food for our billions of hungry mouths, they are a resource.

    If those animals are in plentiful supply [and Minkes are] and we only kill an easily replaceable number, they are a sustainable resource.

    Ask the Inuits about polar bears. They are a great source of essential food and warmth for polar dwellers.

    So are whales.

    Neither shark fins nor bear bile is a necessity and is a different argument being a cruel and/or wasteful process.

  30. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Graeme, I know cool dudes like you an’ me can prolly get by on these:


  31. spangled drongo July 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    John, I recall sailing a dinghy off Tangalooma whaling station in the early ’60s where they dumped all the whale blood and meat into Moreton Bay and the shark activity was something to behold.

    Everybody who was anybody used to come to Tangalooma to catch sharks in those days, Bob Dyer, Zane Grey etc.

    What I particularly remember is that I capsized my dinghy right there among the sharks and the sharks weren’t even interested in me.

    I was a lot better looking in those days so whale meat can’t be too bad.

  32. John Sayers July 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    SD have you read the amazing story of the Killers of Eden where at Twofold Bay the killer whales worked with the whalers to bring in the Humpbacks so the killer whales could get the tongue and the genitals as their prize?

  33. John Sayers July 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    For those who don’t know the story, the killer whales would go out off the coast of Eden on the south coast and find a humpback and would chase it into shore to the mouth of twofold bay, one of them would then swim into the bay and stand up vertically to tell the whalers they had caught one. The whalers would then row out and harpoon the humpback with a barbed spear and the humpback would take off dragging the whale boat behind it. Eventually the whale would tire and the whalers would then approach it with a flat sharp spearhead and would aim for the heart and kill the whale. The killer whales then took their reward of the tongue and the genitals and the whalers would tow the whale back into twofold bay.
    The whalers had a name for each of the killer whales who they recognised through the shape of their dorsal fin.

  34. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    I read a book once about the killer whales of Eden, I think the most famous was named Old Tom or something like that? It was a real relationship between the whales and whalers.

    As far as the Japanese issue goes, I’m willing to be told otherwise, but I am pretty sure that they aren’t hunting whales to “gather protein for their nation of 127 million”. I understood it was a cultural preference – in other words, they like whale meat. I think you’ll find too that it’s a practice with much less favour among younger Japanese people.

    Debbie, I did read the article, but not the linked one. The whole point is the matter of the hearing into the Japanese harvesting of whales under the fake claim of research. That is a ruse by the Japanese to justify something long regarded internationally as unjustifiable.

    It’s not that whales are ‘sacred’ or anything of the sort and to be honest I’ve not really read what Greenpeace or others might think ion that respect. My opinion is largely one borne of thoughtful consideration. If we don’t HAVE to hunt and kill an animal, why should we? What gives US the right to slaughter other creatures on personal preference?

    Sure, I know we can’t stop it happening completely. We’d have Buckleys of stopping recreational fishing for example. But surely killing whales in distant oceans for no reason other than we like that meat rather than locally produced or imported protein is not acceptable?

    Why is it that when it comes to the matter of eating meat, thoughtfulness goes right out of the window? Do you all really think it is our right to kill and eat ANYTHING that moves, just because we can? As much as we can and as often as we can? And do you really think that animals, especially mammals, do NOT experience the world much as we do?

    And remember, I DO eat meat, so this is not a holier than thou thing.

  35. Larry Fields July 5, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    There’s another issue that we’ve been hinting at, but haven’t yet put in the spotlight. It’s a Law of Nature about government bureaucracies of all kinds, including the UN: Give them an inch, and they take a mile. We really need to keep the control freaks on a short leash.

    We’ve seen this problem with the AGW Gubmint Industrial Complex. Surprise, surprise! We’re also seeing it with the IWC. Originally, this organization was concerned with sustainability and with humane methods with respect to harvesting. Now it’s metastasized into something more insidious.

    For reasons that I’ve already mentioned, I think that commercial whaling is disgusting — even with the safeguards. But that’s just me. It does not mean the IWC should be exceeding its original mandate in order to pursue a moral/political agenda. 21st Century Environmentalists, like the Commies before them, are failing to grasp a basic truth: The ends do NOT justify the means.

    If the Enviros want to convince the Japanese public that whales are warm and fuzzy, using only their Darwin-given freedom of speech, I do not have a problem with that. However I do object to the cowardly, heavy-handed, unethical approach that they’ve taken.

  36. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    But Larry, don’t you think that it is important that we DO ” pursue a moral/political agenda”? It may be difficult to determine what are the appropriate moral/political values to pursue, but surely as a civilisation that IS what we want to do? How else do we progress? Is it right to turn a blind eye to morally and ethically indefensible practices?

    As for unethical approaches, what do you call using the sham claim of ‘research’ to kill whales so some Japanese people can satisfy a personal taste? I like how that meat feels on my tongue, and it’s all about me, so let’s kill us some whales? I’m not saying we stop them eating meat, I’m just saying where do we draw a line in the sand about what we kill, and how often?

  37. Ian Thomson July 5, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Read all the above about the killer whales of Eden. Watch “Wolves of the Sea”, the part where the whales toy with the humans – leading them up a fjord for a private laugh. (Or a scary food availability experiment?)
    Then ask why these creatures are throwing them selves on the Qld shore right now.
    In many of these ‘strandings’ people drag them off and they dive right back. Like humans diving off a cliff into the sea, because Terra firma has become unbearable.
    Now a really thorough study by Japanese scientists might turn up all sorts of, maybe very important to us, reasons why they can’t stand ‘being in there’.
    ( Me , I would start with the you beaut sub sonic radar thing, but it won’t happen because where it is used is a secret .)

    Like the rows of tins of tuna down at the supermarket, ” from Thailand” , the Japanese whaling thing is about huge factory ships charging around making lots of money for the owners and turning traditional fishermen into people smugglers and pirates.
    Subsidised often by Government agencies.
    Most would be more accepting of Japan’s motives if they were not dressed up as scientific research. If they wish the the rest of the World to accept traditional hunting rights , why pretend it is science.

    I also can’t for the life of me, see the difference between people chasing whales around in the Southern Ocean , using quasi military vessels and weapons- and some aboriginal bloke chasing a dugong around Northern Australia with a fancy dinghy and a flash rifle.
    At least the aboriginal bloke isn’t taking the meat to the city to sell, or pretending to ‘study’ the species. He just wants a feed.

    Back to Eden and Paul Watson. He said he caught the eye of a whale being hauled in and it changed him forever. He runs with that and who are we in our armchairs to doubt him.
    And the krill and the plankton- factory ships are sorting them out too, nobody is watching that.

  38. Ian Thomson July 5, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Oops – for RADAR , read SONAR, in the above

  39. Larry Fields July 5, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Nothing that I’ve written can reasonably be contrued as the advocacy of turning a blind eye. However I am saying: Let’s take the high ground. Moral/political advocacy should be conducted in an ethical fashion. And if you don’t get your way, don’t throw a tantrum. Understand that the world is not going to hell in a handbasket, just because of that one setback. Instead, go out and get drunk with your mates. You’ll feel better when you recover from the hangover.

    In today’s political climate — especially in the USA — everything is billed as an emergency. Under Obama (and under the Smirking Chimp before him), the guiding political philosophy was this: Never let a good crisis go to waste. And yes, one of Barry’s close advisors actually said that.

    My understanding is that the Sea Shepherds have committed at least one act of sabotage that put the lives of a Japanese whaling crew at risk. They fouled the propellers of a whaling vessel. During high winds and heavy seas, it’s important to use the propellers to orient the ship in a safe direction. In the worst case scenario, the SSs would have been guilty of murder.

    The SSs are terrible role models. Fanatical intolerance of opposing views is not a good philosophy to live by.

    Yes, it’s an open secret that the Japanese are lying about the putative Minke Whale research. So what? This is not a NIGYSOB. (Now I’ve gotcha, you son of a bitch!) Let’s put this into perspective. If the various Greenies had conducted themselves in an ethical fashion from the beginning, then the Japanese would not feel the need for the whale research BS.

    Yes, two wrongs do not make a right. But in my opinion, the Greenies are more at fault than the Japanese.

  40. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Ian: “If they wish the the rest of the World to accept traditional hunting rights , why pretend it is science.”

    I am not that well versed in the ins and outs of this issue, merely offering a personal opinion. But my understanding is that they ‘pretend’ it’s researc because that’s a loophole in the international agreements.

    Broadly speaking, it was agreed to cease commercial whaling. But I assume there is within that agreement the option to still take some whales as part of legitimate scientific research. So the Japanese use that to facilitate those ‘traditional hunting rights’.

    The reason for the concern is that the Japanese are opting out of responsibility under international convention via a technicality which is clear to all.

  41. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Larry, I’m not sure what the ‘greenies’ have to do with this discussion? Isn’t the OP about the case being heard about whether the Japanese ‘research’ is a valid argument for avoiding responsibility under international agreements, and that the Japanese think we are taking the moral high ground to which we don’t have the right?

    All I am arguing is that in this case, I think we, and the international community that seems to agree (hence the agreement), DO have the moral high ground and the Japanese are in the wrong.

