When watching the film The Cove about the killing of dolphins there was a part where Japanese fishermen defended their killing of dolphins by saying that it was a tradition. They say that dolphins and other water mammals are “very important water resources.”
Many times I’ve heard use of the word “tradition” in attempts to pardon actions or beliefs that many other people judge as being morally wrong or corrupt, often times dealing with gender discrimination. And to a point we have accepted that tradition should be honored because we wouldn’t like alien people marching into our territory and telling us that we are doing things wrong.
There is a line to cross however. Issues like slavery and warmongering are no longer excusable by word of “tradition.” But the line is indeed very blurry, as illustrated by the allowed slaughter of dolphins even when the meat harvested is unhealthy to eat.
Personally, I believe that the use of a cultural barrier as a means to discard criticism is irresponsible. I mean sure, tradition is a very important part of preserving culture, but what is the purpose in preserving a culture that not only serves no purpose but could also be damaging to the Earth, to yourself, and to other people?