If the Japanese whaling industry’s teasing of calling off their hunt this year wasn’t bad enough, this news is sure to get Paul Watson‘s blood boiling: Japan’s Fisheries Agency says it will expand its sales of whale meat, including directly to the public, in an effort to combat the financial losses of its “research” whaling program. Spiked with controversy, Japan’s yearly whale hunt in the Antarctic costs around $60 million, and with 75% of last year’s catch going unsold, that is quite a bit of money lost.
The Fisheries Agency stated this week that starting next year, whale meat will be sold to individuals by mail order and directly to restaurants. Up until now, it could only be purchased by distributors at wholesale auctions. Japan’s commercial whaling industry has been heavily criticized by the international community, as they choose to ignore bans on killing the mammals. As a result, confrontations at sea with the environmental activist group Sea Shepherd are almost expected, such as the start of this year’s campaign.
Whale meat certainly doesn’t come cheap, priced around $3.75 to $6.25 for 4 ounces or less. It is sometimes labeled as a “luxury item,” however, as one comment pointed out on our last discussion, it can be found in some restaurants. But the truth is that very few people in Japan are interested in, or have ever eaten whale meat, regardless of where or how it is sold. And the fact that 75% of it goes unsold more than proves that. While this isn’t an endorsement of Sea Shepherd or its acts that put human lives in danger, it’s well past time Japan’s whaling industry realize people don’t really want to eat whales, and stop wasting $60 million each year.[via UPI]