  42. Ian Thomson July 5, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Graeme M,
    My scepticism about the Japanese and science, is in this case, about the subject at hand. The Professor’s submission. Where he appeals to common sense about culture and imposition of beliefs , but then slips back to the scientific research as the justification for it all.
    I do not believe that a US encouraged, whale meat for food initiative, ( in the 1940s ) had any scientific purpose other than to avoid a food crisis. If generations of Japanese have subsequently grown up with a cultural attachment to whale meat from factory ships , so be it.
    However in a serious submission asking the rest of the World to accept this and stop moralising, why slip back to the science label ?

  43. Debbie July 5, 2013 at 11:33 am #


    Why is it that when it comes to the matter of eating meat, thoughtfulness goes right out of the window? Do you all really think it is our right to kill and eat ANYTHING that moves, just because we can? As much as we can and as often as we can? And do you really think that animals, especially mammals, do NOT experience the world much as we do?

    And remember, I DO eat meat, so this is not a holier than thou thing.

    Strangely and ironically…..I am a vegetarian….and I still think that on this particular issue….you are being ‘holier than thou’.

    I DO NOT think it is our right to kill ANYTHING just because we can…anymore than I think it’s OK that women are mutilated.

    The way you are framing your questions is bordering on insulting.

    The Japanese are not guiltless in all of this….but their point about ‘moralising’ is valid.

  44. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    But Debbie, wouldn’t any position that anyone takes on another’s behaviour that is considered unacceptable be ‘moralising’? That’s the point I guess I am failing to make. The matter of genital mutilation, though not in the same league from a human’s point of view, illustrates that.

    Is it our right to suggest that a cultural or religious practice that infringes individual’s rights or freedoms or health and livelihood should be considered immoral? I believe that it is.

    As a civilisation, if we can’t agree on what is morally and ethically acceptable, then what do we have? If we generally agree that say burning a witch is not acceptable in a civilised society, what do we say to one that does burn witches? You seem to be suggesting we cannot moralise about that and seek to prevent that practice.

  45. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    And of course the Japanese point the finger. If we sought to limit the freedom of a society to burn its witches, that society may rightly complain of our moralising. But does that mean we have to act on that complaint and not seek to change that practice?

  46. Luke July 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    ” are killing whales sustainably and humanely ” hohohoho ! good one

    “the Japanese have to go to the oceans to gather protein for their nation of 127 million. They do it as humanely as they can and they stick to their quotas. ”

    humanely?? – stick to their quota – taking their word for it are you? Blue Fin tuna – hahahahahahaha

    And their consumption of whale meat is popular ? why is their an unused mountain of the stuff?

    Anyway – gotta run – off to a witch burning – sustainable as there are plenty out there and hey it’s part of my cultural beliefs.

  47. Debbie July 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Unfortunately Graeme….and you may be not doing this intentionally…. but you are inferring that the Japanese are immoral and unethical and even UNCIVILIZED…. BECAUSE they eat whale meat.

    Let me put it this way….I grew up in Australia….I like whales and I would not eat them….any more than I would eat a horse or a dog.
    Actually….I personally don’t eat any form of mammal.
    I think I am extra ordinarily lucky that I grew up in Australia and that I have a CHOICE about my diet.
    However….If I grew up in Japan….I probably would not have the same view.
    I don’t believe anyone has the right to FORCE me and enact LEGISLATION to change my views about diet…BUT…I also believe it works both ways.
    Humans are naturally omnivorous and in some cultures that does include whales.
    In other places, the only other choice people have is to starve.
    As John Sayers points out above…Aussies were far worse indiscriminate hunters of whales than the Japanese have ever been….we didn’t even eat the meat….we hunted for the oil, blubber and the bones mostly….the meat was not seen as a delicacy here….we mostly fed it to our carnivorous pets.
    Also…I am happy to stand corrected….but wasn’t it Australia who ‘pointed the finger’ and took Japan to court on this issue?
    And seriously….what does burning witches or the genital mutilation of women have to do with it?
    I agree that the ‘science’ argument is probably just a way to go through a loophole….but I would also add that the Japanese are not the only ones guilty of this behaviour.

  48. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    Gee I wish I were smarter and could frame arguments properly… sigh.

    I won’t bang on any further than this last comment, but I think you’ve expressed my whole point in your latest comment. You have a choice and thus you don’t choose to eat your dog or horse or the local dolphins. If though you and your kids were starving and there was no-one to bail you out, of course you’d eat your dog. Or preferably the local dolphins (although in your case I’ll grant those dolphins have perhaps sealed their fate when they made their way so far inland). I don’t disagree with that.

    But when we have a choice to behave ethically and morally, why then not make that choice? If killing all those whales, which are after all sentient intelligent beings about on a par with a human child in pretty much any measure you care to make, is not actually NECESSARY but done just because there is a cultural preference for that meat, then I for one can’t agree it’s OK to turn a blind eye.

    And yes, I think the Japanese are, in this case, acting immorally. And I agree, so too are Australians in many ways. But I don’t think the answer to a problem of sizable proportion and complexity is to put your head in the sand because you might upset someone and not try to make a difference.

  49. Jennifer Marohasy July 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Graeme et al.

    What seems to be missing from this discussion, and your understandings, is a whole different world view. A whole world view that I have great respect for… perhaps as a consequence of spending the first 7 years of my life amongst Australian aborigines at Coomalie Creek in the NT.

    Some cultures, including the Japanese and Australian aboriginal cultures, see animals as both a resource and something to revere.

    So, if you read back into Japanese history, when they hunted for whales in their own waters… when a pregnant whale was killed, she was eaten but the foetus given a proper burial ceremony at a dedicated whale cemetery… yes whales are so revered in Japanese culture that there are whale cemeteries.

    It seems to be something modern and western that wishes to impose on others this view that it is impossible to both love an animal, and also to hunt it.

    Do you know what a totem is… and what they are about?

  50. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    I do get that Jen, but doesn’t progress, whatever that is, require an evolution of both ideas and practices? Just because something is ‘traditional’ doesn’t mean it must be exercised forever more.

    In more distant times, it may be that hunting by small communities afforded those communities the option of revering their prey. The had to hunt to live, and their small size meant that their impact was limited.

    I don’t think that’s the case here. There’s not much reverence in modern methods, now is there.

    And yes I know I said I wouldn’t comment further. This time I mean it.


  51. Debbie July 5, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    But I don’t think the answer to a problem of sizable proportion and complexity is to put your head in the sand because you might upset someone and not try to make a difference.

    Where oh where has anyone claimed that?

    However…I agree with Larry and others here that the answer will not come from heavy handed ‘moralising’ legislation.

    Where would you therefore draw your line Graeme?
    Cattle/sheep/goats/chooks/pigs etc can also be classed as ‘sentient’ beings can they not?

    And Luke?
    Since when did stockpiling food… whether it be veg or protein… become a moral crime?

  52. jennifer July 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm #


    So you are going to stop participating in this discussion because you don’t have a sustainable argument?

    The bottom line is that if we truly cared about the environment and its wildlife we would be embracing a form of environmentalism that was about sustainable use… a form of environmentalism that even advocated the active management of the Australian landscape.

    Instead there is this new religion that claims any use of any natural resource is bad and that sustainable use and conservation are incompatible.

    As the indigenous Australians say… wilderness is not good, it is a tract of land without a custodian. I for one would like to see more active land management and more active management of the world’s whales including as a food resource.

  53. Larry Fields July 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Comment from: jennifer July 5th, 2013 at 3:09 pm
    “Instead there is this new religion that claims any use of any natural resource is bad and that sustainable use and conservation are incompatible.”

    Speaking of the devil, I’d like to add that 21st Century Environmentalism comes in various flavors. Short of laying out a comprehensive taxonomy, I’d like to mention in passing that the Animal Rights religion is one of the flavors. People are mostly bad, but other animals are always good. Yeah, right. I think that the typical AR activist needs to either grow up and learn to be more tolerant of people with whom he disagrees, or to put his Kool-Aid where his mouth is.

  54. Debbie July 5, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Well said Jen and Larry.

  55. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    No Jen, but I am aware that I can go on and on. Personally I’d like to engage a lot more than I am cos it is something I feel quite passionate about. But not in a greenie way cos that I am not.

    Now Deb, sentient beings. Yes indeed, this is the nub of my argument. It is my world view that of course all life on our planet has some claim to its existence. Reality of course dictates that lions lying down with lambs cannot happen and so I accept the pragmatic view that we must eat other life to live ourselves.

    But it doesn’t follow that we automatically have a right to extinguish life however it suits us.

    A society that hunts to live and takes what it needs is a different thing to a society that hunts for pleasure. The latter takes life away for personal pleasure. I don’t think that is an enlightened way to go.

    A cow of course experiences the world much as you do. It doesn’t have a complex view of its world and nor can it form complex models of relationships etc. But if you stop thinking for a moment and just ‘be’ – well, that’s what it is like for a cow. Or so I reckon.

    So a cow feels pain, it experiences feelings, it can make some level of prediction about its environment and its relationship to that. Beating a cow to death, or shooting it several times is not just the same as doing that to a lump of rock.

    In that respect then, why do we separate the human experience from that of the animal? We decry indiscriminate torture or killing of humans, but not of animals. Sure, we pay lip service to the notion that animals shouldn’t be mistreated but we don’t REALLY accord them the same respect as humans.

    Beyond the necessity to eat for sustenance, what argument is there for taking life for personal pleasure? Whether it be as an aphrodisiac, a traditional cure, or the enjoyment of taste? None of those are necessities. It’s just what we LIKE to do.

