03.11.10 8 years ago 52 Comments

Thanks to the help of some activists that worked with Louis Psihoyos on his Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, a Santa Monica sushi restaurant was busted for selling endangered whale meat.  Wait, it gets better: The restaurant was called “The Hump.”

According to a search warrant, marine mammal activists were served whale during three separate visits to the restaurant. Federal labs confirmed the meat came from a Sei whale, an endangered species protected by international treaties, documents said.

In October, two activists posing as customers went to The Hump and ordered “omakase,” which means they let the chef choose the choicest fresh fish. They also requested whale and pocketed a sample.

The young women worked with Louie Psihoyos, director of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” to record the meal with a hidden camera and microphone. During the October restaurant visit, animal rights activist Crystal Galbraith, 27, and a friend who spoke fluent Japanese racked up a bill of $600, feasting on increasingly exotic dishes to gain the confidence of the waiters and chef.

“It was heartbreaking to eat an endangered animal, but I knew that I was doing it to save” the whales, said Galbraith, a vegan. “We were there eating for four hours. I felt so full and sick.”

The waitress brought out a dish of whale sushi, identifying the whale in English and Japanese, court documents said. The dish was listed as whale on the check and cost $85.

Court records say agents interviewed Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, a Culver City resident and a chef at The Hump for the past seven years, and he admitted serving whale to two young women. If convicted, Yamamoto could face a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. [AP]

Yamamoto went on to say that he did find it suspicious when the young woman began putting raw whale meat in her pocket, but was unable to chase after her on account of his raging boner.  …What?  It’s funny because it’s racist.

Is it just me, or does every food item in Japan come packaged with a smiling cartoon of whatever animal you’re eating on the outside?

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