Whaling or not?

Why are everybody so damn politically correct all the time? Where is the healthy debate that spawns progress and new ideas, provokes though and emotions?

Today the band Modest Mouse published the video “King Rat” directed by the late Heath Ledger, and its definitely a kick in the groin of everybody positive to whaling or seal hunt, those who enjoy whale meat or other products that come from whales and seals. In the video the roles are changed somewhat in order to present the inhumane hunt for seals and whales that some countries still practice. My country is one of them and honestly, why is this a problem?

A whale is an animal like any other animal, it does not have greater value or a life more worthy than other animals. Cows, pigs, cats, hamsters, cods, dolphins and deer all have one life and its just as precious for them, as their life should be to us. Humans are on the top of the food chain and therefore eat just about everything that is below them, just like the animals under us will prey on animals even lower in the food chain. This is the nature of things and a constant.

Even though eating other animals comes naturally to us – why else would evolution provide us with sharp teeth – but we can also choose. I can choose to not eat animals, just like I can choose to not wear fur, leather belts or any other animal product. I can choose to not use medicine that is tested on animals and not keep pets. Having pets would be exploitation and torture of a free animal spirit if you follow this line of though. On the other hand, you can choose to do as most of us do, eat hamburgers, fish, go hunting, use leather coats, eat goose liver etc. This choice is also fine by me and the one that I have chosen.

Now then, why do some animals have a higher value than others? Why are whales more important to preserve or save than, say, rats? Personally I think they are of equal value and should be treated the same humane way and put down, if necessary to prevent infections and disease or provide meat, in the same humane way. This is not something that everybody agrees on, and some animals have a higher status or standing than others. I believe this comes from effective marketing by organizations like Greenpeace and PETA, not from careful evaluation. Whales are roaming the waters in great numbers. Not all types of whales, as some have been hunted too much for too long, but some of them are numerous enough to be hunted for food. Seals are in abundance on the ice in the polar regions, but since their cubs are pretty and look like stuffed animals, they also have a higher standing than uglier animals and should not, say the naysayers, be hunted.

What happens if we do not hunt them? Well, basically they first eat up most or all the fish that should be harvested for human food, and then many of them starve to death. Is that humane? I think not, and driving a nail through the head of a seal to kill it humanely is better for the preservation of the breed as a whole.

Hopefully some will disagree with me and post comments, but before you do: I do not condone inhumane treatment or killing of animals. Any killing should be done with as little suffering to the animal as possible – making kosher and halal meat unavailable unless the animal is tranquilized first.

How does that fit your view of the world?

Well, enough ranting. Have a look at the video. Personally I don’t like the music and I don’t think the Heath Ledger directed video is anything to write home about either. I guess that him being dead and getting an Oscar for the Batman movie makes him a genius or something.

Actually it fits nicely within this definition :)

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8 Responses to “Whaling or not?”

  1. Lars Says:

    Whalers hunt for three reasons: Money, money and money. Since the whaling community don’t want to be seen as greedy killers, they have invented some “political correct” reasons (or propaganda) to continue the hunt. Living in Norway, I have noticed that one of the most popular, ignorant, arrogant and imbecile excuses is the one also used in this blog entry: “What happens if we do not hunt them? Well, basically they first eat up most or all the fish… blah, blah, blah”.

    The fact is that the most of the whale species primarily eat plankton, krill etc. rather than fish. Human overfishing is the cause of the decline of commercial fish stocks worldwide, NOT THE WHALES. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3906775.stm

  2. admin Says:

    They hunt whale for the same reason you go to work: money, money and money. If you define my reasoning as ignorant and imbecile -- thats your perogative, it does not make you right. Whaling is a job, its not a political statement -- they do this for a living to support their families. Humans has been hunting whales for thousands of years, just like we have hunted other animals and have kept livestock for food and still do.

    Actually, Lars -- when I spoke of “eat up most of the fish” I was talking about seals, not whales. I am fully aware of the diet of most whales, and I do not disagree that overfishing is the main factor in the decline in fish -- but the end result is the same, though -- not enough fish to feed all the seals will result in them starving to death.