    Is it that people have a right to use all other life to suit their personal preferences? Where IS our responsibility to treat our place on this world with some enlightened consideration?

    As for cows, I don’t have a problem with farming them for food. But farming them in their teeming millions and killing them so kids can leave a half eaten big Mac littering the roadside seems hardly ethical, really.

  56. John Sayers July 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Wiki has a very interesting article on whale meat. Eating whale meat is much more widespread than most of us realise. They also go into detail on the different cuts of whale meat.


  57. spangled drongo July 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Graeme, regardless of the consciousness of we animals, we have always lived in a dog-eat-dog world.

    It is only the sustainability of killing what we naturally eat that should matter in any ethical analysis.

  58. Ian Thomson July 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    The sentient being idea is not really something the Japanese would actually wish to study.
    Debbie , my house is surrounded by tall gumtrees , galahs come in and roost in the evening.
    There is a huge chatter session, before they all settle down to rest. Bet you have the same.
    ( I can tell you some funny stories about unscheduled interruptions and how they reacted to them )
    To me I cannot tell the difference between that evening twitter and the distant sound of a local primary school.

    We are actually a little dooopey I think, because we need a wheel.
    There are some animals , which I have observed , that probably laugh at us.



    We are a bit primitive really.

  59. Debbie July 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Yes Ian. . .
    one of the first things that crossed my mind after Graeme’s latest comments. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    I do believe some of them (particularly the birds) are probably smarter than us.

  60. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Yes SD, I agree completely. But isn’t there a difference between sustainable ‘harvesting’ of animals for sustenance vs harvesting for pleasure? Look I know it’s hard to get away from the idea that it’s perfectly fine to eat anything because it tastes nice, Geez I am guilty of that too. I like most meats.

    But when do we make a more ethical choice? Regardless of the protestations, it is true that many animals worldwide suffer terribly through the various methods of farming, hunting, slaughtering and so on. Heck we raise many animals just to slaughter. Is it really fair to have a lamb born to die just so someone somewhere can have lamb roast? Not because that person has to have a lamb roast but because that person just likes it?

    I know I am pissing into the wind here, but I do believe it is good to keep harping on because maybe one of you will see that there is more to it.

    And when it comes to whales, if the Japanese really needed whale meat to survive, well OK. But that isn’t the case is it? We are not talking sustenance, we are talking personal preference. We don’t need to do it.

    And traditional culture be damned. We have come a long way in our evolution and we’ve chosen to leave behind many traditions because we’ve learned better. That was the point of my reference to genital mutilation. Its a cultural tradition, but is it moral and acceptable?

    Can’t we be better in this instance?

  61. John Sayers July 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    According to Wiki human consumption of whale meat continues today in Japan, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, by Basques, the Inuit and other indigenous peoples of the United States (including the Makah people of the Pacific Northwest), Canada, Greenland; the Chukchi people of Siberia, and Bequia in the Caribbean Sea. It’s not just the Japanese and Minke whales aren’t the only whale species they eat. The North Pacific fin whale and sei whales are also eaten. Th Japanese have been eating whale meat since 800AD.

    Luke suggested that there is a huge amount of whale meat in storage which they can’t sell – well there probably is because like all animals we consume there are expensive and cheap cuts. the cheap cuts remain in storage.The delicacy is the tongue followed by the tail meat, being the muscle from the dorsal fin down to the tail.

  62. John Sayers July 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Graeme M, the most humane killing is in fact the single shot by an accurate spotlight roo hunter as SD has often said.

    I heard a restaurateur who raises his own cattle say the best way to kill a steer is to walk up to it in the paddock and stroke it with one hand and fire a bullet into it’s head with the other. You then leave the animal in the paddock until sunset when you go out and retrieve it. Apparently the meat is superior as there is no fear endorphins and the sitting in the paddock tenderises the meat.

  63. Debbie July 5, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    JS 🙂
    Just imagine if Animals Australia snagged footage of that?

  64. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    JS I wouldn’t disagree. Humane treatment of animals is the goal and if we must kill then doing it well gets my vote.

    But I still don’t think the Japanese have a case, and I for one hope they lose. They won’t of course.

    And I’ll go on record yet again and say I vehemently oppose live export. It just does not fit with any definition of humane treatment.

    By the way, I do walk my own talk where I can. I do eat meat, even though I know that I may be supporting less than acceptable practices. But I try to buy what I imagine to be meats and other products that to the best of my knowledge have been handled by reputable suppliers. And I eat very little meat these days.

    I do not kill anything if I can help it. I have no need to kill a spider or a cockroach for example (though of course if my house became rife with roaches I would choose otherwise).

    I accept and don’t particularly shy away from appropriate killing such as ferals or whatever. I’d prefer that weren’t necessary, but what can you do?

    I just take the position that killing should only happen when it is necessary.

  65. Graeme M July 5, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Debbie I’ve met members of AA and my wife is a member. I really don’t think they’d be outraged by that. What does outrage them is unnecessary cruelty, poor farming practices and an unwillingness to face facts.

    I support them in most cases. From what I have seen, there are many many cases of inhumane treatment of animals on farms. i am not saying all farmers are guilty of this, but it DOES happen. I am glad there are people out there willing to put themselves on the line.

    I think live export is an example. From what I have seen, and I believe it, the trade does result in an unacceptable level of suffering for the animals. There’s a simple test. Given that cows, pigs and sheep do experience the world as we do when it comes to pain and suffering, would you rather be raised on a farm and slaughtered quickly and humanely, or [put through the whole live export thing? I know which way I’m voting.

    Most AA people are genuine caring people trying to make a difference, and I respect them for that. Without people like them and say the Jill Robinson’s of this world, what would change? It won’t be happening with your help, clearly.

  66. Luke July 6, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    So how big is the uneaten whale stockpile now?


  67. Mike Mellor July 6, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    I see people talking past each other here, with a total unwillingness to concede one millimeter. Fact, there is a moratorium. Fact, the Japanese cheated their way around the moratorium with the outright lie that they kill whales for scientific purposes. Fact, the killed whales are destined not for the laboratory but for the dinner table. Fact, whaling takes place in Australian waters contrary to international law. From that we can infer that the Japanese whalers are unprincipled lying bastards.

    Agreed, the vast majority of humanity assumes the right to eat other animals the same way as other carnivorous animals eat other animals; indeed, whales eat krill which are animals. Agreed, the slaughtering of animals to feed humans is inescapably ugly and the sooner the boffins synthesize meat as tasty as the “real thing,” the better. Agreed, humans are the only carnivorous animal to experience guilt and remorse at the death of their prey; arguably, this guilt and remorse is symptomatic of harm we have done to ourselves.

    Whether it’s climate or water or whales, you always get a lot further a lot quicker with the chance of achieving a real agreement, if all parties specify up front the items they don’t dispute. What I see here is people who think that their opponents are deaf and blind, so they repeat their arguments over and over, fulfilling the Einsteinian definition of insanity.

  68. spangled drongo July 6, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Yeah Luke, that’s why they import it from Iceland. To increase the stockpile:


    Mike Mellor, maybe you need to understand some fundamentals of human behaviour yourself.

  69. spangled drongo July 6, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Any evidence for that Luke?

    Or is that just what they claim?

    And do you think that if a country consumed 400,000 tons of whale meat in a year that 1.0% in stock is not unreasonable?

  70. spangled drongo July 6, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Do you think that whale oil as a bio-fuel is more or less sustainable than any of the fashionable bio-fuels?

    Here is an honest POV as distinct from the IWC, Greenpeace, WWF, Aust Govt and other hardliners:

    “The International Whaling Commission was established by the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. The IWC’s objective is: “to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.” However, the IWC is now ignoring an important element of its objective – the orderly development of the industry.

    The IWC is now controlled by a majority anti-whaling group backed up by anti-whaling non-governmental organizations, which has lead to various stringent regulations against whaling, one after another, which caused the IWC to deviate from its original objectives.

    The most conspicuous example of the violation of the Convention was the adoption of a commercial whaling moratorium in 1982. The Convention requires that all conservation measures shall be based on scientific findings, and the IWC Scientific Committee has never recommended a moratorium in the past.

    The moratorium was achieved by anti-whaling groups like Greenpeace recruiting into the IWC many countries that had nothing to do with whaling, thus giving the anti-whaling forces the majority they needed.

    The blatant disregard of the objectives and provisions of the 1946 Convention is not only in violation of the Convention but also violates the Vienna Convention on interpretation of Treaties, which requires “good faith” implementation of international treaties.”

  71. Debbie July 6, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Develop some perspective Luke,
    Australia stockpiles more beef than that. . . let alone grain and other forms of protein. Our population is only about
    23 million.
    We actually grow approx that tonnage on our little 900ha patch.
    4355 tonnes? ? ? pffft!

  72. spangled drongo July 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Waddya know! It’s not all death and disappearance in the oceans:


  73. John Sayers July 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Luke – australia would have a similar stockpile of kangaroo meat. Like the Japanese we only consume the prize cuts, around 10% of the animal. Fortunately we are allowed to export our excess roo meat to Russia, unlike Japan that can’t export it’s excess whale meat.

  74. spangled drongo July 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Polar bears are thriving too but science still cooks the books:


  75. John Sayers July 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    This chart puts the whale meat stockpile into persective when you compare it to beef and pork stockpiles in Japan.


