The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Canon Fodder

Whale meat at Tsukiji 

A photographer friend of mine just asked me if he could borrow a Nikon telephoto lens for a shoot he has. And I would quite happily lend it to him if I had it but, you see, I`m Canon.

When I wrote back and told him this his reply started with the line: “Canon ?!?? Shame on you !!” Which made me laugh.

I love my Canon gear, just as I loved the Nikon camera I had before I switched. But Canon has the edge for me, I like their new cameras more than Nikon`s ones. An opinion I am not alone in having it seems as Canon has the lion`s share of the professional market.

But perhaps shame on me because…

Canon also sponsor the endangered species advert “Wildlife as Canon sees it” a fact that Dave Walsh and Jiri Rezac, who are working as press officer and photographer respectively on a Greenpeace ship chasing the Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean at this moment, found a touch ironic. So they wrote to the president of Canon, Mr. Mitarai requesting that he support the following statement.

“Canon is committed to building a better world for future generations, and does not support the hunting of endangered or threatened species with anything other than a camera. Canon believes the lethal whaling research programme in the Southern Ocean should be ended, and replaced with a non-lethal research programme.”

Needless to say he didn`t sign. (More info here).

Whaling in Japan is an emotive issue that many Japanese people`s knee-jerk reaction to is one of defence. Even when 95% of Japanese never or rarely eat whale meat and something like 69% do not support whaling in the Southern Ocean. The constant criticism by the international community tends to bunker-down the population as a whole and constant mis-information in the press makes sane, rational people genuinely believe that the anti-whaling outrage is no more than an international conspiracy to further destroy Japanese traditions by forcing the Japanese to buy beef from America and Australia or that Greenpeace is a religious cult.

But the fact is  the “scientific research” being carried out by the Japanese fleet on endangered whales is un-needed and basically a lie. The IWC has pointedly asked Japan to stop the hunt even though it is carried out in its name and of course, as in the picture above, the meat just ends up for sale at Tsukiji fish market or on restaurant plates. This is what makes us angry, if they just admitted it was for food like Norway or Iceland I really think the international condemnation would be less vitriolic.

But condemn we must so please keep up the pressure  by writing to Canon saying you  do not support its position on whaling as you find that idea incompatible with its support for protecting other endangered wildlife.

Maybe, in our little photographic part of the universe, we can make a difference. Maybe not as I have no intention of iving up my Canon cameras neither has Greenpeace who use them almost exclusively, but the bad publicity and the 20,000+  letters that have been sent so far have got to have some effect on the company. I love my camera, it would be nice to be proud of it too.



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