Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"They Actually Eat That:" Dolphin.

Japanese schools used to have a fine diet plan: "Something from the mountains and something from the sea." Japan does "something from the sea" wayyyy too well for its own good. If it is from the sea, they have tried to eat it. We've already covered fugu and eel, probably the weirdest things that Japan is known for eating...

Oh, right. Totally forgot about dolphin. Yes, there are some people in Japan that treat the stars of "So Long and Thanks For All the Fish" as yet another thing from the seas to be eaten. Just to be fair, Peru and the Solomon Islands also hunt dolphin. Dolphins can be either netted by accident or driven onto beaches by boats. Either way is pretty sick, so feel free to use your imagination on this one...although the latter is more common for systematic slaughter. 

The good news: The practice of eating dolphin is not widespread in Japan. Only a few poor fishing regions eat dolphin on a regular basis. Even then, dolphin is not cuisine by any means. It is certainly not shark fin soup. It is really only popular in one place, but people outside of that place love dolphins so much that pics like the one below are all over.

Exactly one town, Taiji, is enthusiastic about hunting dolphins to the point where they tried to popularize it. There were a number of reasons that they failed, the least of which is that dolphins are the most adorable rapists ever. Eating cetaceans is such a big thing for them that they have dolphin sashimi and humpback whale bacon. The kids in Taiji grow up with favorite dolphin and whale meats. They see dolphins as swimming beef, basically, and are irked by foreigners who do not respect the traditional Taiji diet. Most other people in Japan are horrified at what goes on in Taiji - assuming they learn about it at all.


Some seafood companies, likely netting a few unfortunate dolphins by accident, figured out that  dolphin meat could be passed off as a cheap substitute for whale meat, which is more frequently consumed and quite expensive. This is probably as low as such companies can get. Oh, and consuming dolphin or whale meat is potentially dangerous.

Yep, screw humanity.

Cute factor aside, dolphin meat is not even safe to consume. Not only is the sea around East Asia horribly polluted, but dolphins have a lethal amount of mercury in their bodies thanks to bio-accumulation. (We do not know how the Taiji people are still living; they had 6 times the amount of mercury in their systems as the average Japanese person.) DDT, the same pesticide that pushed raptors to the brink of extinction, has also been found in dolphin and whale meat. Karma? You tell me.

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