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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Should whaling be permitted?
To Mr Harry Wentworth in Torquay. Presumably you feel the same way about ethnic cleansing, NO! Thought not, a living creature is a living creature no matter what and all deserve to live in peace. I rest my case.
Yes, whaling should definitely be allowed. You can't let sentimentality get in the way of business and enterprise. If the whales are a species worth their sea salt, then they will learn how to breed and survive more anyway.
Commercial whaling is cruel, unnecessary, and self-defeating. In addition, Japan is already abusing highly questionable "research" provisions and dubious methods to influence the IWC. With regard to the argument for protecting people who have made whaling their livelihood, I suggest they get off their laurels and learn a more self-sustaining trade. How presumptuous to assume that your first choice of profession should carry you through your entire lifetime. That seems to be an old trait of Japanese business culture, but it is being challenged in most sectors and hopefully the fishing industry as well.
I do not like the idea of anti-whaling servicing hamburger and chicken companies. I also think that there are other threats to marine species consumed in the west that are as bad, and I haven't heard of any ban there. I know someone who worked in a fishing boat in Alaska recently, and the methods they use for fishing are "beyond whaling", actually tilling and screening the ocean's floor, but I have never heard of any discussion on that issue. How convenient it is to turn the limelight to the other side of the world... how sad.
"Why should whales be given more protection than fish just because more people feel sentimental about them?"
Andrew Taylor, UK
Andrew's rational observation does not take into account that "environmentalism" has become a religion that rejects reason. Science and truth are likewise strangers to this worship of nature.
Andrew Taylor, UK
In the US and UK, as well as many other nations, scientists and environmentalists cry out that the number of whales is dwindling and they are afraid that many species will be extinct. In Japan, however, the scientists say that, for certain species of whales, their numbers are climbing rapidly, and controlled whaling could be good. Of course, they want to be allowed to go whaling, and the population enjoys eating it, so they may be embellishing the numbers. On the other hand, we don't want them to be whaling, so who is to say that we might not be the ones exaggerating the facts?
There is absolutely no reason for whaling. Everything that it once provided can be manufactured using other means. They are not "sea cows". They take considerable time to replace their numbers and are benign. Japan blames whales for damaging local fish populations. How much damage have they done? They have done more damage than thousands of whales could ever do. Research should be allowed. Third world countries that are starving should be allowed to "hunt whales" using traditional means. That means using the technology from centuries past. But most of the countries which want whaling reinstated cannot use the word "need" in their proposals. Some resources are just too valuable to squander.
Whaling should be banned for all time, not just 15 years! It seems ridiculous to me that people can even consider otherwise. The only exception possibly being people who have traditionally hunted whales for survival using the traditional tools of centuries past (as GC Jordahl said) using wooden boats, and hand thrown harpoons.
Scientific research should be banned, what do we need to find out! Killing them will not help us conserve them. I am sorry for the fishermen, they have enough troubles already, but there will be no whales left for them to hunt in 15 years if the ban is lifted. Lifting the moratorium cannot possible be considered.
Tom Cooper, UK
Tom Cooper: We've seen industry after industry destroyed in the name of nothing more than commercial gain. Short term profit is preferred over anything long term. Here's one that should die out for a better good. It's unfortunate but we have a chance at least once to put something right in favour of those unable to defend themselves from man's short-sighted greed. The ban should stay and be an example to other such initiatives.
I'm sorry, but whaling is an example of the human race at its very worst. We should be guardians of this planet, not view everything that moves as a potential food source.
To me there will never be any reason to resume whaling. Many whale species are still near extinction, and fish meals can be made of smaller, much more common fish. The so-called scientific whaling should also be banned, because it is just (poorly) concealed commercial whaling. I just don't understand how some people want to eat everything in sight.
Shinto from Japan compared Whales to Cows, Pigs and Chickens. Cows etc are domesticated animals which we can control the reproduction of to satisfy our food needs. They are also not in danger of extinction because we breed many millions of them every year.
Whales are not domesticated. We can't influence their reproduction to satisfy the food needs of particular countries. They are mostly in danger of extinction and those that aren't considered in danger still have extremely low populations.
That is why most of us Westerners are against Whale hunting. The two cannot be compared however you try.
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