Please read the reply that most people are getting when writing to the Embassy of Japan in the United States. It is disheartening to see they hold the same delusional perspective that the rest of the pro-hunting people do. But to make it worse, they are condescending as they attempt a cop-out and smoke screen of blaming other areas of the world for practicing the same hunt. It needs to be pointed out that this inquiry in NOT about other areas of the world doing it. There are many groups focusing on stopping this horror in those jurisdictions as well – but this is about Japan. They need to take responsibility and be held accountable without diverting the attention elsewhere.
This argument is about as weak as their suggestion that because some eat cow, chicken and other livestock, it makes our argument hypocritical. Many of those who are fighting this cause do not eat meat to begin with – but even for those who do, the killing doesn’t involve chasing and exhausting the animals for hours upon end, leaving them stranded for days without food in a condensed area, and it certainly does not involve stabbing them in a death that takes upward to seven minutes of suffering. Even game hunters balk at their notion of what “hunting” and “humane killing” is.
Another point to make: They rely heavily on the word “culture” in the same way they rely on the word “tradition” in Taiji. It needs to be pointed out that as we become a better and more educated people worldwide and realize the suffering and death toll coming from so called culture, tradition and belief, we are evaluating and ending them. We believe that Adolph Hitler and his followers thought he was doing all he was doing in the name of “culture”.
Please read this and feel free to write a rebuttal to them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding dolphin fishing in Japan. We do take note of your concern but also would ask you to try to understand that there are diverse cultures in the world, many of which have traditions that are very different to those found in the United States.
Unlike the U.S., Japan is a small country with limited land. Japan has a much higher population density than the US since Japan’s land area is only 4% of the United States’ but Japan’s population is almost half of that of the U.S. Furthermore, about 70% of Japanese land is very steep forest and not suitable for agricultural development. Therefore, Japanese people traditionally have had no other choice but to rely upon various food resources from the ocean and that is why we developed a unique cuisine like sushi. Though not widespread, dolphins have been consumed as a local traditional food in some coastal areas in Japan, such as Tohoku, Izu and Wakayama. Dolphin fishing is not unique to Japan, it is even practiced in the United States in Alaska.
The Japanese people have, for centuries, consumed many types of living marine resources but their harvests have been conducted sustainably and the dolphin fishery is no exception; it is carefully managed so as not to deplete the stock. In fact, all of the dolphin species harvested in Japan are internationally recognized as abundant.
Although fishermen in Taiji have been trying to improve their killing method so as to give minimum suffering to the animals, we understand that many individuals can find it most unpleasant to watch video clips of dolphins being killed. However, in this day and age when most of us are greatly distanced from the source of our animal protein, witnessing the killing of cows, pigs and sheep in industrial slaughterhouses would be equally off-putting. Under these circumstances, we would have to commit to consuming animal products respectfully unless you are to give up consuming all animal products. In Japan, catches of whales and dolphins have been viewed as blessings from the sea and, as such, have been celebrated in our national art.
With regard to the mercury level contained in the dolphin meat, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare did issue an advisory calling for pregnant women to limit their consumption of certain seafood with a relatively high mercury content including some dolphin species. However, mercury in seafood including dolphin meat, which is from natural sources, should not be confused with high level industrial mercury which caused the tragedy of Minamata disease in the 1950’s. No medical problems have been reported in Japan due to mercury contained in dolphin meat. In addition, false labeling of food is illegal in Japan and the Japanese government will investigate any suspicious products.
We do hope that you take the opportunity to further expand your understanding of Japanese culture, which is very different from that of the United States.