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The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society released a new report today that outlines why whaling Countries are pushing for open commercial whaling and it's not innocuous nor is it about culture or sustainability.

And we cannot allow it.

Reinventing the Whale – released today reveals the real reason behind the whaling nations desire to lift the whaling moratorium – they have long-term plans to develop new commercial applications for whale oil including in pharmaceuticals and animal feed.

The argument to lift the ban on commercial whaling is that the IWC can lower the number of actual whales killed by making it legal and forcing whaling nations to follow quotas with lower numbers.  For someone like me, it's not acceptable because there are species of whales that have unknown numbers that the Japanese would like to be able to whale, such as the humpback whale, which faces so many other threats, and recently a baby Humpback washed ashore in Long Island, NY.

And I wrote about a study that showed that female humpback's have their very own best friends that they come back to year after year each summer to feed with and socialize.

Having spent the rest of the year apart migrating and breeding, individual humpbacks somehow find each other again in the open ocean each summer, spending the season feeding together.

The longest recorded friendships lasted six years, and always occurred between similar-aged females, and never between females and males.


"Staying together for a prolonged period of time requires a constant effort. That means that they feed together, but likely also rest together.

So an individual is adapting its behaviour to another one."

And even though there has been no significant study of the California Gray Whale population in the last twenty years and yet the IWC wants a 1,400 a year quota.  These amazingly intelligent social whales can't afford to lose so many, we cannot afford to lose this species.

And who is to oversee these quotas?  Who will enforce them?

And then of course, the question for me is, how can we say this is humane killing?  In the US, factory farming has killing standards for animals (which are often found to be broken, but we have rules none-the-less and have even passed laws, such as Prop 2 in California, Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act).

But if you have the stomach to watch this, Whale Wars filmed the killing of a minke whale by the Japanese whaling fleet that took a half hour for this poor animal to die.  And they chased it with another whale for who knows how long, sixteen knots at see, chasing this animal and then harpooning it in the head, pulling her to the side of the boat and shooting it with a rifle, over and over until it finally died.  What is not cruel about this?

Please call President Obama, your Senators and let them know they we do not support lifting the ban on Commercial whaling for any reason.

"I am asking President Obama to vote against lifting the ban on commercial whaling next week in Morocco".
White House (202)456-1111.

Here is the introduction to the article, which outlines exactly the new commercial applications planned for whale's as a commodity.


With commercial whaling in Norway, Japan and Iceland today focused on killing whales for human consumption, many people are unaware that the vast majority of the millions of whales killed since whaling became a global industry were hunted not for their meat, but their blubber and other fatty tissues, which were rendered down into oil. Demand for oil to make candles and light lamps (as well as baleen for corsets) drove the early waves of industrial whaling but, as chemists learned to exploit the richness and chemical complexity of whale oil, it soon provided a veritable pharmacopeia of raw materials for a fast industrializing world. By the 1920s, whale oil fed increasing demand for animal feed, machine lubricants, glycerin-based explosives, soap, detergents and margarine; spermaceti from the sperm whale became a staple in cosmetics and, later, even as a lubricant for the aerospace programme. The potential uses of whale oil seemed infinite, even as the whales proved finite. Commercial whaling became an oil rush.

Although the international community eventually acknowledged the devastation that whaling had wrought on whales, and banned commercial whaling and international trade in the 1980s, the oil rush never ended. While the majority of commercial whaling nations abided by the 1982 whaling moratorium, Norway, Japan and Iceland used loopholes to continue hunting, seemingly just for meat. In fact, the whaling nations were quietly using the cover of their ongoing hunts to research and develop new uses for whale oil and other products to "reinvent" the whale for new markets.

Norway is leading the venture. Over the last two decades its declining whaling industry has benefited from both government and corporate investment into research, even clinical trials, of whale oil for pharmaceutical and health supplement ('nutraceutical') applications, as well as for animal feed. Norway's simple strategy is to overcome
international aversion to killing and consuming whales by proving the efficacy of whale oil in treating some of the worst and most common human diseases and by creating desirable health products. Meanwhile, with ample raw materials from its scientific whaling programmes, Japan has continued to mine whales for cartilage to produce chondroitin (used to treat osteoarthritis) and oligosaccharides (a common food additive). Iceland's ambitions are in the animal feed industry and recent events suggest that it may soon use stockpiles of whale products from its recently expanded whale hunts to resume the manufacture of whale meal to feed farmed fish and livestock -- if it has not already begun.

WDCS believes that restoring whale derivatives to global use and acceptability is a long term strategy for the whaling nations. The main impediment to their ambition is the Appendix I listing of whales by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which bans international trade in 'readily recognizable' whale parts and derivatives for primarily commercial purposes1.