  76. Luke July 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Clearly young Japanese don’t want to eat the stuff or be associated with such barbaric practices. Good taste.

    It’s simply food fetishism for kinks and misplaced nationalistic bravado to keep the illegal sham going. Why is there a stockpile anyway – isn’t this a “scientific program”?

    And what total disrespect to us. Disgraceful that you pussies who bang on about world govt and AGW like deranged nongs are totally happy to have your sovereignty pissed on by a nation state who had the bad judgement to bomb you in WWII (yes actually let’s mention the war !).

  77. John Sayers July 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Of course the youth in Japan are turned off whaling because they are bombarded with propaganda from WWF and Greenpeace, just like the rest of the world.

    Is eating chateaubriand, or twice cooked pork belly a food fetish? How about a dish I had the other day in an Indian restaurant, Murgh Kastoori Kabab – boneless chunks of chicken marinated in yoghurt flavoured with green fenugreek, wow – I could get a fetish over that.

    Disrespect for us!! oh Luke – you doth protest too much! “deranged nongs are totally happy to have your sovereignty pissed on by a nation state ”

    how about what SYB just did to your mate Kevin in Jakarta! Telling us not to protect our borders as it may offend, it may stop the thousands in graft and corruption money people smugglers are pouring into the Indonesian military and government. That’s having our sovereignty pissed on!

  78. Debbie July 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    Eating Pakastani basmati rice when you live in Australia is probably just a food fetish too 🙂
    Being a ‘holier than thou’ vegan is undoubtedly also a ‘food fetish’.
    Plenty of food fetish around. . . it isn’t a crime.

  79. Graeme M July 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Debbie, do you really think veganism is a food fetish? From what I understand, it is mostly an informed choice. In the context above, food fetish is meant to indicate a choice of food based on largely taste. Vegans (as opposed to vegetarians) make their choice primarily on philosophical grounds. What do you really understand vegans to mean when they choose not to eat meat? No dumb sloganeering Debbie, offer me a cogent view of what veganism is and why someone might choose it.

    JS: “Of course the youth in Japan are turned off whaling because they are bombarded with propaganda from WWF and Greenpeace, just like the rest of the world.”

    Is that true? What evidence can you offer that supports the contention that younger Japanese are making their choice based on propaganda. Is it possible that they think that eating whale meat is not necessary and that it is a morally better position not to hunt whales? What would be wrong with that view, do you think.

    How did we make the progress we have made in matters of moral choices and ethics if it isn’t because increasingly more people came to agree with a particular idea? Such as women having equal rights, or aborigines having the vote. Why would choosing not to hunt whales for meat or oil be a bad thing? Debbie, JS, SD etc, give me a few sentences about why it would be a bad thing to stop whaling? Or even better, why it would be good to continue with it?

  80. Larry Fields July 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Comment from: Graeme M July 5th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
    “And yes I know I said I wouldn’t comment further. This time I mean it.”

    And I won’t quote this pithy New England proverb:
    “Blessed is he who has nothing to add to a discussion, and who refrains from making that fact painfully obvious to everyone around him.”

    But I didn’t say that!

  81. Graeme M July 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Heh Larry, my excuse is Jen challenged me…

  82. John Sayers July 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Graeme – as I mentioned before the Japanese have been eating whale meat since 800AD I’ve since discovered it goes back to 3000BC – http://luna.pos.to/whale/jwa_trad.html They have recipes for it, they have restaurants who serve it, it’s part of their culture.

    “Santa Monica sushi restaurant abruptly shuttered its doors after it was disclosed that the hipster hangout was selling illegal whale meat.”

    Perhaps you and Luke can show us where you have evidence that the youth of Japan are turning off whale meat without referring to biased Greenpeace reports.

    With regard to veganism and vegetarianism in my experience it’s directly related to the killing of animals.B vegetarians usually support their protein intake via cheese whereas vegans don’t and reply on nuts and pulses only. IMO you have to be a very good cook to be a good vegetarian or vegan. Indian vegetarians eat many meals a day, just like grazing herbivores and are still cooking at 10pm. My builder and his family here in Dubai is a vegetarian. The indian restaurants have extensive vegetarian meals on their menus and many are purely vegetarian.

    here’s the menu for this fabulous indian restaurant I found in Dubai – there are around 10 of the in the chain. The vegetarian meals are at the end.


    There is an interesting spot in the Congo where two separate groups of chimpanzees exist on opposite sides of the river. The northern group are a patriarchal society and eat meat by killing small monkeys by going on organised hunting expeditions. The position of the males is determined by battle and who your father is as in all patriarchies.
    The southern side group are a Matriarchy and are vegetarian. The position of the males in the society is determined by who your mother is.

  83. Graeme M July 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    JS, yes, that’s my understanding of veganism. I understand the sentiment but think it’s unrealistic. Humans DO eat meat, and so do an awful lot of other animals. In some ways its a sad conundrum that to live requires consuming other life, but then that is part of what drives the whole process. Vegans tend to ignore that, and I am unconvinced that a vegan diet is an effective alternative.

    That said, I also sympathise with their views and respect them for having that conviction. They do wish to make the world a better place for other species. I don’t feel the need to lampoon or ridicule them for that.

    Going back to whale meat, I don’t disagree with the fact that it is a traditional diet. But is there any reason to stick with any tradition once it becomes outdated? With greater enlightenment through science or social evolution we have abandoned many cultural traditions. Why is this one different?

    My argument is simple. If it isn’t necessary to eat whales beyond a personal preference for that meat, why is it justifiable to continue to hunt and eat them? They are living intelligent beings doing their thing. If we can avoid it, why not let them live their lives rather than take it from them to satisfy a personal taste? That is simple selfishness. Why do you think anyone should hunt whales when it means depriving another living being of its life unnecessarily?

  84. John Sayers July 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Exactly what cultural traditions in food have we ceased Graeme? If anything we have increased the types of food we eat – we now enjoy Bassa from Vietnam as our fish and chips. We eat squid as calamari which fishermen used to throw away as bycatch. I don’t think we’ve changed anything in our cultural diet so why should the Japanese?

  85. spangled drongo July 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Graeme, Japan maintains a sustainable whale meat supply and diet because they are smart enough to realise that nothing in this life is guaranteed. That is a very intelligent, humane and provident thing to do for your people.

  86. Luke July 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    “Japan maintains a sustainable whale meat supply ”

    Gee I thought it was science program whereby you get to kill a few hundred to see if they’re healthy?

    “That is a very intelligent, humane and provident thing to do for your people.” I just laughed with disgust – what bunk – it’s simply an grubby industry out of date and out of time.

    A very intelligent, humane and provident thing would be to do something useful.

  87. John Sayers July 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Yes Luke – the minke whale catch is sustainable.
    Yes it’s a science program because the emotional wankers like you who eat caged chickens, caged pigs and the offspring of cattle think its cruel and barbaric.
    It’s not out of date or out of time – it may be out of resistance to you and your NGO’s action against it but hopefully it will survive the onslaught.

  88. John Sayers July 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    A few hundreds at 10 tonnes each is thousands of tonnes. what don’t you understand about that Luke?


  89. spangled drongo July 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    What an arrogant, pompous twit you are Luke! To not be able to understand that a country with a large population living on a few shaky islands with a food supply that is far from guaranteed, needs to have leaders that never forget the infinite range of problems that a likely disaster can [and does often] throw at them.

    When you explore those possibilities, any reasonable person would conclude that what Japan is doing is intelligent, humane and provident.

    If only more countries had leaders with similar vision including ours.

  90. Luke July 7, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    They’re not eating it in significant quantities. It’s irrelevant. Food fetishism and national pride.

  91. John Sayers July 7, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    they are eating it in the same quantities we eat Kangaroo!

  92. spangled drongo July 7, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    “They’re not eating it in significant quantities. It’s irrelevant. Food fetishism and national pride.”

    So a sustainable, traditional food that goes back over a thousand years, that is now being hysterically attacked by the world’s politically correct, becomes a “fetish”?

    And how irrelevant is any food source in an emergency?

    Luke, your philosophy shows up post mod thinking for what it is. Superficial crap.

    But the fact that they refuse to be told what to do by you fools is indeed something for them to be proud of as a nation.

  93. Luke July 7, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Sustainable hmmmm – that explains whale species almost hunted to extinction

    In their “traditional” Antarctic fishing grounds in modern high-tech ships with grenade tipped harpoons to blow pieces out of whales so they can then take the research samples back to Japan to stockpile and so a few food fetishists can be happy.

    Yuh Yuh – maybe we should all be eating Lyre Birds? Might decide it’s culturally appropriate. Nah let’s shoot them to gauge their health and keep then in cold storage.

  94. spangled drongo July 7, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    “Sustainable hmmmm – that explains whale species almost hunted to extinction”

    Minkes? Check your facts.

    You’re desperate, lovely boy.

  95. Debbie July 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    Maybe fetish is the wrong word? 🙂
    Usually using the term ‘fetish’ has sexual undertones.
    Perhaps ‘fad’ or ‘fashion’ would be more suitable?
    Graeme . . I have no problem with people making their own diet choices. As I said earlier. . . I don’t eat meat.
    I find the ‘moralising’ distasteful and ‘holier than thou’
    Veganism is not necessarily ‘better’ or ‘higher order’ it is simply a choice. Quite often it can be for health reasons.
    Aussies are not necessarily ‘better’ than Japanese either. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Japanese find some of our habits and dietary choices peculiar or even distasteful.
    I think you need to widen your reading on this subject. Most of your posts appear to be lifted straight from activist sites complete with emotional and inappropriate adjectives/adverbs/comparisons.

