Hmm, now according to my dictionary the definition of the word sanctuary is: A reserved area in which birds and other animals, especially wild animals, are protected from hunting or molestation. Does this mean, then, that this word does not exist in the Japanese language? Well, of course yes, it does. So, I can only assume, then, that it means the complete opposite in Japan than it does in every other country of the world.
Since the global commercial whaling ban came into force in 1986, Japan came up with the idea of doing some scientific research into whales. The Embassy of Japan in Australia issued the following explanation for the annual slaughter:
“In order to obtain appropriate scientific data for the proper management of whales, only using non-lethal research method is insufficient and lethal method is required:
While certain information can be obtained through non-lethal means, other information requires sampling of internal organs such as ovaries, ear plugs and stomachs. For example, while the population age structure and reproductive rates of land mammals can be determined by observation over a long period of time, such is not the case for whales since they spend most of their life underwater. In this case ear plugs are needed for age determination, ovaries are needed to establish their reproductive rates, and stomachs are needed for the analysis of their food consumption (whales might have consumed large amounts of fish, so as to give an adverse impact on commercial fisheries and the balance of the marine ecosystem).
Of course, the lethal research method is only applied to whale species which are already determined as abundant, and the small take for research purpose will not produce a negative impact on overall stocks of those species.”
Well, over 15,000 whales have been killed in the name of this scientific research. And you can, perhaps, visualise how much meat is left over after the relevant bits and pieces have been removed. And, perhaps, you can also guess where this meat conveniently ends up. It has, after all, been eaten in that part of the world for the best part of 2,000 years.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The latest whaling news is that the outgoing Icelandic government has increased their whaling quota as well. Iceland is already bankrupt financially. It looks like it is also bankrupt morally. See you in the gutter guys. I hope you like it there.