Saturday, February 17, 2007

Whaling

Over the last few years there has been a lot about whaling in the media. I am vehemently opposed to whaling. Part of the reason is due to objective analysis of the facts, but it is also due to an emotional response. Thus I am against whaling objectively and emotionally. I don't see why, just because I am emotively against something, this should make my response invalid. Humans are not robots after all.

Let's analyse my emotive response first.

My mother has always instilled a strong conservation ethic in me, and she has always been strongly against whaling. In 1994 I was living in England and my family came to New Zealand for a holiday (and with a view to emigrating). One of the highlights of the trip was going to be whalewatching. As we fitted the whalewatching around my 10th birthday (April 25th) and my mum's birthday 3 days later it was extra special. First the family took a boat out. Seeing a Sperm Whale only a matter of 10 yards away was an awe-inspiring experience. The whale dived down. It was majestic. The whole experience was breathtaking. I was transfixed. Afterwards just Mum and I decided to take a helicopter ride and watch the whales breathing on the surface. This was also simply spectacular. Ever since that fantastic day I have loved whales. I started reading up on them, and I had a poster of all the different species on my bedroom wall.

I am completely behind Greenpeace in their attempts to stop whaling. There are many things I disagree with Greenpeace on, such as Genetic Modification, but on whaling: I stand beside them 100%. I completely respect their actions in doing things like getting in between the whalers and the whale, and sometimes I almost wish I was doing it myself. It's also great when they come up with something innovative to get their message across! It may make me sound like a bit of a radical, or a lunatic, but I love the work of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society such as their lobbing acid onto whaling fleets, and when I hear Japanese whalers come out with something like: “Sea Shepherd is conducting a campaign of outright destruction and terrorism. We have serious concerns that someone will be injured or killed in its destructive terrorism.” - I actually think: well good on them!

But objectively there are plenty of reasons to be against whaling too.

(1) Whaling is unsustainable. The gestation period of a whale, depending on the species, is anywhere from 1-2 years. The amount of whales that are killed there is no way the whale species can regenerate even a fraction of the amount that are killed.

(2) Killing just one whale can put the whole ecosystem out of kilter when you consider that a humpback whale for example eats millions of krill per day.

(3) Whales cannot be farmed. If they could there may be a theoretical argument in favour of whaling. But there is no way you can put a fence around them. These are wild creatures not sheep or cows.

(4) Whales are endangered. For the sake of biodiversity no species should become extinct. When whaling nations such as Japan or Norway are supposedly going after the more plentiful Minke, I can't trust that they're not going after the highly endangered ones also. Even killing Minke at the rate they want to will soon make them become highly endangered also.

(5) Whaling is a very painful experience for the whale. A harpoon can cause a whale to writhe around in agony for hours, spewing blood. It is horrible. That we can still inflict such pain on these beautiful creatures is barbaric.


(6) Although whaling is supposedly for scientific research it is clearly for commercial gain. Whale is considered just another delicacy by many Japanese, and people pay extortionate prices because it apparently tastes so good. Research is just an excuse. But even if it were for research, this would be research that is not needed. Why should humans thirst for knowledge cause mass killings of whales? Much can be learned by observing them in the wild or cutting up an already dead beached whale anyway.

Keep up the good work Greenpeace. Whaling is despicable both objectively and emotively.

4 comments:

Chris said...

I agree with your position completely. Let me ask you this: What is your stance on factory farming? Would you like to see the National Party take a position on this issue, as currently they are happy for the status quo to continue (as they are on so many other things unfortunately).

William Fussey said...

I am generally against factory farming although I do not really know enough about some of the types of factory farming. I am against the likes of battery eggs though. And yes, I would like to see the National Party take a stance on this issue.

Sam said...

Indeed fussy again your opinion is a surprising relief to the fact that ugly people can have stout veiws.
Whaling is wrong no doubt it is wrong because whales are an endangered and important part of there ecosystem. Whaling is unsustainable but so is deep sea trawling of tuna.
Whales hold strong emotional ties with people this is emotional propganda but none the less doesn't change facts.
Whale meat is yummy (yes I have tried it and liked it) therefore I am not against the consumption of whale just the over abundunce in killing to them. For some cultres whale has been a natural prey. The Japanese people have done this for yonks. I would not see it right to deny them a heritage but they people of Japan are not at fault. Corporate pressure, money, and a Norwegean free whale market deserve a special mention in the plight of the whale. A Japanese govt that recevses boosted balances is blinded by greed.
International opression should be placed on these whale killer nations.
Whale however will remain a food item desired it will just have to be a very very very expensive one!

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