Although the majority of nations still support the CITES ban, as evidenced by their rejection of Norway and Japan's fourteen attempts to overturn it since 1994, the whaling nations are counting on opposition to whale oil 'softening' over the next decade, especially if it can be shown to deliver tangible health benefits. A proposal currently before the IWC2 - to suspend the whaling moratorium to legitimize commercial whaling for ten years - is therefore a gift to Norway, Iceland and Japan. A decade of legitimacy provides an incentive to keep their whaling industries afloat and gives them a deadline to complete their research and development of new whale products and use it to secure the support they will need to overturn the CITES ban.

The conservation and animal welfare community has argued consistently that any proposal to reform the IWC that contemplates any continuation of commercial whaling must require the whaling nations to lift their CITES reservations and cease all commercial trade in whale products. The proposal to be voted on at IWC62 in June 2010 does neither. Even in the unlikely event that Norway, Iceland and Japan agree to the inclusion of an IWC ban on non-domestic use of whale products in the proposal, it would expire in 2020. The door cannot be left open for commercial trade in whale oil and other commercially valuable products to resume and, in due course, expand. WDCS has produced this report to remind IWC members of the devastating impact that international trade in whale products, particularly oil, once had on whales, and to illustrate how this could happen again.

I'm not quite sure what it is I have to do to get this communities attention, or to make you understand what is at stake here.  We're not just talking about the slaughter of animals that face so many different threats (1,000 whales and dolphins die because of gil nets every single day).  We're talking about the cruel and unusual slaughter of endangered species that play a huge role in one of the most important ecosystems our planet depends upon.

And these methods would never be tolerated in a factory farm and yet we would allow this for social and intelligent creatures such as whales?

Lifting the ban on commercial whaling is not going to control the wholesale slaughter of them and it will not mean less whales dying every year.  And we cannot allow this inhumane practice to continue, I am asking that you do something.

Please call President Obama, your Senators and let them know they we do not support lifting the ban on Commercial whaling for any reason.

"I am asking President Obama to vote against lifting the ban on commercial whaling next week in Morocco".
White House (202)456-1111.

Natural Resource Defense Council released this statement in April for this vote, I want to share it because I believe they do amazing work and they aren't solely focussed on whale related issues.

Proposal to Legalize Commercial Whale Hunting Released
U.S.-Led Deal Would Suspend 25-Year-Old Ban on Whaling

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2010) -- Today the International Whaling Commission announced a draft proposal that would legalize commercial whaling for the first time in a generation. In 1986, after two centuries of whaling pushed whales to near extinction, the whaling commission banned commercial whaling worldwide. The draft proposal will be voted on in June.

The Natural Resources Defense Council believes the 1986 whaling moratorium to be one of the 20th century’s most iconic conservation victories. Unfortunately, the United States has voiced support for the dangerous new proposal to overturn the international moratorium, claiming it will rein in Japan, Iceland and Norway’s annual killings currently in defiance of international law. The Obama Administration must formally decide whether to support the proposal at the IWC meeting in Agadir, Morocco in June.

Following is a statement from Joel Reynolds, senior attorney and director of NRDC’s marine mammal protection program:

“Whales are among the most magnificent creatures ever to inhabit the Earth. This deal would legalize their slaughter, and there is no ethical, moral, political or economic justification for it. Obama Administration officials portray the United States as leading an effort that would be a “step forward” for the whales, but this deal isn’t a step forward at all. It is a step backward, to a time when it was acceptable to kill whales for profit.”

“The moratorium has done more to save whales than the revival of commercial whaling ever could.  We will do everything we can to stop it – and to persuade the Obama Administration that it should too.”


Japan, Iceland and Norway have killed roughly 30,000 whales since the moratorium was introduced in 1986. In Japan’s case, the killings have been justified under the guise of “scientific research.” Under the deal being considered by the whaling commission, hunting would be legally sanctioned. Prior to the 1986 whaling moratorium, roughly 38,000 whales were killed annually between 1945 and 1986, compared with an average of 1,240 whales killed per year after the moratorium (1987 onwards).

The deal would suspend the moratorium on commercial whaling for 10 years and reward Japan, Norway and Iceland for years of defying international law. It could also open the door to whaling by other countries; Korea has already stated its interest in resuming whaling.  

In addition, the deal does not base catch limits on science, gives no guarantees that the whaling nations won’t continue to whale under legal loopholes, and breathes life into an otherwise dying industry.  The deal also acknowledges that countries could not reach a compromise that would prevent whaling nations from trading in whale meat or products. Under the deal, hunters will be permitted to kill humpback, minke, fin, sperm, sei and Bryde’s, whale species.