  96. Debbie July 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    And. . .
    when whales were being overhunted. . . last century. . . which countries over did it?

  97. Luke July 7, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    I knew you’d make the stupid rebuttal of minkes. I DID NOT say all species. But look at the very many others. Look at the disgraceful record. Ongoing with dodgy fisheries corruption as well.

    Does their current “science quota” include other species I wonder. Hmmmmm

    And you’d trust these people would you – ho ho ho !

    But you know you’re probably happy taking pot shots at large mammals and blowing big chunks out of them and seeing how long it takes to kill them.

    Anyway open season on Lyre Birds – let’s kill them to check their health and freeze them. Just in case we feel the need to eat a few.

  98. Graeme M July 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Debbie it’d be easier to have the conversation in person over a coffee or whatever… I am arguing that it IS a better choice. What is wrong with the idea that some behaviour might be “better”? I have been trying to argue for a more moral outlook. By definition, that must be “better”. Again I am no great philosopher, but isn’t striving for more moral and ethical choices all about being better? If we simply pander to our baser instincts, then we don’t progress. Maybe that’s OK in your philosophy, but I would like to imagine part of the human condition is to want to be better, whatever better is? Else what is the value of our big brains? Just to outcompete everything else? That’s ultimately a dark and barren outlook.

    Activist websites? Never read one in my life. Most of my ideas I have developed for myself, but yes I’ve discussed with my wife and other ‘activists’, whatever an activist is. Maybe my views accord with theirs because that’s where you end up when you think it through?

    Why don’t you give it a go?

  99. Debbie July 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    The ‘activist website’ comment was not aimed at you Graeme.

  100. toby July 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    any time people start talking about morals and imposing them i always get worried. Seems to me if something is not close to extinction and WILL be eaten, there is nothing immoral in killing it. When people start trying to impose their own morals and values on others i can only think “big brother”. And big brother in the orwellian sense is something to be feared, loathed and prevented. Hence my hatred of big government……and the Greens………let people do whatever they want so long as it does not hurt other people is my philosphy

    So personally i have no problems with japanese or norwegians eating, hunting and killing whale meat if the purpose is to eat it, but killing for the sake of killing, that seems clearly wrong in my world.

    The reality is however, most of it is not being eaten and large stockpiles are continuing to build ( in norway and japan). That to me seems not just immoral but stupid!? The japanese were never really eaters of whale meat until WW2 forced them to eat whale to survive, is my understanding.

    luke talks about blue fin tuna. It is when numbers become unsustainable that we have a problem and i for one have no problems with imposing restrictions on catch limits with the long term as a key focus to ensure sustainability of our oceans. Blue fin tuna numbers clearly are in decline and we should be preventing the japanese from raping our oceans. BUT Minke whales are plentiful (i have dived with them on a number of occassions, quite a “spiritual experience”) and i have no problem with killing one if it is to be eaten……..i ate whale once, deep fried and it was actually very nice……would i kill one. NO BLOODY WAY, BUT IF THEY ARE PLENTIFUL AND TO BE EATEN, IT IS SURELY A PERFECTLY NATURAL AND REASONABLE THING TO DO? the issue is really that they dont get eaten and they are clearly killing more than is required for scientific research, so the stupidity and barbarity of the act seems obvious to me…….but HOW DO WE ALL FEEL WHEN SOMEONE ELSE TRIES TO IMPOSE THEIR MORALS ON US WHEN THEY DON FIT OUR OWN PARADIGM?….. i for one just tell them to f–k off….

    If we want japan and norway to stop it is a question of getting them to realise the stupidity of their ways….not because of morals.

  101. John Sayers July 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Toby – the Japanese have a history of eating whale meat that goes back to 3000BC.

  102. Graeme M July 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Toby, think about what you wrote, just for a moment. This is the usual line trotted out – don’t you impose your morals on ME. Sorry mate, but that’s how it works. You DON’T get the right to make your own choices about how to live in the world. Fork me, you reckon our society got where it did because we let everyone do what they please? Spare me.

    What happens is that as a society, we are always developing better ideas about how we should live in the world. Once an idea takes hold, for example giving women the vote, a particular society will codify that idea in its laws. That’s what government does. Once the idea is legislated we have to abide by it until we repeal it. That’s how civilised societies as we know it work! Bob may reckon women are too damned stupid to vote, but Bob can’t do much about it. He sure doesn’t get to claim oppression and stop women voting! Of course in some countries Bob and his mates may decide to stop that through force/violence, but that’s not civilisation as we know it. And that process is why Aussie is a fine place to live.

    In the case of say animal rights or whatever we are sort of talking about here, the ‘greenies’ and activists actually have a good case. And if in time as a society we find that the majority agree, then we will enact laws to provide some sort of framework within which animals will have some rights. Then Toby, you can complain till the cows come home that you won’t have others impose their morals on you, but sadly for you that’s EXACTLY what will happen.

    When it comes to international relations of course, it’s much harder. So we have international conventions, perhaps via the mechanism of the UN. And we hope to have as many nations as we can get sign up to something that we hope will confer improvements to how we conduct ourselves. An international agreement to stop commercial whaling for example. The purpose of that agreement is to codify an agreed position that is by definition ‘better’. Maybe it’s not quite by majority in reality, but that’s the mandate you give a democratically elected government – to act on behalf of the majority.

    And if someone exploits a loophole in the agreement to avoid its binding obligations, then they are not behaving in a way that is consistent with what has been agreed to be a better way to behave.

    And in the case of our Japanese friends, they are indeed exploiting a loophole to avoid the constraints of an international agreement about how to behave outside their sovereign waters and are therefore at fault.

    So, here’s hoping their get a jolly good hiding and told to fork off with their forking whaling ships. Scientific research my arse.

  103. Larry Fields July 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    Hey, wait a minute! Why aren’t we also talking about the Faroe Islanders? (They live approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland. They’re partly autonomous, in close association with Denmark.)

    As is the case with Japanese whaling, Faroese whaling is sustainable. But it involves Pilot Whales, rather than Minke Whales.

    Unlike Japanese whaling, Faroese whaling involves needless suffering for the whales that they kill and eat. It is truly barbaric.

    How dare the control freaks at the IWC attempt to divert our attention in this underhanded way? The transparent double standard shows that they don’t give a rat’s patootie about the morality of whaling. What is their true agenda? Are they simply getting their jollies by pointing fingers and stirring up trouble? Or is it something more insidious?

  104. Graeme M July 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Larry, that’s a stereotypically fatuous comment.

    Debbie, sorry, I did misread your comment, and I see now the activist comment was aimed at Luke.

    See how much easier this’d be if we were all sitting around a nice big dinner table!

  105. Larry Fields July 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Comment from: Graeme M July 7th, 2013 at 6:24 pm
    “Larry, that’s a stereotypically fatuous comment.”

    Graeme, what part of my comment do you take issue with? And why?

    I suspect that you can’t answer that, because your reading, writing, and analytical abilities are not equal to the task. What part of “double standard” are you failing to comprehend?

    And no, this would not be easier “… if we were all sitting around a nice big dinner table!” I choose my own friends. And I do not relish the company of pseudo-intellectual conquistadores, who have no interest in learning. I’ve had more enlightening communication with a Border Collie than I have with you. Capeesh?

  106. Graeme M July 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Capeesh??? Very witty Larry, very witty indeed.

    I won’t bother with trying to match wits with your clearly superior intellect, I’d just lose and gee… I don’t take well to losing.

    But ya know, the subject matter is about Japanese whaling under the guise of research and the obvious fact that they are exploiting a loophole in an international convention. What have the Faroe Islands got to do with that? I’ll betcha that they aren’t even signatories to the IWC agreements…

  107. John Sayers July 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established in 1946 – it wasn’t setup to ban whaling but to “provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry”.

    It was in the 70s that the activists took over and started the banning regime.

    Japan, whilst being a member of the IWC, has never accepted the bans placed on it by the activists in the IWC.

  108. Graeme M July 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    ac·tiv·ist [ak-tuh-vist]
    1. Someone with whom you disagree but can’t for the life of you prove why they’re wrong…

  109. Debbie July 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Well yes. . . that is the subject matter. . . so why have you tried to include such things as mutilating women, burning witches etc?
    Jen’s original point about ‘moralising’ is still valid as is Larry’s similar point about ‘double standards’.

  110. Graeme M July 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    If you didn’t follow me earlier Debbie then I am not sure I can clarify. I was trying to illustrate a point that I thought was self evident. That is, that over time, we develop what we think are more ethical ways of behaving. Stopping commercial whaling is an example, and so were the others I offered up. Do you really not see the parallel?

  111. John Sayers July 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    No Graeme – I don’t see any parallels between killing whales for food and burning witches and religious acts of mutilating women.

  112. davefromweewaa July 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Graeme M,
    Seems to me you are flogging a very similar dead horse to the one you flogged the tripe out of back in April.
    What is wrong with Whale eaters taking a sustainable yield from a renewable resource ?

