part 1 of 3
When whale watchers sight a nearby whale they either scream in excitement and capture the beast with cameras, or fire off a harpoon cannon and land an exploding harpoon into the surfacing cetacean then tow it in for harvesting.
Two camps. Two points of view. One whale of a controversy.
Whales and their human friends and foes will likely dominate environmental news up to and during the upcoming June 2010 International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference in Morocco.
Neptune911 will attempt to consolidate and inform its readers about the current state of whales and whale hunting.
The passion of the save the whales crowd ranges from peaceful rallies like the recent rally featured in the subsequent video, to the take no prisoners position of organizations like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as broadcasted in the popular Animal Planet Whale Wars production.
Whale hunters, either commercial or aboriginal, see whales as a valuable commodity or creatures relevant to indigenous peoples’ sustainability.
The whale meat industry even argues that by allowing more whale meat into the market that it may well help end human starvation, and that it is only the western nations interested in selling their beef products that challenge a “sustainable whale meat “ industry.
Scientists, meanwhile warn of whale species extinction, highly toxic whale meat, and report that “…numerous scientific studies show that the makeup of cetacean brains (are) similar in structure to humans’.”
As data continues to show that cetaceans harbor feelings and emotions, some ethicists assert that hunting and/or capturing cetaceans for arena entertainment is cruel. This week, in fact, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society met in Helsinki, Finland. It was there that Thomas White, director of the Center for Ethics and Business at Loyola Marymount University in California, told Reuters, “Whaling is ethically unacceptable…. They have a sense of self that we used to think that only human beings have.”
During a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference, members agreed that whales and dolphins appear to possess cultural and cognitive processes. In other words, they are not without feelings and emotions.
Ironically, science is one of the big issues concerning whale hunts. Japan, along with Iceland and Norway, claim that many of the whales harvested are for scientific research and that their research has harvested more than just meat. For instance, Japan states that the Antarctic minke whale is over abundant and hunting is essential to their natural balance. Scientific studies disprove this claim.
The anti-whaling community says that the IWC scientific study allowance for over-quota hunts is nothing more than a loophole.
Who’s right? What’s all the fuss?
These are questions Neptune911 seeks to answer. Your comments and additions are welcome as we continue exploring Whales and Us for the next several weeks.