Please call President Obama, your Senators and let them know they we do not support lifting the ban on Commercial whaling for any reason.

"I am asking President Obama to vote against lifting the ban on commercial whaling next week in Morocco".
White House (202)456-1111.

And it is the Cousteau family that has done so much for education and conservation of the Oceans, Jacques Cousteau was a huge part of why whaling was banned in the 1980's according to an article about his amazing life's work by National Geographic...

Cousteau "intervened personally with heads of state and helped get the numbers necessary for the [International Whaling] Commission to pass the moratorium" on commercial whaling in 1986, Merriam said.

And Jacques Cousteau spoke personally of his affection with whales, of his encounters with them and why he felt so strongly about protecting them.

“Surely whales have more to offer us that ‘seafood’ for our cats, or stays for corsets, or ribs for umbrellas. Calypso’s men are intensely aware of the whales’ true value; we have seen these gray-black cylinders of flesh from underwater; we have been scrutinized by their cloudy blue eyes; our limbs have been spared the crushing impact of a female whale’s fin. We have heard the whales sing. And we want – we very desperately want – to hear them sing again.” (1976)

To think that now, as our Gulf bleeds oil and so many species face habitat loss, climate change threats, overfishing, plastic island, etc. that we can't stop from killing these animals for vitamins and pet food?

It is Phillipe Cousteau Jr. who has brought us those amazing reports of the underwater plumes first hand, diving beneath the surface, of which I wrote about here.  And reporting relentlessly from the area, speaking of the horrors of what is happening to the ocean, and speaking out at every turn.  He also has written about this, A world without whales, it is a thought that we should not even think about and his piece is about the acidification of our oceans, another threat whales face.

The water was the kind of blue usually reserved for color saturated photographs that hang on the walls of natural history museums; so deep and perfect that one would swear it was fantasy. All around us we could sense the mighty creatures even before they appeared out of the abyss. At first a faint shimmering of shadow alerted us to their presence until shadow gave way to form and first one, then two then eight graceful giants slowly emerged from the depths, their unmistakable form as familiar as any...humpback whales! Silently rising up from a deep dive, easily 50 feet long and over 40 tons each, their effortless ascent towards us is a sight not easily forgotten. While there is no way to know what they were thinking as they passed within a few yards away of my sister Alexandra and me, I like to think that they were as curious about us as we were about them. Regardless, coming face to face with a pod of humpback whales is a magnificent site that is at once both thrilling and humbling. I have traveled the world, from the frigid waters of the Arctic to the tropical paradise of the South Pacific and have been lucky to grow up witness to countless such wonders.

Please call President Obama, your Senators and let them know they we do not support lifting the ban on Commercial whaling for any reason.

"I am asking President Obama to vote against lifting the ban on commercial whaling next week in Morocco".
White House (202)456-1111.

                                                            Get the eKos widget code!

Originally posted to Ellinorianne on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 08:39 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Don't know if you saw this but Japan has tried to (12+ / 0-)

    bribe countries with 'cash and prostitutes'

    A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales.

    The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

    The era of procrastination, half-measures, soothing & baffling expedients, & delays, is coming to a close. We are entering a period of consequences - Ch

    by PrometheusUnbound on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 08:44:52 AM PDT

  •  Madness. End whaling right here and now. (14+ / 0-)

    There is simply no excuse.  I don't give a crap about "culture" or "research" or any of these BS reasons.

    If I were to design a trojan horse to bring down the Republican party, it would bear an uncanny resemblance to Rand Paul. - #104758

    by mydailydrunk on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 08:47:46 AM PDT

  •  I see no problems hunting certain whale species (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shaviv, Mariken

    as long as they aren't currented endangered and are managed for sustainability.  We should have the ability to use and harvest any animal resource we want as long as it is done in a sustainable way.  I see no difference between a minke whale and a white tail deer.  Both are resources afterall.

    •  Animals are not "resources" (10+ / 0-)

      Until that is understood, what point even discussing it?

      That's the same kind of attitude that treats human beings as mere numbers in a ledger, and ignores their individual well-being.

      •  Christianity gave us (10+ / 0-)

        that distorted view.

        Several generations of humans will have to live and die before we will evolve beyond this arrogant, self cenetered and delusion idea.

        Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

        by Detroit Mark on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:12:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Animals are resource just like iron and corn are (0+ / 0-)

        resources.  Until that is understood, what is the point of even having a discussion?

        You are certainly free to choose not to use certain resources but don't try to push your religon on the rest of us.

