August 13, 2002
Eating Whale Steak

A week and a half ago, a good friend of mine served me a delicious meal: Whale Steak.

I realize this is a controversial meal to eat, and it is currently (to my knowledge) illegal outside Norway, Japan or Iceland. However, there is a lot to be said about this ban, as I will detail a bit further down.

First - how to prepare a decent meal if you can get hold of this fine, red meat: I translate one reciepe from Norwegian whale meat cooking website hvalbiff.no

Whale steak with herbs

Ingredients (for 4 persons)

ca. 600 g whale beef in thin slices
1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
8-10 soup spoons finely chopped herbs (various)
butter (for the frying)
caviar (for decoration)
fried potatoes
green salad, small tomatoes

How to prepare

1) Mix pepper, salt and herbs and marinate the slices of meat in this mix just before frying

2) Fry the slices in butter in the pan; approximately 1 minute on each side

Decorate with caviar, serve with fried potatoes and salad.

(Source & picture: Hvalbiff.no: Urtehval)

So why don't I feel guilty eating this?

A lot has been said about commercial and scientific whaling, and much of it can be summarized like this:

A parable tells of three blind men confronted by an elephant. One touches the leg, and concludes the elephant is built like a tree. The next grasps the trunk and believes the elephant to be a giant snake. The third strokes the side, and describes a solid wall.
A parallel exists here with the controversy over commercial whaling. No matter how long or hard proponents and opponents debate the subject, they never seem to be looking at the same animal.
There are, of course, several aspects which have to be brought into perspective - ethical, cultural, scientific and political - and objectivity is inevitably compromised by one's order of priorities.
It is also in the nature of believers in causes to practice selective myopia, intentionally or otherwise seeing only those "facts" which support their particular foregone conclusions.
(Source: The Facts, "Facts" and Fiction of Scientific Whaling)

The International Whaling Commission estimates that there are more than 100,000 Minke Whales in the North Atlantic. Norway has a hunting quote of approximately 500, defined according to the most strickt criteria the Revised Management Scheme.

More information:

(PS - yes - I know - I post this to provoke a discussion... Write a comment below! ;-)

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Comments

Hey! Very nice. I liked the analogy with the three blind men. It's about time someone tries to educate the audience which generally think Norwegians kill like 90% of all whales out there for pleasure...

Posted by: odegard on August 14, 2002 04:59 PM

I don't mind whale meat. I don't mind us killing the whales for food either. But it is important to remember that we have killed off species before. One species we killed off was a close relative to the penguins. The last two of them was killed off by hunters in Norway in the middle of the 19th century.

I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to the whale population. Or any other species on earth for that matter, after all I think most people would agree that there are more delicious meat around than whale meat ;-)

Its also worth mentioning that the "research" hunting performed by Japan (and for all I know, by Norway) is commercial hunting under another name. Especially the japanese hunting seems to have very little to do with research as such. Another thing that frightens me is the propaganda coming from Japan about the Whale eating all the fish, they are actually gaining support in Japan with that load of ballony...

Posted by: Jarle on April 8, 2003 04:37 PM

We've added this article to "Grow-a-Brain" Meat-&-Vegetables-Collection at

http://www.thegreatteam.com/Programs/PageManager/Show.asp?PageID=208050

Posted by: HL on October 6, 2003 09:12 AM

I trust this post will be deleted along with the 'spam', as it's not pro-whale-eating, and thus is inconsistent with the merry marine mammal diners' drivel found here.

I couldn't resist drawing some attention to the glaringly obvious distinction between eating a whale vs. pig, chicken, cow, duck, whatever:

Nearly all whales are endangered species, most with very slow reproduction cycles, and with few offspring. Cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. are farm-raised to feed the populace. This is not a moral question, it is a numerical one. 100,000 minkes vs. 3 billion humans = no minkes.

yum yum,
RCE

Posted by: Ruthless Cow-Eater on November 30, 2004 02:04 AM

I guess the question is, at which whale should we stop? Easter Islanders were determined to stop logging, but only after the last tree was gone.

Estimates of whale population
http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/estimate.htm

Whale populations are too low to resume commercial hunting, geneticists find
http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2003/august6/whales-86.html

Hunting whales for fun only (cool photos!)
http://www.seashepherd.org/whales/whales_world_Faeroe_Islands.html

Posted by: SPK on January 3, 2006 05:55 AM
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