  3. Lars Says:

    Money in itself is nothing more than a tool. It’s the way it’s earned that’s important. I earn my money by making the world a better place to live, not to destroy it.

    You wrote: “Humans has been hunting whales for thousands of years…” I am not talking about aboriginal sustenance whaling here. In Norway there’s a myth that the whalers are only trying to feed their poor families by “harvesting the nature” blah, blah, blah. When it comes to tradition, the Norwegian whaling industry was responsible for developing the modern whaling methods that brought species to the brink of extinction. And have they learned from their mistakes? No. It’s only the low demand for meat (and blubber or other products) and the international resistance that stops the catch quota from increasing even further.

    Next time, write more clearly. When I re-read and re-read, I see that you are referring more to the seals than the whales.

    That same ignorant, arrogant and imbecile argument has been used since back in the 80′s, when in North of Norway it was “Svart hav” (No fish) because of human overfishing. Because of the lack of fish in the sea, the seals had to gather in the coastal areas to get food. The coastal fishermen then got the seals tangled up in their fishing nets and started to scream that “the seals suddenly had become overpopulated and had vacuumed the sea”. The truth was instead that the fleet of trawlers had done that vacuuming job.

    There is a natural abundance in the oceans, enough for whales, seals and humans. Sadly the majority of humans on earth are so hungry after the mighty dollar, that they will ruin everything to get it.

  4. BlingYou Says:

    Looks like we got into a whaling discussion here Lars :) One of my questions was why whales seem to have such a gathering of protectors, while other animals does not. Dolphins are protected, tuna fish is not. Whales are protected, cows and pigs are not.

    I do agree with the lack of market for whale products argument, and demand or the lack thereof has always been what decides production. Bar the Norwegian iron works, and whaling has also been subsidized for a number of years. Now, with the recent ban on seal products -- I doubt if we will see much more seal hunting from our shores in the future. Personally I don’t really care that much, and it has been years since I ate whale. I can easily go without it.

    Still, its puzzling why whales bring out such strong emotions in people, most of whom have never seen one in real life. As stated before, I think some of the environmental organizations has promoted the cause, and its not necessarily the animal that needs protection the most -- but probably the most profitable animal to protect. Imho, anyway -- your mileage may vary. Thanks for the comments :)

  5. Lisa Says:

    I think that the biggest problem with the hunting of whales for many people is the fact that they’re very intelligent animals who have developed a complex social way of life. People who’re more comfortable with killing animals tend to look at all animals as “lower forms of life” than humans when in reality some forms are really not that different from humans at all. Sure, we have the benefit of opposable thumbs and can make tools, but just because we’re different, that doesn’t make us better, or more valuable than other intelligent animals.

    Personally, I don’t even find the whale hunting to be the worst thing that we do to whales though. At least if you kill an animal it’s not suffering anymore whereas if you keep it imprisoned for it’s whole life, you’re causing it years of suffering and loneliness just for your own entertainment.

  6. BlingYou Says:

    Thanks for the comment Lisa, much appreciated. Your last paragraph is very interesting, and fits nicely with my own view on zoos -- something that should be banned for cruelty to animals. One might say that keeping animals in zoos is sometimes the only way to preserve the species -- but if we have screwed up the world so bad that whole species will go extinct because of it -- it serves us right to loose that part of nature for ever. It might even teach us something.

    On the other hand, species go extinct all the time, and nobody gives a damn.

  7. Lisa Says:

    I think that we as humans justify a lot of things that we do by saying that we’re “helping” other animals out. But really I think that many things that we do to “help” are because we look at other animals (of which we are one too!) as live-action toys. We like to have these creatures entertain us or just hold them captive because it makes us feel superior to them. It’s unfortunate that we can’t see that just because other animals aren’t human, that doesn’t mean they deserve their freedom.

  8. BlingYou Says:

    Helping animals means leaving them alone. Nature has done a pretty good job over the years in choosing what species that would survive and what would not -- based on the natural selection and adaptability. There is no need for us to butt in, so to speak, we just need to leave them alone.

    Many people also seem to view themselves and our species as a whole as something superior to animals, while I think of us as the most developed animal of all.

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