        We shouldn't be having a discussion about whether we should or shouldn't use a resource.  We should be talking about how we can maxmize production without hurting overall populations going forward.  This is the same thing I do with deer herds on my property.  While I love to hunt and eat deer, I would never over harvest that resource since it would hurt production in future years.  Whales should be treated the same way.

        •  So are humans then (5+ / 0-)

          And therefore, people should be free to harvest and use any humans that are not on any endangered list.

          Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

          by Detroit Mark on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:22:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  indeed (5+ / 0-)

            Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est.

            by kestrel9000 on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:34:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You have a faulty and foolish arguement (0+ / 0-)

            To treat humans as equals to animal resources is simply foolish.  We are in competition which each other over natural resources like animals.  We aren't, by our nature, out to harvest each other.

            Are you only against people using whale resources or all animal resources?

            •  Lucius, there is considerable scientific (4+ / 0-)

              ...evidence in the case of the cetaceans (and some simians) to think that they may be conscious and intelligent. Perhaps even borderline/completely sentient. We might not be the only sentients on this planet.

              I have a real problem when we start treating all animals as if they are one group of identical objects. A guppy is one thing - but an organism that might be sentient is something else entirely. The more we look at the animals, the more they start to look a lot of ways. Where do we draw the line? Were you to come across a living Neanderthal or other near-relative to humans, would you regard them as a "resource to be exploited?"

              "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

              by QuestionAuthority on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 03:27:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  There's more to resources (5+ / 0-)

          than turning them into munchies and medicine.

          The wonderful thing about a lot of natural resources is that people can be persuaded to pay money to see them - sometimes stupidly large amounts of money - and then, at the end of the day, the natural resources are still there, ready for another bunch of tourists to see them tomorrow. And when people are coming to you to ogle your natural resources for their sublime beauty, they are probably also buying food from you, securing lodging with you, and purchasing cheap souvenir goods whose export back home can be taxed by you.

          Consider the following: you have a boat of moderate size, in a bay which contains a group of whales - nice plump whales, friendly and reasonably trusting. Easy to get them to come up to you to look at them and be looked at, and also easy to harpoon them. If you make your money by using your boat to take people to look at the whales, well, the whales are here today and they will probably be here tomorrow, and next week, next month, next year... The next ten years, even. That's steady work! Whereas if you make your money by using your boat to hunt the whales, well, you can only take so many before the bay population will collapse and the whales either die out or leave. It'll probably take less than ten years.

          A boatload of tourists probably pays less than a whale carcass, but one of them is steady work, while the other isn't.

          "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -- Dr. Seuss

          by Shaviv on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:34:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you that there is more to animal (0+ / 0-)

            resources then simply hunting or harvesting them.  This is why it is vitally important to properly manage animal populations for maximum human gain.  I would never propose over harvesting whales as that would be foolish and it would fail to maximize their overall value.

            Harvesting 1,000 minke whales from a massively large population however is nominal and won't hurt the overall populations.  This is currently what we do with Deer, Elk, Turkeys, etc.  I don't see why we need to treat whales any differently.

            •  You failed (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TokenLiberal, swampyankee

              to respond to the issue of how they are "harvested".

              And there are issues that they want to open whaling to other species like humpbacks that do not have the same numbers.  And Gray whales, which have not had a decent census done on their numbers in at least a decade.

              There are a lot more issues than just the minke whale.  

              •  Don't they use harpoons and guns to (0+ / 0-)

                harvest whales?  This is basically the same principle as me using my bow to harvest a deer or elk.  I didn't respond because I don't see the issue.  Whale hunting looks alot of any other hunt to me.  Watching whale wars was a great eye opener as to how powerful and accurate harpoon can be.

                Are you against bow hunters?  If you aren't, why are you against someone using a harpoon?  They are basically the same weapon (one is just alot bigger).

                As far as gray and humpback whales, I would be against gray whale hunting simply because we currently don't have enough information on populations.  I don't know much about humpback populations but I do know they have greatly increased in population.  Is their currently enough population for hunting to be reintroduced?  I have no idea.  If their isn't, we shouldn't hunt them.  If their is enough population, we should.

                This all seems fairly simple and straight forward to me.  Whale hunting looks alot like deer and moose hunting to my eyes.

                •  Does it (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TokenLiberal, Apost8, swampyankee

                  take a half hour for a deer to die because of an arrow?

                  A HALF HOUR, and then do you shoot the deer over and over with a rifle while it bleeds and attempts to swim away, gasping for air and trying to struggle for breath?

                  You obviously didn't watch the kill and I doubt anyone with any hunter with a conscience would condone this as humane.

