When I read Philip Brasor’s Feb. 23 Media Mix article, “Japan takes baby steps toward a proper debate about animal rights,” I again felt regret that the gap of understanding between the two sides doesn’t seem to be getting any narrower. I agree that the most important aim of the animal welfare movement “is to prevent suffering.” The dolphin hunt in Taiji is cruel and should be changed somehow.

Yet, I doubt that the people in the movement opposed to whaling and dolphin hunting would stop accusing Japanese even if dolphins were killed “mercifully.” These people fell in love with ocean mammals a while ago, and theirs seems like an emotional reaction that has nothing to do with animal welfare or science.

For our part, we don’t eat whale meat these days, let alone that of dolphins. The last time I had whale meat was when it was served at school lunch 40 years ago. It didn’t taste that good, so it was always deep-fried. Turns out we don’t need it after all.

The reason the Japanese media hasn’t joined in the discussion much could be that [animal rights] are not really a big issue from a global perspective. There are a lot of other things to talk about.

People in the anti-whaling camp seem to be trying to eliminate every single thing on Earth that they hate even if it has nothing to do with their own lives.

People in the pro-whaling camp hate that attitude and, therefore, stubbornly resist. In Taiji, that approach might be necessary to protect their fishing business, I don’t know.

The stronger the anti-whaling movement becomes, the more stubborn pro-whaling activities appear. Is the opposite also true?

yuichi mizotome
ikoma, nara

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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