The Other World Cup Meat Controversy

The controversy over dog meat in South Korea has garnered a fair bit of attention ahead of the start of the 2002 World Cup, but there is another meat controversy involving the other country that will host the Cup, Japan. In this case, it is animal rights activists trying to pressure British football players into signing a pledge not to eat any whale meat while they are in Japan.

Japan kills more than 600 whales annually for what it claims are research purposes, but most of the whales end up being served in Japanese restaurants (and Japan has made no secret of its desire to outright resume commercial whaling). In fact, although it still lacks the votes on the International WHaling Commission to push through a resumption of commercial whaling, Japan did recently announce that it will start hunting sei whales this year after a 26 year hiatus.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare recently issued a press release calling for British athletes not to eat whale meat while they are in Japan. In the press release, IFAW UK director Phyllis Campbell-McRae said,

We’re asking for their assurance that they won’t eat whale meat during their stay in Japan. Each player is invited to sign and return a form pledging ‘I won’t be eating whale at the World Cup’ in support of IFAW’s campaign against Japan’s killing of hundreds of whales each year.


Nations Condemn Japan Whaling Plans. Associated Press, May 7, 2002.

England team urged to ‘stay on side’ for the whales during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Press Release, May 7, 2002.

Leave a Reply