Whale Wars News!
The word from the green news writers is that a California Sushi restaurant that was secretly serving endangered whale species meat to interested patrons as recently as the week of the 2010 Academy Awards has decided to close its doors for good. Blame fame, because once the mainstream media picked up the story, the place lost all their customers.
Score one big point for the animal rights activists from the Sea Shepherd crew and for pet friendly supporters of organizations like PETA.
[Photo credit: Telegraph UK]
Whale sushi restaurant closes for good
The news that a SoCal restaurant would actually buy and sell whale meat commercially came as disturbing news to most Americans.
The reality television show “Whale Wars” by Animal Planet has really drawn attention to the commercial whaling industry, and followers of the program have been appalled to hear how the Japanese have taken the letter of international law and broken it’s spirit for profit.
Japan is just one country that fishes for whales commercially and sells the meat for a big profit. In Japanese culture, the whale meat has been eaten as a delicacy for many years. However, unlike with North American Inuit families (who rely on the whale meat as a staple in their diet), they do not incorporate eating it into everyday culture.
International laws allow a limited number of whales to be killed each year if they are slaughtered for “medical research”. The Japanese fishermen say they kill the whales to sell to scientists; however, Japan has found a loophole in the laws, in that they don’t specify what happens to the animal after it is killed. As such, science firms are re-brokering the meat to be eaten as sushi [and producing little to no evidence they are anything other than butchers (in the grocer sense) rather than acting as legitimate researchers.
Now, the California restaurant that bought the banned meat so they could feed their masses are facing criminal charges. As a result of the mainstream press getting wind of them serving endangered whale meat as sushi, the protests and boycott of their facility has been enormous.
Thanks to that, they’ve announced the business will close permanently as a “self-imposed punishment”.
ABC News Australia reports:
The Hump restaurant in Santa Monica and chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto face charges over “the illegal sale of a marine mammal product” after the Oscar-winning documentary makers of The Cove filmed them serving sei whale sushi.
“The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species,” a statement on the restaurant’s website said.
“Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species.
“One such action will be to make a substantial contribution to one or more responsible organizations dedicated to the preservation of whales and other endangered species.
“The Hump apologizes to our loyal customers, the community of Santa Monica, and the public at large for our illegal actions.”
The restaurant owners face up to a year in prison and a $US200,000 ($218,000) fine, while Yamamoto faces a maximum fine of $US100,000.
Authorities were alerted to the sale of whale meat at the restaurant by the film crew that made The Cove, a documentary about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan that won this year’s Best Documentary Oscar.
Director Louie Psihoyos had for months been attempting to gather evidence that the restaurant was selling the meat, and launched several “commando” operations, sending crew members to pose as customers.
They filmed the meals they were served with miniature cameras and managed to sneak samples of the whale sushi out of the restaurant, taking it to a lab where tests revealed it was sei whale meat.
READ MORE: Sea Shepherd Captain Peter Bethune was recently taken into custody by Japan for acts of piracy thanks to his antics on the high seas as an animal rights activist
Editorial note: The Sea Shepherd crew works to stop whaling on the high seas in International waters, and their attempts to protect whales and interrupt Japanese harvesting of product has raised many eyebrows with regards to the legality of their actions.
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What do YOU think? Are the Sea Shepherds guilty or committing crimes on the high seas or are the Japanese breaking the law by using language loopholes to break the legislation intentions? Is fishing for whales a basic human right? Sound off in the comment section below.