                  Humpback whales are around 11,000, I don't think that's enough to reintroduce whaling, but that's just me.

        •  There are food chain issues which cannot be (4+ / 0-)

          monetized. Each of the species has a place in the food chain, which whole chain is thrown off if one of its material links is removed by near extermination or worse.

          Remember wolves and elk. When wolves were hunted ruthlessly in the Rockies, their usual prey, elk, multipled rapidly and ate the ecosystem bald because what the food chain had provided through evolution to control their numbers, wolves, was no longer there to do so. When wolves were returned to Yellowstone, and started in on the elk again, the older and not so bald ecosystem began to return. Just because we cannot 'see' the ecosystem in the sea does not mean it is not there and cannot be horribly damaged because we don't pay attention to the niche that 'harvesting' the animal of our choice creates.

          They have a monetary value, but it is not direct. Our harvest of certain elements of that system, fish and shrimp and such, demands that the ecosystem be preserved to allow what we value monetarily as crops to grow and prosper sufficient to harvest. As some species have been fished out, fishermen to survive have turned to other rarer fish in different niches, with not necessarily good long term consequences. That is one of the many reasons seafood restaurants have started to work on 'sustainable seafood' which eliminates Chilean sea bass not farmed  IIRC as a regular food commodity, as one example, because they are slow to grow but occupy an essential deep water niche. Harvesting vast amounts of krill is part of the same problem, as they are of low monetary value, but a food base for other sea life we also want to harvest, but the krill harvest competes with harvest of same by the species we value higher and limits their food supply.  

          •  You are also correct which is (0+ / 0-)

            why they have reintroduced wolves to many eco systems.  Now that most hunters are much more informed about the importance of wolves, their numbers are rebounding and helping us have healthier deer and elk populations.

            In fact, some areas are even considering reitroducing wolf hunts through a lottery system and using the money to further expand wolf populations.  This is the pinnicle of humans devising a plan to manage a animal population.  Wolves help nature and are now slowing coming back online for potential hunts (which creates even more economic incentive to manage them).  This was a win for wildlife, a win for potential wolf hunters, and a big win for local populations eager to see a economic boom.

        •  Many animals are highly intelligent (0+ / 0-)

          they share language and friendships. They form families and long term relationships.
          They grieve when a child or a partner dies.

      •  What are animals then? (0+ / 0-)

        When I hunt deer, moose, turkeys, bears, etc. I see them very clearly as a resource.  What else could you classify them as?

        Is corn a resource?

        •  I think you are over simplifying because (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gorette, TokenLiberal

          many see them as companions, as friends and as important parts of ecosystems when they are alive, biodiversity is essential to the environment.

          There are a lot of different ways to see these animals, just because people don't see them as you do doesn't make them wrong.

          •  Using an Animal as a companion (0+ / 0-)

            is still using the animal, thus it would still be looked at as a resource.  Their are more then 1 way to use a resource afterall.

            It doesn't make them wrong to see animals differently.  It does make them wrong if they want to dictate how I choose to use these resources however.

            I personally think it is time for the hunting community and the environmental community to start working together.  Hunters already do alot of good for wildlife.  I personally manage my 500 acres of hunting land very carefully to insure maximum amounts of wildlife (Deer, Turkeys, Pheasents, Coyotes, etc.).  We share the same goal afterall.

            •  Where have you been> (0+ / 0-)

              The environmental community and the hunting community have been working together for a long time when it comes to conservation.  Some of the biggest advocates for habitat restoration and preservation are hunters.  

              •  The problem is that many in the (0+ / 0-)

                environmental community still embrace nasty groups like Peta, Greenpeace, etc.  These groups should have no place in mainstream conservation projects.  Hunting groups like Pheasents forever, the Turkey Foundation, etc. should be embraced with open arms while animal rights groups should be shown the door.

                Hunters already do way more good then any environmental group could dream to do simply for the fact that the money is with the hunters.

                I myself have shelled out 100's of thousands of dollars to purchase and improve my hunting land.  Without me, that land would be a black dirt field that is relatively useless to wildlife.  I don't see many people in the environmental community purchase, by themselves, $1,000,000 of real estate simply to restore it back to its natural look.  I see hunters do it every single day.

                •  This is the thing (0+ / 0-)

                  The have a right to exist, just as you do.  That's the problem, you are just as bad as they are because you have the either or mentality.  It's either you or them.

                  How does that help anything?

                  If I had the money, I would invest heavily as well, but I DON'T, so I do what I can, I'm getting an education in Ecological Restoration and learning to do something.

                  It seems to be all about you, not about the bigger picture here and that helps no one.

