Murder is a crime that is the unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice. So not only could we not prosecute a country for the murder of a whale or for whaling, we also do not have jurisdiction to decide what the Japanese government can do – as they are whaling in the name of “research” which is permitted by their laws.
Although I am certainly on the side of the whales in this situation, I feel like many of the people pushing for animal rights need to gain some perspective. The previous poster pointed out all the reasons that we cannot prosecute the Japanese for whaling, but I am going to give some reasons why we shouldn’t.
1. They are not hurting human beings. – I know this sounds insensitive, but if you really think about it, isn’t it in our best interest to spend our resources protecting our own species? Personally, I am more concerned about malaria, aids, and hungry children that whale populations in the pacific. This is not to say that I don’t think the whaling ought to stop (at least until the population replenishes), I just think that our own health is more important.
2. Whaling is a longstanding and important part of Japanese culture. – This fact has the most force when paired with the one above. Certainly, if it was part of Japanese culture to hunt Koreans for sport, I would find this morally reprehensible. However, since they aren’t hurting people, it is culturally insensitive impose a pro-whale value system on any one not willing to receive it.
3. There are MUCH bigger problems. – I equate the Whale Wars group to the American legislators who insisted on having hearings about steroids in baseball. As a group, the United States has much bigger problems to worry about than whale populations or the size of Barry Bonds’ head. Also keep in mind that the Japanese are a close ally and an important trade partner. The last thing the US needs is to create grater stress on our relationships internationally.
In addition, demand for whale meat has been steadily declining in Japan. Most Japanese that still eat whale meat are over 60 and many young people have never even tried it. It became popular after World War II as a source of protein and it is that generation that has continued to buy most of the meat. While the Japanese government does try to continue to support the practice, there is good reason to believe that it will continue to fall out of fashion, with or without outside pressure.
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