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Ilya
2005-Nov-18, 05:01 PM
As demonstrated by this BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4417462.stm).

Seriously, what's the big deal? I can understand the outrage over hunting endangered animals -- and would be first to protest if Japanese hunted, say, blue whales. But minke whales are very far from endangered; in fact, they are almost certainly more numerous today than at any time in prehistory, exactly because their main competition -- larger baleen whales, -- had been so decimated. (Other krill-eaters in Antarctic waters, such as misnamed crab-eating seal, also exploded in numbers over the last century.)

I can also understand outrage over hunting of highly intelligent animals, such as dolphins and other toothed whales. But krill-eating baleens, "Star Trek IV" notwithstanding, display all the intelligence of a cow. Which makes perfect sense for an animal with few natural enemies and a food source as abundant and about as capable of escaping as grass.

For a number of reasons I generally oppose all large-scale commercial fishing, but if I had to name one mammal which is okay to hunt commercially, I would say it is minke whale. If anything, I find cod fishing more objectionable -- because brainless cod really ARE overfished to the point of being endangered.

BTW, I do not admire in the least the hypocrisy of Japanese whalers who claim the kill whales "for scientific purposes." But this hypocrisy only exists because of the widespread -- and IMO completely unreasonable, -- Western condemnation.

Here is a cartoon on the subject (http://www.macguff.fr/goomi/unspeakable/home.html). Obviously, I disagree with the cartoonist's sentiment, but I appreciate his sense of humor. Although you have to be familiar with H.P. Lovecraft to understand it.

tofu
2005-Nov-18, 05:28 PM
Why are Westerners so upset about Japan hunting whales?

In my opinion, it is not Westerners in general. It is some small subset of westerners. Just ignore them. They bother the rest of us too.

Doodler
2005-Nov-18, 05:42 PM
Save (some of) the Whales!

hmm... Not quite the same ring. :P

If its not endangered, and its regulated, so be it. The Japanese have been whaling continuously masked under the guise of "research".

mid
2005-Nov-18, 05:53 PM
1) Many don't believe the Japanese when they say "oh, don't worry about those whales, there's tonnes of them. No, really. All that stuff about whales being close to extinction doesn't apply here. And we promise to not hit any of the rare ones by 'accident', either".

2) The method of killing looks frankly disgusting - you'd be pushed to come up with a less humane method if you tried.

3) Killing and eating wild mammals at all offends some people. Why make an exceptions for the ones in the sea?

Argos
2005-Nov-18, 05:59 PM
Most people oppose killing whales because they (rightly) feel it is wrong. Why do most people oppose killing humans?

Is a whale only as intelligent as a cow? A good reason for not killing both cows and whales. Most humans are not impressively intelligent, for that matter. Furthermore, many impaired humans unfortunately are not as intelligent as a whale. Kill them?

Eoanthropus Dawsoni
2005-Nov-18, 07:09 PM
Most "Westerners" could care less about a few whales. But there are a few very noisy ones who do, and they are extremely well funded.

Doodler
2005-Nov-18, 07:12 PM
2) The method of killing looks frankly disgusting - you'd be pushed to come up with a less humane method if you tried.


Driving a steadily streaming crowd of animals into a chute, then driving a 2" diameter by 6" long rod into the forehead with the force of a bullet, then sending them to what amounts to an assembly line for slaughter is in some way prettier?

aurora
2005-Nov-18, 07:42 PM
The Japanese don't hunt whales. They are only doing research, and the research involved killing some hundreds of them.

Yes, that's it. Research.

Lianachan
2005-Nov-18, 07:51 PM
I don't think there is a pretty way to kill animals of any description, is there? Colourful, certainly, but pretty?

Moose
2005-Nov-18, 08:10 PM
BTW, I do not admire in the least the hypocrisy of Japanese whalers who claim the kill whales "for scientific purposes." But this hypocrisy only exists because of the widespread -- and IMO completely unreasonable, -- Western condemnation.

If they're lying about their activities (and they clearly are), don't expect me to take their word about the "almost certainly more numerous today than at any time in prehistory" and the assurance that they're only hunting the non-endangered Minke. Frankly, given the circumstances, their word doesn't mean much.

If the Minke are thriving despite the "research" by Japanese whalers, and that these whalers are careful to avoid antagonizing us over truly endangered species of whale, then I'm satisfied that the pressure they're being put under is doing some good.

One option, mentionned in one of Clancy's books, would be to follow whaling ships around while broadcasting whale danger calls. Clancy suggested doing so covertly using submarines, but I think the job could be done quite adequately by surface ships making no secret whatsoever of what they're doing. Then call it "research" while being sure to be seen to snicker while saying it. Let the Japanese government and/or whalers complain for a while. Seems to me it's their turn.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-18, 09:12 PM
If they're lying about their activities (and they clearly are), don't expect me to take their word about the "almost certainly more numerous today than at any time in prehistory" and the assurance that they're only hunting the non-endangered Minke. Frankly, given the circumstances, their word doesn't mean much.