                  Just because others don't see things as you do doesn't make their point of view invalid.  

                  •  But I am not attempting to force (0+ / 0-)

                    people to hunt and eat animal resources.  The "other side" is attempting to force me to not hunt and eat animal resources.  That is the big difference and the big problem I have with them.

                    Feel free to never eat an animal again, but don't try to force me to stop using animal resources.

                    I do not have an either or mentality.  I have no issue with vegetarian's unless they try to force me to abide by their religion.

        •  has an ear of corn (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellinorianne, Apost8

          ever looked you in the eye?

          I hate to be the one to tell you this, but that moose is just as much a "person" as you are. There's no scientific evidence to back up the assertion that only humans are aware.  The issue of whether hunting, eating meat, etc is morally wrong is complex, as we live in a world where some animals are hunted naturally, but make no mistake, when you pull that trigger, you are killing somebody, and you should respect that.

          •  Of course I respect animal resources (0+ / 0-)

            which is why my focus on my own property is to manage wildlife to insure maximum populations in the limits of what my land can support.  I manage for Deer, Turkeys, pheasants, and coyotes.  I would never harvest more then what can be supported.

            Whether animals are aware isn't all that important to me.  They aren't humans afterall.

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think I've seen you with this argument, but what about the way they go about it, letting these animals suffer for thirty minutes and killing them in such an inhumane way?  What about that?

      •  I am assuming you have never hunted (0+ / 0-)

        big game animals before?  I have had to track deer for well past 30 minutes that were critically wounded.  Shooting an Arrow in a deer to me seems just like harpooning a whale (only the harpoon is much bigger).  Hunting isn't for the faint of heart.

        Some people enjoy hunting a great deal (me included) and some don't.  At the end of the day, hunters don't always kill animals instantly whether it is a whale, a deer, or even a game bird like a pheasant or turkey.

        While in a perfect world every shot would result in an instant kill, we don't live in a perfect world.

        While most Deer, Turkeys, Bear, Moose, and Elk I have shot over the years die in the first 15-30 minutes, I can't remember all of them that took well over 30 minutes to find and finish off.

        I simply don't see the issue here.

    •  I think y'all are both right here, (3+ / 0-)

      When we try to talk about a region's natural resources, its wildlife also comes into consideration. Of course, that wildlife has many uses, not just eating or turning its bodily fluids into useful products. For example, people will pay money to get up close to whales - or, possibly, even deer.

      The thing about hunting them for fun and profit, though... these animals are very different. Deer breed fast, they can be a road nuisance or worse, and let's face it: they're kind of dim. There are fewer reasons why not to hunt deer than there are why not to hunt whales, which reproduce very slowly, threaten human life and industry minimally or not at all, and are clearly very intelligent in an easily-understood way. And managing hunts on land seems easier than doing it at sea.

      How old is a nice hunt-worthy deer going to be? Five years? And there are twenty million of them. The cost to the population of the loss of an individual is pretty mild, given how fecund these creatures are. A deer has no capacity (that we know of) for very complex social learning, like the collaborative feeding strategies of whales, or whales' complex and communicative vocalizations. And I give most hunters I know credit for wanting to make their kills cleanly and quickly - they have nothing against deer, after all. They're there to kill the deer, not torment it.

      Whales, on the other hand, can easily live as long as we humans can, and probably longer. They reproduce slowly. I think it's a maximum of one calf every two years, or so. Given that whale populations are usually measured in hundreds or thousands of animals, the cost to a population of losing an individual is proportionally higher. And because whales are cultural learners, like us, because they have social lives and accents and they compose songs, I think we should see the loss of a whale as a serious thing. At the very least, they're like the great apes, or certain parrots - and seriously, when Alex the parrot died a few years ago in middle age, that was big news.

      Lastly, there is no way of hunting whales I can think of that doesn't involved prolonged torment. Whales are much larger than deer, with thicker bones: a bullet will hurt a whale, of course, and could even cripple it, but probably won't kill it. The most powerful whale-killing tools tend to damage the whale's economic value as a carcass. Whales can dive, to where hunters cannot reach them - so it is easier for the hunters to harpoon a whale, reel it in, and kill it at close range. Given how much it hurts if you get a simple fishing hook lodged in your flesh, with every little movement shooting fire up your nerves, when the fisherman is doing everything he can do not to pull, to remove the hook properly, etc... Think about how much it would hurt if you were stabbed deliberately with a much larger hook, then reeled in against your will.

      Sure, we do it to fish, but like the deer, fish are kind of dim. I don't know, I feel less loyalty and sympathy for creatures that can be out-thunk by a fairly dumb dog than I do for that dog and anyone or anything smarter.

