Japan and most of the rest of the developed world don’t exactly see eye to eye on whaling. Sure, Japan has a couple of mammal-fishing buddies in Norway and Iceland, but most other nations with a comparable scientific and economic footing take a dim view of Japan’s professedly research-based whaling expeditions, especially in light of how you’re much more likely to come across a restaurant in Japan serving whale meat than a significant biological discovery about whales coming from one of the country’s scientists.

One of the most outspoken opponents has been Australia, which is particularly upset about Japanese whalers hunting the creatures in the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, an area much closer to Australia than Japan. Now, though, some Japanese Internet commenters are launching snide jabs right back at their critics from Down Under in regards to the Australian government’s consideration of a plan to kill off a portion of its koala population.

Koalas enjoy a special status in Australia, as both a symbol of the country and a protected species. So it came as a shock this March when it was discovered that the state government of Victoria, in southeastern Australia, had not only killed 686 koalas in 2013 and 2014, but that the operation had been carried out in secret to avoid a public backlash.

While koalas used to be prized for their furs, this wasn’t a case of black-hearted industrialists using their money and influence to coerce politicians into letting them hunt the cutest and sleepiest game. Rather, officials said that the Cape Otway region, which has Australia’s densest koala population, had more of the creatures than its ecosystem could sustain, and the animals were dying of starvation.

The animals’ limited diet, which consists primarily of eucalyptus leaves, meant there were few relocation options, and scientists were also concerned about the potentially fatal stress such a move could cause for the koalas. In the end, the decision was made to reduce the population by nearly 700 koalas over the last two years, with the animals captured and sedated before being culled.

Observing how upset its citizens were about how the program had been covered up, the Victoria government has now decided to handle the issue in a more transparent way. Officials have announced that once again the koala population is becoming dangerously high, with some locals reporting the animals falling from trees after collapsing or dying from hunger. As a result, it looks like Victoria is in for a third straight year of koala culling, with six specimens already having been euthanized by lethal injection.

After years of Australian conservationist groups pointing accusing fingers at Japan for what they consider its “inhumane” whaling programs, some Japanese online commenters are finding the irony as delicious as the whale meat they apparently enjoy dining on.

“Oh, I see. So it’s wrong to kill whales and dolphins, but killing koalas is fine? Gotcha.”

“You’re saying we shouldn’t crowd dolphins into a cove and kill them, but culling koalas is OK? Which is more humane, I wonder?”

“So they do get that if you protect animals too much, they can destroy the ecosystem. And they still oppose whaling? I just can’t understand what the hell they’re thinking.”

“I’m curious to see what Sea Shepard is going to do about this. Like, are they going to ignore it because it’s their country that’s doing this?

 Actually, Sea Shepard is based in the U.S., and the fact that they’re mainly concerned about marine life is kind of implied by the organization’s name, so, D- for accuracy. A+ for Internet anger, though!

But it’s not just pro-whaling Japanese who are crying foul, but also the Australian Koala Foundation, which says the real blame rests with Victoria’s government for not planting enough eucalyptus trees to provide food for its koala population, and also the state’s failure to link wooded areas and allow the animals to migrate between them.

Still, it’s not all mud-slinging from the Japanese side of the debate.

“Koalas aren’t as intelligent as whales and dolphins, so it can’t be helped that they’ll be treated differently.”

“They don’t really have any choice but to cull them, so it’s silly to criticize them. There’s no need to draw a forced parallel to whaling.”

“No one likes someone who immediately changes the subject to suit his own agenda.”

Some Japanese commenters even offered alternative solutions, such as donating or selling the koalas to zoos around the world which would be happy to have them. It should also be noted that the Victorian government hasn’t completely ruled out non-lethal methods of population control. One idea is to capture, sterilize, and release enough of the koalas to cause a decline in their number, although this too has been criticized by some Japanese animal-lovers online as cruel and unfair to the animals.

Does a team need to be appointed to teach koalas the pull-out method?

Sources: Hachima Kikou, Yahoo! News Japan, The Age, The Independent