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JAPANESE WHALE BURGERS August 07, 2005 5:41 AM

The Japanese Burger
Japan will also increase quotas for 2006, to more than double the number of minke whales it kills in its so-called scientific whale hunts. Japanese harpoons will target some 935 minkes next year, and the whalers also plan to kill humpback and fin whales, the first time that these species have been hunted since the whaling moratorium came into place in 1986. The scientific justification for this hunt has been criticised by researchers world-wide, and the IWC at its recent meeting called on Japan to scrap its research hunts.

As is the case with the Norwegian market, whale meat sales in Japan have been consistently low, and Japan currently consumes between one and two percent of the level of whale meat compared with levels 30 or 40 years ago.

Despite the concerns raised by the contaminant studies, showing dangerously high levels of pollution in some whale meat products in the Japanese market place, the government of Japan
continues to promote the consumption of whale meat - including offering whale burgers to school children.

And in June of 2005, the Lucky Pierrot restaurant chain in Japan began selling deep-fried minke whale burgers dressed with lettuce and mayonnaise for 380 yen (US $3.50), saying that it was "to use up the whale meat from experiments".

WDCS believes that the aim of this new "fast-food/convenience-food" marketing is clear: to open up new domestic markets for the struggling whaling industry and to increase profits. Both Norway and Japan have argued for years at the IWC that their whaling is based on cultural tradition and need, but these latest cynical attempts to profit from an inherently cruel, unnecessary and indeed unhealthy industry point to the lie in that argument.

So, burger buyers, beware. The next time you take a bite out of a burger in either Norway or Japan, there is a chance you might be eating whale meat.
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