I'm sorry, but we're going off of their word? I was under the impression that Marine Biologists would've known the approximate number of animals in that area... are we really primarily going off the word of the Japanese?

Moose
2005-Nov-18, 09:15 PM
I'm sorry, but we're going off of their word?

We're going off someone's word, given the total lack of evidence presented in this thread.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Nov-18, 09:25 PM
'Westerners' are 'upset' about Japan hunting whales?! That's news to me.


As demonstrated by this BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4417462.stm).Ah, yes, because an 'environmental correspondent' is just the right person to represent the whole spectrum of Western Civilization.

Honestly.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-18, 09:36 PM
So how do they kill them? Or do they just begin the process of slaughter and the whale dies somewhere along the way?

Sorry to be morbid; I'm just curious about how they kill something that huge.

Moose
2005-Nov-18, 09:54 PM
If the harpoon doesn't kill it while they drag it aboard, then I guess it depends on how quickly they get around to butchering it. I honestly don't know if the whalers go out of their way to kill the animal before the work starts. In any case, exposure (the same as when a whale gets beached) would be inevitable. Unlike conventional fishing, the whale wouldn't asphixiate.

Stregone
2005-Nov-18, 10:07 PM
Don't they use grenade tipped harpoons? I recall reading about how even that can have difficulty killing them outright.

TrAI
2005-Nov-18, 10:59 PM
So how do they kill them? Or do they just begin the process of slaughter and the whale dies somewhere along the way?

Sorry to be morbid; I'm just curious about how they kill something that huge.

Well, I believe most whaling ships these days use penthrite explosive harpoons. They are designed to penetrate to a certain depth and then explode, and the shockwave will cause a lethal amount of damage to the nervous system of the whale, a good hit will cause instant death, but success depends on the skill of the gunner and the size and type of whale, i expect.

Earlier explosive harpoons used a powder charge, mostly killing the whales by causing bleeding(powder does not cause the shockwaves that modern high explosives do), and so they are not as quick as penthrite harpoons.

Before the explosive harpoon was invented, the main job of the harpoon was to keep the whaling boat anchored to the target while the whale was lanced repetadly with hand held lances, and it would die from bleeding.

IIRC there were some experiments with hydrogen cyanide harpoons at one time, that never caught on though, as people got poisoned handling the carcass...

publiusr
2005-Nov-18, 11:29 PM
In my opinion, it is not Westerners in general. It is some small subset of westerners. Just ignore them. They bother the rest of us too.
Exactamundo.

It isn't like orcas don't live to bite plugs out of the baleen whales--oh wait--they do.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-19, 12:40 AM
As demonstrated by
I can also understand outrage over hunting of highly intelligent animals, such as dolphins and other toothed whales.


Define 'Highly Intelligent' for me, please...

Moose...we'd have to find the right call, obviously - given that whales and dolphins (mostly) tend to come toward most danger calls. Still, it's a nice idea... But I wonder on its legality

As far as *I* am concerned, though, whale tastes terrible, but if you want to eat it, be my guest.

----------

Greenpeace - another name for 'terrorist'

Halcyon Dayz
2005-Nov-19, 04:48 AM
What is the last time Greenpeace blew up anybody.
O no, wait a minute, somebody blew them up.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-19, 05:57 AM
What about the millions that Greenpeace starved because of their anti-genetically engineered crops campaign? When they literally lied to other countries, and told them that gengineered food was "poisonous"

There are many other cases, but I'm not that well-researched on all of them. I'd have to get one of my friends to go into it all.

genebujold
2005-Nov-19, 06:57 AM
"Why are Westerners so upset about Japan hunting whales?"

Because of the hundred-fold decline in whale populations to the point where an incredible lack of genetic diversity has spelt extinction for some species and continues to threaten others with death.

Hey - I'm no greenie, and do not know of, much less belong to, any other organizations along those lines. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to review some basic numbers and realize we humans have decimated this genus and that it's time to take drastic measures to stop.

Furthermore, I don't believe the issue lies strictly with overhunting the whales themselves. I think overhunting their food source is just as much to blame. Fish populations in the oceans today are far less than what they were just 50 years ago.

And pollution plays a very large role. A third of the reef's in full bloom in the 50s are dead.

There are far less damaging, equally nutricious, ways of obtaining food, and which are about the same or less price to boot than what mankind is doing to rape the oceans.

It's high time the Japanese and many other countries stop defending their practices simply because defending it is the most expedience way they're willing to expedite to keep thousands of people in their current jobs.

Yeah, it costs $. But far less, long-term, that it will if we drive more species to extinction.

Put more bluntly, they're slitting all of our collective throats. None of us can live on this planet without viable oceans, any more than we can live with massive deforestization.

Again - I'm not a greenie, so I hope you know that there's no "party line" I'm spouting. I've simply uncovered as much data on my own as they're trust in my face during my years of countering their often wild and inflated claims that I've become convinced that most greenies are missing the boat with respect to the truth behind the way our ecosytem and lives are really all tied together.

No - I'm not running for a chapter president!