Whale bacon sounds delicious


You’ve got to admit it…whale bacon does sound delicious.

“Whale bacon”, it turns out, is a critical component of scientific inquiry into the habits of the peaceful ocean giants. Ditto for whale steak. And edible slabs of raw whale meat (aka sashimi).

Gourmet recipes to prepare and cook whale meat are being promoted on a website owned by the Institute of Cetacean Research, the Japanese organisation supposedly conducting “scientific” research to justify whale hunting in waters near Antarctica.

The latest harvest – which defies a 2014 international court ruling that declared Japan’s whaling illegal – included the slaughter of about 200 pregnant minke whales in waters near Antarctica.

The Institute of Cetacean Research, having sent its whaling fleet into the Southern Ocean over the summer, boasted last month that the high number of pregnant cows meant the whale population was in good health.   

The institute, a non-profit organisation “authorised” by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has an official website that includes details of the “scientific contribution” and “research results” of the whale hunt – findings universally dismissed by the world scientific community.

But the institute has also been revealed as the owner of an otherwise separate website, Whale Street, which includes glossy promotions for the consumption of whales.

The recipe website overflows with jolly whale meat dishes and messages supporting whaling, and features as its mascot a cartoon of a (presumably edible) blue whale designed to appeal to children.


The recipe website also promotes “Friends of the Whale Association” (Kujira Tomo no Kai), with the objective of supporting the Institute of Cetacean Research and “consumption of whale meat as a byproduct of whale research”.

Members join for ¥5000 (NZ$66.80) and are promised delivery of “a selection of whale meat food products with value above this amount”.

Now there is an idea.

Maybe I could start a “Friends of the Whale” club…and members get exclusive invites to functions, hunts, and private briefings.


– Fairfax



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  • Pluto

    Someone should tell the Japanese that the Giant Panda is also a threatened species and therefore worthy of “scientific research”.
    Furthermore they’re much closer to home and far easier to kill.
    Maybe the Chinese will then deal the type of diplomacy the international courts don’t seem able to dish out.

    • Graham Pilgrim

      While I’m against whale hunting by ANY country for ANY reason, the minke whale is not an “at risk” species.

      If we could rear whales for consumption, as we do cattle, rather than hunt them, then maybe it would be a different matter.

      • Mick Ie

        While the minke whale might not be an ‘at risk’ species, if the Japanese keep hunting pregnant ones, how long will it take before those statistics change?

  • frankflintstone

    I ate it once years ago. I might think differently about the taste now but at the time I thought it tasted, well, blubbery.

  • Davo42

    The Institute of Cetacean Research – researching the taste of whale meat since 1947.

  • Diehard

    I do respect the Japanese for the way they stick two chop sticks in the air at the rest of the world and just get on with it.

    Don’t agree with killing all the whales but would like to try the bacon.

  • essiep

    I hope Bruce doesn’t see this.