  113. John Sayers July 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Australia had a whaling fleet of 3 ships that not only harvested from our coast but travelled to Peru and set up whaling along the south American coast.
    Whale oil and baleen (whalebone) were profitable commodities and whaling was one of Australia’s first major export industries with coastal whaling stations helping build Australia. Sealing and whaling contributed more to the colonial economy than land produce until the 1830s.

    From 1952 until 1962 a whaling station operated at Tangalooma, Queensland, on Moreton Island, which harvested and processed 6277 Humpback Whales during that period. That’s the one SD referred to.

    Byron Bay had a whaling station as did Eden on the south coast.

    We also encouraged the Norwegians to whale our western coastline.

    We were a major player in the decimation of whales


  114. Ian Thomson July 8, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    So , Australians decided that whales were too nice to kill, in the same year that they started to decide that aboriginals were capable of voting. They decided whales were too intelligent to kill, 5 years before they decided that aboriginals were not protected wildlife , but citizens.
    Where were you in ’62 ?
    The first Ford Falcon was born about then too and it also was a handy export earner. However , after protracted slaughter by various governments , they are expected to be extinct in a matter of a few years from now.
    What a pity the 1960’s had to end and what a pity governments decided whales were more important than their constituents. No wonder the Japanese think we’re weird.

  115. Debbie July 8, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    So Graeme?
    Aren’t Larry & John & others illustrating a point when they draw parallels with Norway etc?
    They seem to be more relevant to whaling yet you have dismissed them claiming it’s about Japan.

  116. Graeme M July 8, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Ian, those are observations of inconsistencies in human affairs, hardly anything notable in that and not really relevant. At any point in history we can see such inconssistencies – human affairs cover a wide scale and some changes take longer than others. Doesn’t mean we throw our hands in the air and give up on any one thing we try to do because other things aren’t being done too.

    Debbie, apart from my personal views, this post is about Japan’s use of loopholes in an international convention to continue whaling. As far as I know, the Faroe Islands are not part of the international convention under discussion. Norway chooses not to agree with the convention and thus is not bound by it. So throwing those up are diverssions to avoid addressing the core issue and hence devoid of value in this context. Fatuous as I said.

    Jen argues that it’s just perfectly fine for Japan to do what it does because it’s a traditional activity, she also seems to feel that Western moralising is somehow to be decied. I disagree on both counts – the whole point of agreements or laws are that we have as a society agree on new behaviours. Just because something is traditional, or cultural, doesn’t mean it should not be changed. Like witch burning. Or genital mutilation. As for western moralising, well yes. Whether Western or Eastern or lunar, moralising is important. Without it, we don’t progress. Some moralising is over the top, some is not. But from the bubbling cauldron of ideas, proposals, moralising, philosophising and so on come the great steps forward that help lift us above the mundane.

    I happen to believe that in this case, not hunting whales is a good thing. I don’t care if that seems inconsistent with other things because it is one small step in a larger journey.

  117. Larry Fields July 8, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Hey Graeme,
    Whadayaknow! Someone on this board is playing the Off Topic card. And he has something in common with the IWC. They both have Double Standards. If “Double Standards” has too many letters for him to grok, can he say “hypocrisy?”

  118. Ian Thomson July 8, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Hi Graeme,
    I am not making light of your views, by referring to past policy decisions.
    I am noting that as far back as then , Australian governments knew that a good animal welfare story takes priority in the news over any real policy story. Therefore it comes before any useful government policy which might actually upset somebody outside in the cosy trade circle, or inside the political one.
    Krudd’s recent Indonesian visit sits right there. Discuss live cattle sensitivities , with solemn faces and pretend that an Australian frigate isn’t busy a few K’s away, in Indonesian waters, rescuing refugees – who are part of a lucrative Indonesian processing and export industry.
    The live cattle work better on the evening news .

    That said, your ‘ from little things big things grow’ sentiment also has relevance. From a few liberals around the World being incensed at the way slaves were transported here with captains payed only for passage, we have come to where live export captains who are paid for what gets there alive, are now seen as heinous .
    I think that , on past performance, whales will get to vote, before an Aboriginal at an outstation, or a farmer in the Riverina, or a manufacturer, has his vote valued the same way.

  119. jennifer July 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm #


    “Jen argues that it’s just perfectly fine for Japan to do what it does because it’s a traditional activity” !!!


    I have never stated that. I have stated that whaling is a traditional activity, but that is not why I condone it…

    I condone it, I encourage it, because it is both sustainable and humane… in my opinion.

    I suggest that feeding the world’s population with whale meat would arguably be more environmentally friendly than by any other means. And if you are concerned about morality and humanity… in whaling through the killing of only one soul that had the opportunity to swim free in the Southern Ocean many thousands can be feed.

    I do consider the current use of modern grenade tipped harpoons (which aim a grenade to the head of the whale) to be a humane method. The methodology has been well documented in terms of pain to the animal, time to death, in technical studies undertaken particularly by the Norwegians.

    I have made reference to the activity being traditional to point out alternative world views and explain that an animal can be both revered and exploit when it is a totem. This concept is real, but missing from modern environmentalism that assumes ‘exploitation’ of a resource is incompatible with a deep appreciation of the same resource.

  120. Graeme M July 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Fair enough Jen, I must have misread/misunderstood your earlier comment response. But isn’t eating whales to sustain the population a different issue? The IWC moratorium on commercial whaling was an internationally agreed position. You can argue about the whys and wherefores, but that was the agreement. Japan signed up (and yes, there was some persuasion involved in that) so really should agree to be bound by it. Exploiting a loophole (which was probably expressly included for this purpose) is to avoid the spirit of the agreement.

    I’m not arguing whether or not whales can be consumed sustainably because of course any animal probably can be, even if sustainably means one per year. The matter at hand is that Japan has signed up to an agreement and then used a technicality to avoid the intent of the agreement.

    I admit though that now having read some more of the background I realise that it’s a much more fraught matter than I realised. That a member nation can just say they disagree and go off and do what they like as seems to be the case with Norway is pretty strange, but at least on the whole the moratorium has had a positive effect.

    But that’s the legalities of it all. My personal view is somewhat less than technical. I have no idea where to draw the line, but I have argued that it isn’t right to eat animals out of personal preference if that involves unnecessary suffering. There’s a difference between eating to live and eating for fun. I just don’t get the idea that killing something for fun is a morally justified thing to do. And believe me, like most country kids I’ve killed my fair share of things for fun.

    When it comes to whales, I accept what you say about the one versus the many. Yes, it’s logically inconsistent and makes better sense to eat whale than say lamb. But you also have to be pragmatic. We aren’t farming whales, and there are not that many of them. We do farm cattle and sheep. If there is no reason to eat whale beyond a personal preference or some tradition, ie it is not a necessity, then why do it? It’s a small step, but one more species is then safe as far as possible from human predation. Then we can focus our attention on managing the farming of livestock to ensure it’s done as humanely as possible.

    Everyone else here on the other hand seems to think that eating anything is fine as long as it’s ‘sustainable’. But that’s just me-centric. Sustainability is really good, as long as it’s not you that’s not gonna be sustained. I’m just saying that we can all live quite happily, and get all the food we need, without sustainably harvesting everything we can get our hands on.

    In short, why not ensure Japan adheres to the spirit of the agreement and let the Minkes or whatever they are alone? Why so hell bent on killing the poor buggers?

    Is human pleasure THAT important?

  121. Jennifer Marohasy July 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    I’m saying that you have no logical, moral, or environmental reason for being against the harvest of whales in the Southern Ocean by the Japanese.

    You now seem to be reverting to the argument that hunting whales can not be compared to raising lambs because one is hunting and the other is farming. So, are you saying you are against hunting?

    Are you saying that food from an agricultural production system, is some how better than food from the wild? I disagree completely. Indeed if you care about the environment, favour the harvest of kangaroo over sheep.

    And, It is the Japanese that are adhering to the spirit of the agreements, not us.

    And, There is nothing in my arguments at all relevant to the issue of “human pleasure”. I’m taking a totally pragmatic approach simply arguing that some methods of acquiring food are more sustainable* in the longer term, and also more humane, than others.

    The Japanese want to continue hunting whales not because they enjoy it, but because they consider it important to safeguard national food security into the future.

    I defend their right, because I don’t want future generations of Japanese or Australians to go hungry for any reason. I have lived in rural Africa, I have seen and experienced hunger.

    *I use the term sustainable in the broader context, with reference to use of water, energy etcetera.

  122. Luke July 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    “I don’t want future generations of Japanese or Australians to go hungry for any reason”

    Sorry Jen – don’t buy it – just more contrarian anti-enviro bashing isn’t it ….

    so we’ll being seeing a thread on overexploitation of the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery quite soon?

    or perhaps a thread on global fisheries sustainability in general.

    But more likely a thread that the analysis of global fisheries data is corrupt?

    Or perhaps we might see a thread on how the incredibly valuable Japanese scientific research has helped with the conservation of endangered whale species. What benefits have been accrued and how are they being put into effect? Would be great to know. So far we have determined that harpooning does indeed lead to a decline in physiological function which is valuable to know.

    But surely the whaling is a boutique issue in terms of serious food supply to humans given the rejected uneaten stockpile and declining appetite for such material.

    But if one was really interested, one would also be quite concerned about the documented rapid changes in the Antarctic waters in terms of what might sustain the whales themselves (changes for whatever reason).

