After reading on Facebook’s Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians Page that they have today”confirmed 20-22 pilot whales are now being held in the killing cove. Cove Guardians are standing guard at the cove right now. Police are now telling us that it might be two days before these pilot whales will be slaughtered”, I decided to touch base and call the Japanese Embassy in London. I decided that the best approach would be to be calm and rational to at least open some kind of dialogue about this.
When the switchboard answered I said that I would like to speak to somebody about the dolphin and whale situation in the Taiji Cove. She was rather eager to transfer me to someone else so yes, the people calling have established some kind of presence at the Embassy.
I was transferred to another lady and when asked, she told me that she is in the Agricultural section. I said that I wanted to discuss the situation in Taiji bay as there is a lot of concern over here about the way that the dolphins and whales are being slaughtered. I added that we have news today that pilot whales are being kept in the bay, that one will be selected for show and that the rest will be slaughtered. I explained that we are finding these images and actions disturbing and that I would like her to register this call as a protest on behalf of the animals concerned. She asked if she could take my name and log it and I agreed.
She said that the Japanese regard dolphins and whales in a different light to how we see them. They have always been seen as a food source. She added that this is because Japan is hilly and there is not much food so the nation has always looked to the ocean as a food source. She said that the Japanese do love animals, in fact they love dolphins and that they, like the English have pets and love them.
I asked if she is aware that research and work has been done with dolphins that shows that they are highly intelligent, almost on a par with humans and that there have been discussions about their rights because of this. She responded that it is because dolphins are smiley creatures that we attribute human qualities to them. I replied that there actually has been research done on this and there is documentaion of dolphins assisting humans in the sea and that they have healing capabilities. She said that the Japanese see dolphins as dolphins and not as individuals.
She then said that we get concerned about dolphins because they are bigger cuddly looking animals but we do not get so excited and concerened about rats and smaller animals. I said that some people do protest about rats in this country. She continued that she thinks that we show double standards here as London has aquariums with animlas in captivity.
I said that the images of the slaughter of these animals is distressing people and will be the first image that they associate with Japan. She said that that they are aware of this and that it is the image of the sea turing red that upsets people but again she thinks that this shows double standards. She said that meat in England is just neatly packaged and available at the supermarket and we do not get images of the way that these animals are slaughtered. She continued that the difference is because of the geography of Japan and that they view the ocean life differently, whereas we eat land animals. I said I do take her point about us packaging meat etc.
She said that the dolphin and whale slaughtering is just their way of life, to gather their food source.
I asked if there are any Japanese groups who do protest about the animals’ plight. She seemed to think that there were not as this is part of their culture.
She said that she is logging my concern and asked me to confirm my name , which I did.
If anyone would like to call her, she did not give me her name but you can speak to someone in the Agricultural Dept on 7465 6500
Feel free to comment and add your views, counterarguments or suggestions.