It seemed straight out of a spy novel, but it happened in real life. The creative and animal saving team behind the Academy Award-winning documentary film “The Cove” uncovered rather disturbing details from Santa Monica’s upscale sushi restaurant, The Hump.
After an associate producer got word that the restaurant was serving whale, he created a whole scheme involving hidden cameras and two vegan animal activists. Is there anything that these people wont do to save the animals, apparently not. The vegan activists went as far as tasting the meat, which was thick and pink. The footage has not been released to the public but the New York Times reports that the activists looked rather disgusted by the meat, described as whale meat by the waitress, and quickly threw it in a concealed zip lock bag to be tested later. Lo and behold after careful analysis and some lab work from Scott Baker, associate director of Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, it was determined that the meat did in fact come from a Sei whale, a species labeled as endangered by the NOAA.
The restaurant has wisely hired a lawyer, whose only comments are that the matter is being looked in to. Federal officials are now investigating, and suspect that the meat was purchased from a Mercedes parked behind a restaurant. Possession of marine animals, i.e. whales, is illegal and culprits could face up to a year in jail and a $20,000. Although it may be quite a trend to seek out exotic delicatessens, we must remember that no amount of cash could replace an extinct animal. Here is hoping The Hump gets what it deserves.