  123. jennifer July 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    You can have all of those threads Luke, I touched on those issues in that paper I wrote for E&E a few years ago. I remember you liked it. So, what is your problem with the Japanese harvesting Minke whales in the Southern Ocean? Why does the concept so upset you and millions of other Australians? IMO it is because you are basically ignorant and righteous when it comes to food preference.

  124. Luke July 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    “IMO it is because you are basically ignorant and righteous when it comes to food preference.”

    Probably true. But that’s value systems for you !

  125. Johnathan Wilkes July 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    This sort of moral outrage about nothing really, can only happen in an affluent society.

    I bet you, in a short while say 20 to 30 years from now, there will be an outcry about the poor starving whales due to overpopulation..

  126. spangled drongo July 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Jonathan, there are already too many of the bastards.

    When you are surfing down a big sea in a light-weight racing yacht at 20 knots or so and a big greasy slug surfaces right under your bow and you slide up on his back praying to god you keep clear of his whacking great tail or you are matchwood, you begin to wish there were more people and ships around with harpoons. This happens more than you think and it frightens the daylights out of you.

    The buggers need to learn the rules of the sea. Not just might is right.

  127. cohenite July 8, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    SD, maybe the big guy is just after a bit of action; you know, a whale of a time.

  128. spangled drongo July 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    Probably is, cohers. Anyone’d think they’re entitled.

  129. spangled drongo July 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Once upon a time when these birds darkened the sky with their huge flocks, Australians used to eat THEM with gusto [and gravy]. Today, I saw a flock of 50 for the first time in a long while and it isn’t our eating of them that has reduced their numbers but our reduction of their habitat.


    Whales don’t have this problem and their numbers are continuing to increase.

    There are very few wild animals in this world that are able to increase their numbers like this because of our increasing occupation and/or invasion of their habitat but whales can.

  130. Ian Thomson July 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Traditional whaling for thousands of years. With rowing boat?
    Big problem end of WW2 feed “now wonderful” Japanese.
    WHALES – fit previous culture . All the you beaut companies can get involved. Lots of weaponry available.
    Like the motor industry thing.
    Culture- my arse.
    Rebuilding a country and feeding the populace.
    Most of us just accept it all.My father refused to buy anything Japanese, AT ALL.
    But he was one of the ones who ACTUALLY saved us.

    I am of Norse extraction and I find the Japanese , Johnny come lately , factory version of tradition a con.
    However, I still say that if the Japanese look at this country’s animal policy, they will know we are nuts.
    Please don’t tell them about what we do with water, they might come and invade ( rescue ) us.

  131. John Sayers July 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Luke – Australia has one of the largest fisheries in the world yet we import 70% of our seafood!

    We’ve closed our industry down and we are depleting fish stocks in other people’s waters like Vietnam and the South China sea and New Zealand. It’s disgraceful and we should be taken before the international fishing court if there is such an outfit.

    The trawler issue was typical of our ill informed policies regarding fishing. All the science said it was sustainable, all the advice given the company by the government department responsible said it was a goer but at the last moment Bourke caved into the people like you who look at fishing purely emotionally and not realistically. They even came back and asked if they could use the trawler purely as a refrigerated processing plant that would have saved tonnes of diesel used by the fishers sailing to and from the fishing ground and the home port but Bourke again rejected it!

    It’s disgraceful! We are as bad as the Japanese using your terms. We are pilfering everyone elses oceans.

  132. John Sayers July 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    “Traditional whaling for thousands of years. With rowing boat?”

    yes – that’s how they did it in Eden. There were two in the boat – there was a harpoonist at the front and a stearman in the rear. The long rope was coiled in the centre of the boat.

    The harpoonist would spear the whale which would take off dragging the row boat behind. The guys just sat in the back of the boat and sat out the journey till the whale tired and they could then harpoon it lethally. That’s how all the whaling occurred around the world.

    Of course they had mother ships when away from the coast.

  133. Luke July 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    John – don’t verbal me. Perhaps I also have a dim view of over-exploitation of Asian fisheries. Did I have any hand in restrictions on Australian fisheries – no.

    Anyway back to whaling – there is no ability to resolve this – we agree to disagree.

    The feelings are too strongly held I. And it is not that I have not listened to Jen’s argument.

  134. Debbie July 9, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Well . . . yes Luke.
    Isn’t that the main point?
    It’s about ‘feelings’ rather than rational or common sense?
    ‘Feelings’ about the Japanese and ‘feelings’ about whales?

  135. Graeme M July 9, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I’m with Luke, it’s difficult to have a rational discussion when the issue reflect deep seated beliefs. I am asking those reading to question your beliefs. The rational position, regardless of your own views, is that an international agreement was reached to stop commercial whaling. This reflects a broader societal view even if you don’t personally agree with it. Japan is exploiting a loophole to get around that agreement which is not consistent with the intent of the agreement. They are doing it for nothing more than cultural preference. They are in the wrong.

    But more than that, my argument is simple. What is this irresistible and compelling force that requires us to eat everything we can get our hands on, even if that is not necessary? What would actually be wrong with the world’s population choosing to eat only what is necessary? To not hunt/harvest/farm/slaughter whales to satisfy a cultural preference? To not raise and kill millions of pigs, sheep, cows, you name it so some self-centred clown can smack his lips because that new lamb burger in the take-away shop is just sooo nice? Even if he is a bit full because he’d already had the full bacon and eggs big breakfast earlier?

    Easy to put your head in the sand when it’s not you being humanely slaughtered, eh?

    Jen, your earlier comments reflect a complete lack of effort to understand my position as evidenced by your confused statements. You then make the absurd argument that the Japanese “consider it important to safeguard national food security into the future.” That is yet another fatuous statement. On what possible basis could taking a few hundred whales per year be about safeguarding food security for 125 million people?

    A quick calculation shows us that a single Minke, even if we ate every last bit of it, would provide a mere fraction of a gram per Japanese person. It would require 8000 Minkes to provide 1kg of meat to every Japanese person. Let’s assume that we only need to feed half the population as a rough estimate of adults in the place, that’s still 4000 Minkes to offer up enough food to sustain each person for how long? A couple of days? That’s a preposterous statement, even if we consider the Minke meat could be considered just an adjunct to other food sources.

    What a joke.

  136. Luke July 9, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    No that would be your feelings Debs and Jen’s. Not ours.

    The issues are plain:

    Their exploitation of whaling for science is a sham.
    It’s not a traditional hunting ground nor a traditional method.
    The kills are not instant.
    Previously whale species were hunted to the brink of extinction – yes I know about Minkes
    We didn’t win WWII to have our sovereignty trampled (remember next time your walk past a Cenotaph – yes I mentioned the War!)
    It’s a small source of protein in the big picture. The food security argument is poor.
    It food fetishism and Bushido.

    Yes other fisheries practices and animal husbandry also need a good ream out for standards.

    The traditional argument also applies to slavery, child soldiers and female circumcision. At some point one agrees to disagree. To the point just watched the movie on Lincoln and abolition of slavery – what a close vote carried on by a few brave men.

    So I’m unconvinced that the pro-whaling stand is little more than another greenie bashing exercise. But that’s just me.

    I don’t think we’re going to agree or progress somehow.

  137. Larry Fields July 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    I mentioned earlier that Cetacean meat is a big yuck for me, and that I have no desire to be ‘sporting’ and try some. I also explained my main reason why. But if I’m sufficiently hungry, yuckiness will take a back seat to survival.

    Some of my other animal food yucks include armadillos, banana slugs, cats, caterpillars, dogs, elephants, horses, and rats.

    One big difference between myself and the Graeme Crackers of this world is that I have precious little inclination to shove my food anti-preferences down the throats of others. However I do draw the line at cannibalism.

    I agree with Jennifer about the three big issues here. The first two are sustainability and relatively human harvesting methods. And yes, I realize that no killing method is 100% pain-free. BFD.

    There’s also a political issue relating to abuse of process on the part of certain crusaders in the IWC, who are attempting to hijack their organization. The IWC originally had a legitimate focus: sustainability. Anymore it’s touchy-feely crappola.

    The late Systems Scientist, Glenn Burress, made a wry observation: Whenever the accountability of an organization sinks below a critical threshold, the actual behavior of that organization will be the exact opposite of its stated purpose!

  138. jennifer July 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm #


    Like Larry I have a cultural aversion to the idea of eating whale…

    However, I strive to be rational in my approach to food preference and so I ate raw whale while I was in Tokyo. I saw it as character building and being honest to my overwhelming desire to take a rational approach to all things in this life. This overwhelming desire has grown, at least in part, out of contempt for modern environmentalism.

    So yes, I do believe that I understand your perspective… it was once my perspective.

    As regards safeguarding future food supplies… this has nothing what-so-ever to do with current stockpiles, but with maintaining a knowledge of how to go whaling, how to kill a whale, maintaining ships suitable for whaling and also motherships that can sustain a season of whaling in the Southern Ocean. Food security is ultimately about preparedness and capacity… not necessarily stockpiling.

  139. spangled drongo July 9, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    “I don’t think we’re going to agree or progress somehow.”

    Not when you let your Japanese hatred and lack of logic shine through like that.

  140. Luke July 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    “Not when you let your Japanese hatred ” more verballing. I didn’t say that. There’s a big difference between nation states, policy and individual people.

