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Feeding whale meat to schoolchildren not ok

11 May 2006

Feeding whale meat to schoolchildren doesn't make it ok

News that a Japanese company is seeking to force whale meat onto Japanese menus by selling it directly to schools and hospitals is being greeted with disgust by Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei.

"The fact that whale meat is already languishing in stockpiles and being used for dog food clearly shows that Japanese people simply are not interested in eating it," Mrs Turei says.

"To seek to change this by having it included on institutional menus in schools and hospitals so that people develop a taste for it at a young age is a disgracefully predatory and subversive marketing tactic and a blatant attempt to drum up the demand.

"Furthermore, the fact that Japan's whale catch is large enough to make such a move possible clearly shows that the 'scientific' whaling that is going on is actually commercial in nature."

Japan has long argued for an end to the International Whaling Commission's 20-year moratorium on commercial whaling, but has continued to kill hundreds of whales for 'scientific' purposes. It is the meat from these whales that is currently being stockpiled and will end up in school lunches and hospital meals if this plan is successful.

"Even when meat from 'scientific' whaling ends up for sale in Japan, the demand is not there from consumers to eat it. Clearly, there can be no justification for lifting the moratorium, despite this latest cynical marketing ploy," Mrs Turei says.

News of the plan comes on the same day as an announcement by the Tuvaluan Government that it will vote with Japan and other pro-whaling nations at the upcoming meeting of the IWC, despite a request by New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter that Tuvalu reconsider its stance.

"It is interesting to note that shortly after voting with pro-whaling nations at last year's meeting, Tuvalu received 925 million yen to upgrade the electricity supply on Funafuti Atoll from the Japanese Government, and a further 100 million yen to meet rising fuel costs in March of this year," Mrs Turei says.

"It seems that Japan is prepared to take drastic steps to drum up support for a return to commercial whaling. Given the lack of interest from Japanese consumers, this seems an expensive and futile course of action for Japan to be engaging in."


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