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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cruelty and the .........

It was a situation which no amount of training in etiquette could equip you to deal with - not that I have had any such training anyway, as anyone who knows me would affirm.

I was in a waterfront cafe in Shimonoseki, a long-time whaling port.

In front of me was whale meat, from an animal which it is simply unthinkable to eat in Britain - so unthinkable that I had to promise my daughters I would not touch a morsel of it during my time in Japan.

Yet once in Japan, nothing seemed more normal.

Whale meat was not everywhere, as tuna or tofu are, but in every city I visited I came across at least one restaurant which served it in some form.

So what should I do?

I had come to Japan for the BBC's One Planet programme, to look at where whaling sits in the history and culture of a country which gets a huge proportion of its food from the sea.

In most parts of Europe and North America whales have become iconic, sacrosanct, no more to be killed or hurt than your close relative.

Whale meat is accepted in Japan

But in the Japanese view, they are a wild natural resource to be used, just like fish or lobsters or rabbits or boar.

And the more I have thought about it, the more complicated the arguments have grown.

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Posted by Ajay :: 9:47 AM :: 0 comments

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