      "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -- Dr. Seuss

      by Shaviv on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:25:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your entire diatribe (0+ / 0-)

        could have been made so much better had it not be so void of even a shadow of empathy, and a recognition that the animal has just as much right to live as you do.

        I don't mean the jesussy right to life.  I mean the one that all living things are afforded when its fellow organisms recognize that we are all an integral part of a larger order.

        But some people can only see through the coke bottle bottom lens of supply and demand and our appointment by god as the boss of everything.

        Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

        by Detroit Mark on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:35:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess we just don't see eye to eye on it. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If I can take the life of an animal for the sake of pure research - science whose practical applications are far off, and that's assuming we get anything other than just knowledge out of it - how can I have the hubris to say, "What I do with this rat, this bird, is more valuable than you do with this deer"? I can mouth platitudes about the value of science, but at the end of the day, all the successful animal scientist has is a bunch of numbers he hopes mean something, a bunch of tissue slices on microscope slides, and a bunch of frozen, poisoned carcasses. Whereas at the end of the day, a successful deer hunter has the carcass of a game animal, which has parts that can be eaten, turned into leatherwork, or (for those so inclined) mounted on the wall. So which of us accomplished anything?

          "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -- Dr. Seuss

          by Shaviv on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:47:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you so much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, Gorette

        for putting as well as you did.  Whales do not reproduce very often and they have so many more threats to them than deer do as well.  They are not the same.

        And for me, it's the manner in which they are hunted.  All someone has to do is watch the video, it's beyond cruel.

    •  We are missing something here. (0+ / 0-)

      If a thousand whales a day are killed in nets, why cannot these already dead whales be used for whatever virtuous purposes are called for in commerce rather than wasting the deaths of these and killing others? Since they are found dead in nets and nets stay out for hours, not weeks, the commercial fishers could make arrangements to process them as well rather than throwing them away. And that volume is equal to or greater than the amount the three nations want to harvest, without the bs about killing for science.

      This would not preclude insistence on redesign of nets to provide better acquatic mammal safety, but when the commercial harvesters  and their processing equipment, and the dead whales are already together without the need for a separate hunt for whales, it is at the very coldest and meanest, inefficient to waste what is available, especially since the numbers are what they are. And no need to legalize the additional hunts because the volume is there.

      My folk were fishermen a long time in the Bering Sea, and they went through everything they caught and saved whatever could be sold that came up in their nets or on their longline hooks.

      •  I doubt (0+ / 0-)

        a thousand of those animals are whales, it's mostly dolphins.  But some of those are whales and their numbers are not kept track of as closely as they should be.  This is the issue, there is no sure way to know how many whales of each species is out there, the census that is done on them is woefully out of date for many species.

        And many times by the time you get to the whale it's decomposed or it just winds up sinking and dying.  It has to be as fresh as possible to be used in this manner.

        •  Who said those who find them in nets are not to (0+ / 0-)

          record precisely what they found and where. It's not necessarily a 'scientific' census, but it will in time form a picture of that species in that place with data not otherwise available.

          Unusuable fish are chucked, those half eaten by lobsters or something else, so some of the dead cetaceans might well be discarded, but it will not be known to work or not if it is not tried. Most fishermen go after particular items, halibut, salmon, cod, crabs or lobsters, or whatever is plentiful and marketable that is in their territory, as the market itself moves. It is not at all clear, depending on the use intended, whether the cetaceans caught in nets will be too long dead to use for anything until it is tried. I took the thousand whales a day from the diary and assume that the diarist knows his whales from his dolphins. Ido recall that there is a certain town in Japan that does dolphins specifically as a cultural and commercial matter - the one which was the subject of that awful documentary.

      •  Also, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Gil nets are thirty miles long at times, they are the most inefficient and awful nets out there because they catch everything and anything and many times the animals caught in them that die are ones that have been just left behind.

    •  Where is the line for you? (4+ / 0-)

      Chimpanzees? Gorillas? Dolphins? Hummingbirds?

      Your special kind of human hubris makes me shudder.

      Doubtless we sometimes err on the side of "too much protection", but that error is one from which we can always recover.

      Your "humanity owns the planet" attitude threatens to doom us all.


      Some people make you want to change species

      by ulookarmless on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 01:30:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is wrong with hunting hummingbirds? (0+ / 0-)

        They are plentiful afterall and a very hard challenge to hit.  You should try it some time.

        Many communities already harvest dolphins.  What is wrong with that if they aren't a protected species?

      •  Chimps and Gorillas are endangered (0+ / 0-)

        so we should hunt them.  That is a no brainer currently.  We need to help get chimp and gorilla resources back up to managable levels before we think about hunting them again.

