Monday, November 09, 2009

Lucky Pierrot’s Whale Burgers

Category: Issue 22

Since the 1970s, the International Whaling Commission has increasingly been discouraging commercial whaling, allowing taking and/or killing of whales for scientific purposes only. In Japan, this shift has led to some really fishy practice, i.e. taking whales under the controversial Whale Research Program and selling it to fast food restaurants.

A case in view is the Lucky Pierrot chain of hamburgers in Hokkaid?, Japan’s northernmost island, where a whale burger is the latest temptation. Serving whale meat in burgers, for ¥380 (about $4) a piece, Lucky Pierrot added whale burgers to its menu in 2005. At the launch of the item, Manager Miku Oh is remembered for infamously quoting, “We have decided to add a whale burger to our menu due to strong demand from our customers and feel very thankful to the whales for allowing us to make the burgers.”

It is doubtful whether any whale gave its verbal/written consent for getting into Lucky Pierrot’s buns, but the restaurant started adding to its profits by serving in burgers Minke Whales caught in the Pacific Ocean under the Whale Research Program. ‘Big Minke’and ‘Genghis Khan’ burgers are ever growing in popularity and Japan is reported to be at least an equal hunter, along with Iceland and Norway, in the nearly 25, 000 whales killed since the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.

While Miku Oh explained that eating whales was part of Japanese culture and hence there was nothing strange about it, the international community feels the issue to be taken up with Japan as, unlike Norway and Iceland, it has not opted out of the 1986 moratorium. Instead, Japan is playing it safe by mingling ‘commercial’ with ‘scientific’ and maximizing earnings in the fast food industry.
At the moment, Lucky Pierrot (or, in local terms, Lapi) is thriving and Japan is reportedly seeking to make commercial whaling legal again. However, the United Kingdom and New Zealand are making counter efforts to bring more anti-whaling countries into the International Whaling Commission in order to stop Japan from getting whales. So far, no poll has been arranged for the whales to learn whether or not they approve of getting into Lucky Pierrot’s burgers.     

Posted by Prometheus on 11/09 at 08:11 PM | Permalink
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