    “This overwhelming desire has grown, at least in part, out of contempt for modern environmentalism.” yuh ! And this becomes tribal.

  141. jennifer July 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Not necessarily tribal, Luke. My overwhelming desire to be rational is because I see how irrational and unscientific modern environmentalism is. Worse, it uses the guise of science to justify belief. So I’m NOT being tribal… I’m trying to be rational… And I’m still yet to see you or Graeme point out what is irrational about anything I have posted in this long thread.

  142. Graeme M July 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Jen, many things are irrational or inconsistent. And you may be right about the broader question of modern environmentalism, I am not particularly aligned with the environmental view anyway. And my issue with the meat/whale thing is not about an aversion to eating meat, I could quite happily try whale myself.

    I just happen to think that human beings could do with a dose of responsibility and thoughtfulness when it comes to all sorts of aspects of life. I know my views won’t really have any great effect, nor to be honest do I expect much to change. People are fundamentally selfish after all. In any case, where is this all going to end? Will human populations reduce anytime soon? Probably not, so most of the problems such as they are are unlikely to go away.

    You say you want to be rational in respect to food choices, but what does that mean? That you’d be willing to eat anything once? That you are happy for others to eat anything they choose? Do you apply that notion to all aspects of human behaviour? I suspect not. After all, there must be SOME behaviours somewhere that you can’t accept.

    Sometimes, it is important to go beyond rationality to what is right. And yes, that’s a value judgement, I’ve already observed how that works. Look, we farm all sorts of animals to feed the millions but is it really necessary to never draw a line in the sand and say we don’t need to eat this animal, or that? Why is my taste in food or yours so sacrosanct that we can’t question it?

    It’s like live animal export. Is the money so important that we have to cause animals to suffer?

    It’s not weakness or abandoning a scientific world view to sometimes say, “That isn’t right”. The alternative is to accept anything because not to is somehow irrational.

    As for whether you have said anything irrational… I think the basic premise is irrational. The Japanese are exploiting a loophole in an international agreement that they signed up to so that they can avoid the intent of the agreement. Wouldn’t you say that defending that on cultural grounds, or on the grounds of traditional practice, or the dubious claim that they are safeguarding national food security by keeping themselves well practiced in blowing up whales is just a little irrational?

    Like I asked earlier, what is so wrong about choosing not to kill whales to satisfy a cultural preference? I guarantee you that if they stopped eating whales tomorrow, not a damned thing will change – no-one will starve, no-one will suffer, no-one will go without… well, with the exception of those employed to catch the whales of course. And Japanese food security will be exactly what it is today.

    If you can prove I’m wrong, well just serve up the evidence. Cold of course. And with a saki chaser.

  143. Luke July 9, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    Jen I don’t think you’re being irrational. It’s simply your world view. Graeme is trying point out that the your arguments are marginal in our opinion. You fervently disagree.

    So we’re unlikely to progress the issue.

  144. davefromweewaa July 10, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    Graeme M,
    What if the whale eaters just like eating whale ? Why not just give them a sustainable quota? It is a renewable resource after all.
    I just don’t get why you feel entitled to tell anyone else what they can’t eat. Would you accept someone who felt morally superior to you trying to deprive you of your preferred nourishment ?

  145. spangled drongo July 10, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Jen, it’s called cool logic v warm prejudice.

  146. Luke July 10, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    “preferred nourishment ” – lyre birds – yum, rufous scrub birds – yum, hairy nose wombat mm mmm!

  147. Larry Fields July 10, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Comment from: Graeme M July 9th, 2013 at 10:12 pm
    “Like I asked earlier, what is so wrong about choosing not to kill whales to satisfy a cultural preference?”

    Nobody here is arguing that there’s anything wrong with AN INDIVIDUAL choosing not to kill whales. Or with his voting with his wallet, to choose something other than whale meat from the menu of his favorite Japanese restaurant. You may find this hard to believe, but I’ve never killed a whale, or even eaten whale meat. For me, this is both a cultural preference and an individual preference. Yeah yeah, I know. Pin a rose on my nose.

    Yes, Jennifer did ask the reasons for my aversion. After explaining, I couldn’t help but notice that nobody here is jumping on my case for having provincial tastes.

    Here’s my beef: You put words into the mouths of those with whom you disagree. Then you argue against the fake position, rather than coming to grips with what people are actually saying. Semiliteracy (or feigned stupidity) is nothing to get arrogant about. Unfortunately, this is the typical Graeme Cracker baloney that we’ve come to expect. (Pardon the mixed metaphor.) Hey Graeme! Can you say, “Straw Man Argument?”

    News flash! Other things being equal, intellectually honest people ARE morally superior to intellectually dishonest people, like yourself.

    Why don’t you put on your Big Boy Pants, and grow the hell up? And then get some medical attention for those scraped knuckles.

  148. Graeme M July 10, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Dave, I’m no more ‘entitled’ to offer a view than you are to offer the contrary view. What I am doing is suggesting an alternative way to consider the matter of eating. If eating didn’t require the death of another being I’d have few concerns. And I am not arguing that people shouldn’t eat meat. I am saying that when you have millions – billions – of people and you encourage them to eat anything and everything, you’ve got a significant ethical issue that did not confront man when he lived in small tribal groups and ate sustainably from nature.

    Do you believe that man is somehow above all other creatures, that he occupies a position of special favour thanks to the creator’s benevolence? That man is master of his domain and all other life lives to serve him? I don’t. We are not special beyond the fact we have a big brain and the appropriate appendages. If for whatever reason we had flippers and not hands, we wouldn’t be having this discussion and we wouldn’t be on the Internet. We’d be swimming around hoping not to get harpooned.

    You aren’t that special. Neither am I.

    As for morally superior, that’s my whole point. A lot of our lifestyle and behaviours is governed by laws developed through majority agreement about what is moral and ethical. For example, my hobby of choice is dirt bike racing. Lots of people don’t like that. How dare they tell me what to do? Shouldn’t I be able to flog my bike around the forests to my heart’s content? At the end of the day, if society decided that dirt bikes just aren’t on anymore, I have to accept that, no matter what my objections. That’s life.

    So why when it comes to making ethical choices about eating are you so defensive? I’m not saying don’t eat meat. I am not denying the Japanese their nourishment. I’m simply asking why it would be so bad to make a little improvement to how we live in the world and let one other species live free of human depredation. A pretty evil thought isn’t it?

  149. davefromweewaa July 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Graeme M,
    Eating does require the death of other beings. There is no getting around that fact. Even vegans rely on producers killing other beings by the billion. Even if you don’t eat animals you still compete with them.
    Ho ho ho, what a funny fellow you are! Served on a nice bed of Pakistani Basmati no doubt.

  150. Debbie July 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    So Graeme?
    In this instance is the ‘human depredation’ the Japanese and is the ‘other species’ the Minke Whales?
    Does that mean if anyone condones the practice of eating whale meat they are therefore automatically ‘depraved’?
    You are again asking very wide ranging questions for a rather specific topic.
    As Dave pointed out above….your style of questioning immediately opens up a much wider (and largely irrelevant) topic.
    If your objections to whaling are connected to something other than the court case then you need to be honest about that.
    Otherwise….I would have to agree with Larry and suggest that you are attempting to use a strawman argument.
    I think that the point about ‘moralising’ that began this long thread is still valid.
    I don’t think anyone here would disagree that there has probably been been some use of legal loopholes.
    Luke’s comment about sovereign rights is also a bit O/T in relation to the original post.
    This is after all an International case via the IWC.
    The Aus govt spokespeople made it very clear that this case went in this direction because there is no challenge re ‘sovereign rights’ and Australia has a very good political relationship with Japan. They specifically stated that they wanted the case heard by the IWC and did not see it as ‘Australia vs Japan”.

  151. Graeme M July 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Wow, this thread has been an eye opener to me. It’s a bit like the one at Deltoid about sea level. No way would the Deltoidians actually consider the alternatives to their preset views, and our conversation went round and round in circles. That’s what’s happening here, I think that we seem to be butting up against some sort of psychological barrier.

    Dave, yes, of course eating means death. I have noted that several times and I have also said I accept that is part and parcel of life on earth. I don’t have any real issue with that though I suppose I could wish it were otherwise. I’m not suggesting we don’t eat meat either. I’m saying nothing more than that we could approach the issue with a different mindset – one in which our taste buds are not the only arbiter of our relationship with so many other species.

    The point about veganism, or vegetarianism in many cases, is not so much that it has no negative impact on animals. That’s almost impossible as you observe. Rather, it is about doing as much as an individual can do to reasonably limit the negative impact.

    Debbie, that’s a confused and bizarre post. I won’t comment beyond noting that depredation does not mean depraved. And no I am not picking on the Japanese specifically in terms of human depredation, but please, the subject here is the actions of Japan in avoiding an obligation imposed upon them. So of course much of my commentary is directed at them specifically.

    They are in the wrong.

  152. Debbie July 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    Look up the definition of depredation Graeme,
    Synonyms are such things as rape, burglary, laying waste etc. . .


  1. Jennifer Marohasy - August 1, 2013

    […] Australia has taken Japan to the International Court of Justice disputing a basis of its whaling program – that it is scientific. You wrote about this recently in the blog post “Japan Attacks Aussie Moralising on Whaling”. […]

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