The parent company for Hump Restaurant effectively pleaded guilty today in public with an apology for selling whale meat at the Los Angeles establishment. Not only is the apology itself less than redeeming for environmentalists, but it also effectively throws chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 45, under the bus.
The company issued a statement that seems to suggest that they were just trying to supply a delicacy to customers: “We write to address the misdemeanor charge recently filed by the U.S. attorney . . .The charge against the restaurant is true: The Hump served whale meat to customers looking to eat what in Japan is widely served as a delicacy. In serving this meat, The Hump ignored its responsibilities to help save endangered whales from extinction and failed to support the world community in its uphill fight to protect all endangered species.”
The restaurant pledged to become “a good corporate citizen.” It is a bit too late for that. It would be astonishing if anyone who values the environment ever returns to this restaurant. They are now promising to comply with federal law as if that is a New Year’s resolution. Japan has been denounced for its hostility to the ban on whaling and efforts to circumvent those international obligations. This restaurant appears to hold the same view of the ban and went out of its way to serve whale meat.
What is fascinating is that the public apology basically seals the fate of the chef. What is notably missing is a promise to fire the chef and any employee who was aware of the violations. This omission suggests that the parent company was complicit in the violations. Witnesses reported that they saw the chef retrieve the whale meat from a car that pulled up at the restaurant. The parent company should pledge to reveal the supplier and more indictments should follow to shutdown the distribution network for whale meat.
For continuing customers of Hump, make no mistake about it: you are fostering the killing of whales by continuing to support this restaurant. For environmentalists, revenge like whale meat is a dish best served cold.
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