My editor wanted me to ask you: Why is killing a whale worse than killing a pig, for example, when a pig is intelligent, too?
I get this question from the Japanese a lot, and I find it offensive. How can anybody compare the killing of a pig to the killing of a whale? First of all, our ships are vegan. Forty percent of the fish caught from the oceans is fed to livestock - pigs and chickens are becoming major aquatic predators. The livestock industry is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions ever. The eating of meat is an ecological disaster.
Are you a vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, a vegan, but we're promoting veganism not for animal-rights reasons but for environmental conservation reasons.
You cannot compare the killing of animals in a domestic slaughterhouse to the killing of a whale. What goes on with those whales - or dolphins, say, in Taiji - would never be tolerated in a slaughterhouse. Those slaughterhouses would be shut down. It takes from 10 to 45 minutes to kill a whale and they die in horrific agony. That would be completely intolerable and illegal in any slaughterhouse in the world.
Also they're an endangered and protected species - pigs and cows are not. They're part of an ecosystem, which pigs and cows are not. It always bothers me that that comparison is brought up. And especially when it's brought up by the Japanese, who eat more pigs, cows, and chickens than all people of Australia and New Zealand combined. Only one percent of the Japanese people eat whales; for the most part they eat cows and pigs and chickens. It's a ridiculous analogy.