    •  Ok, let's all agree with lucius (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      we legalize whaling. With only 18th century implements, boats and medical/rescue services. Oh, and they all have to dress up like something out of Moby Dick.

      I'm ok with that, how about the rest of you?

  •  Watch Star Trek 4 (6+ / 0-)

    The Voyage Home.Im no trekkie but it is one of my favorites.

  •  No Whale Diary is Complete (5+ / 0-)

    without a plug for Animal Planet's Whale Wars featuring the brave Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

    If you want to see what danger some people navigate to try and save whales in a direct and personal way, and you're not sure you understand what the issues are - this series is an absloutely excellent source for lay people and low info types.

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:11:06 AM PDT

    •  I have (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, Detroit Mark, TokenLiberal

      a clip from them in here showing how the Japanese kill the whales in a way which I think is inhumane and cruel.

    •  There's a paragraph on Whale Wars (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, zett, TokenLiberal, Ellinorianne

      in this diary.  Don't know if it was there initially, but that was one thing I looked for as soon as I read it.

      I also liked the chart showing all the ways the different parts of a whale are used.  Anyone who saw how quickly and efficiently the whalers slice and dice a whale can only pretend that it's for "research" by engaging in massive denial.

      Minor typo;  "The argument to lift the ban".

      Tipped and recced.  Sea Shepherd are heroes in my eyes, but they wouldn't need to do what they're doing if the governments of the world would, once and for all, shut down all whaling.  Not with weasely words, but with at least the threat of a tiny bit of the massive armory we possess.

      On the other hand, the apocalypse of oil in the GOM may make it a moot point.  There won't be any whaling if all the whales die.  It's not really surprising that the most threatened whale species, the Northern Right Whale, is probably the species most threatened by the oil gusher.

      I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

      by tle on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:45:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena, tle, TokenLiberal, Apost8

        I've written about Sea Shepherd because they are effective and you can see that they have no intention of hurting people but saving whales.  For some, their methods don't go far enough.  When people say their pirates, they break the law, I wonder if they've ever seen the show.

        And I fixed the typo, thanks.  

        I write a great deal about the issue, about whales and dolphins and the ocean because I felt there was a need and obviously, there doesn't seem to be much interest.  It's unfortunate.

    •  One of the Dangerous Catch captains was on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, TokenLiberal, Ellinorianne

      Keith Olbermann the other night talking about the devastation in the Gulf.

      We have got to figure out, if it ain't already way too late, how to stop treating the planet like our personal and industrial dumpsite.

      Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 11:03:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sigh.... nothing good will come of anything (4+ / 0-)

    I say right now...

    thanks Ellinorianne...

    It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

    by Statusquomustgo on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 09:14:40 AM PDT

  •  I keep reading about all the uses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tle, TokenLiberal, Ellinorianne

    and money to be made...but it really can't ultimately be all that much money because there are only so many whales. What are the assholes going to do when all the whales are dead?

    Couldn't we figure out a way to synthesize the oil, etc. from whales? We do it with other stuff - levothyroxine, for example. Most thyroid hormone replacement meds are no longer made from the thyroids of animals. Why not do the same thing with whale oil?

    Life can only be understood in reverse / But must be lived forwards - Mustaine

    by zett on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 10:08:25 AM PDT

    •  What are they going to do? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, TokenLiberal, Ellinorianne

      The same thing the loggers do when all the old-growth trees are gone.  They find a different job, or work for the tree plantation people.  You know, like Georgia-Pacific, Weyerhauser, the U.S. Forest Service.

      Ditto for buffalo hunters, the beaver pelt trade, etc.

      I'm having this vision where an American immigrant, 10,000 years ago, is bemoaning the wholesale slaughter of mammoth, as everyone else sneers.

      I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

      by tle on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 10:35:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no whale component that cannot be found (5+ / 0-)

    in plants or made synthetically-none. So that rational for killing whales is nonsense. I can't understand Norway; rich, strong Green party...........

    "It's called the American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it" Mr. Geo. Carlin

    by Mark B on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 11:11:18 AM PDT

  •  Why is this diary not on the rec list?! nt (3+ / 0-)

    "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

    by Apost8 on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 01:23:21 PM PDT

  •  I Watched Wale Wars (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TokenLiberal, Ellinorianne, Apost8

    for like ten minutes the other day. A first. I've read what you said here. I listen. Try to educate myself. I knew it was ugly. Totally against whaling. Nothing should surprise my anymore, but I could not believe what I saw. Could not wrap my mind around it all.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 01:46:48 PM PDT

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