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I argue that consuming whale meat is not inherently worse than eating pork or meat from other complex mammals.

Do you want to reduce the discussion to a vegan/carnivore argument? Are you saying because I am a [almost] a vegan that I have no right to oppose the whale hunt? I'm arguing against the whale hunt because in general all whales are increasingly endangered.

That is not the question, it is not NECESSARY to eat whale meat. Most of Norway's whale meat ends up as a delicacy in Japan. Norway does not kill whales as a protein supply for its people, it kills whales as an expensive export product to make money. Greed fuels the whale hunt not necessity.

This from 2001

The Norwegian government announced in January it would allow the export of minke whale products. This trade would be despite minke whales being listed in the convention on the international trade in endangered species, and hence their export being banned. [...]

Today a report by WWF underlines Greenpeace's concerns. It says seven out of 13 species that have been protected from hunting for 15 years, and some far longer, remain endangered.

Collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing gear, intensive oil and gas development in feeding grounds, toxic pollution, and climate change, all threaten them, the report says. [Since this report was written, global warming has increased and climate change has heated up the oceans threatening all whales' food supplies.]

Your tone is excessively defensive and necessarily so since you are defending a practice which is scorned by most of the world.

To thine ownself be true. W.S. CANADA

by sybil on Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 12:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you want to reduce the discussion to a vegan/carnivore argument? Are you saying because I am a [almost] a vegan that I have no right to oppose the whale hunt?

I am baffled here and must ask you to read again what I said above; I am not sure I can put it any clearer. :-)

OK, I'll give it a try. Leaving aside for the moment the empirical question of whether the Norwegian hunt is sustainable at current quotas, and focusing on whether it is intrisically defensible or not to hunt minke whales for food, I am merely arguing the following.

As a matter of logic, people must either:
(a) Reject the slaughter of all complex mammals for food as unethical; or
(b) Accept the slaughter of all complex mammals for food as ethical; or
(c) Accept it in general, but excepting some species X.

For present purposes, I'm not concerned with those in category (a). I disagree, but I respect and understand their standpoint and have no quarrel with it here.

Instead, I am asking the folks within category (c) for whom X = 'minke whale' to explain on what grounds they are making this exception. How exactly is butching minke whale any worse than butching cow, or pig, or sheep, or moose, or whatnot? Why the special preoccupation with this species? That is what I am asking.

Your being vegan or no has nothing to do with it; the logic is the same for herbivores and omnivores alike.

I'm arguing against the whale hunt because in general all whales are increasingly endangered.

As I have stressed, I'm talking only about the minke whale in Norwegian waters, so we should limit ourselves to that.

I have no problem in principle with the assertion that this population is in fact endangered, so that the current Norwegian quotas are not sustainable, if that is the claim you are making. But then, you need to quote some scientific sources and explain why these carry more weight than (a) the Scientific Committee of the IWC's estimate of the population in the Norwegian economic zone at 107,000 individuals; and (b) the application of Norwegian researchers of the quota calculation formula developed by said Committee itself, resulting in a quota of 797 animals this season.

Also, see my comment below. It will be challenging at best to debate the empirical issues without scientific expertise at hand, which is one reason why I focus on matters of principle.

That is not the question, it is not NECESSARY to eat whale meat.

I thought I had addressed this at length in my piece:

At this point, anti-whalers often take refuge in an argument from redundancy. Whaling for meat, they maintain, is especially bad because 'unnecessary' to feed human beings. It is true that whaling is  unnecessary in this respect, but so is all meat production under modern conditions. Plainly, since a vegetarian lifestyle is now easy to pursue, no meat is a necessary commodity in developed countries:
Lamb chops and pork, no less than whale steak, are conveniences. And a whale kill provides more meat than does the slaying of other animals. Going vegan on ethical grounds may be admirable, but non-vegans are in no obvious position to condemn sustainable whaling, while even vegans should have no more of a beef with this than with other ways of obtaining flesh.

Especially not if they count themselves environmentalists: Whaling burns less fuel per unit meat produced than other kinds of meat production. In fact, producing a kilo of beef requires 30 times more energy than the harvest of a kilo of minke whale meat. Besides, the latter does not pollute the ground, erode the soil, or release methane into the atmosphere.

You go on to write:

Most of Norway's whale meat ends up as a delicacy in Japan. Norway does not kill whales as a protein supply for its people, it kills whales as an expensive export product to make money. Greed fuels the whale hunt not necessity.

Every word here is factually false, as far as I know.

There is currently no export of whale products from Norway to Japan, which hunts its own meat. The meat from the Norwegian hunt is for the domestic market, where supply and demand balance out to yield prices on a par with other meat.

Your accusation of 'greed' is also rather strange, especially since I adressed this in the diary entry:

Though whaling is of no national economic importance, it fills a need for supplemental income during the summer on the part of many local fishing communities, especially in the far north. Proceeds from the sale of meat allow people to carve out a living in a region where agriculture and manufacturing are not viable alternatives.

If you dispute this, may I ask on what grounds?

Your tone is excessively defensive and necessarily so since you are defending a practice which is scorned by most of the world.

Plainly, most of the world just don't care one way or another. And whether it should care is precisely what we are debating, so it begs the question to cite world opinion. Finally, what is the point of reviewing my 'tone'? Aren't the arguments what matter?

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 01:39:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Whales are just another animal on the human food chain."

I think that is a false premise because, whales are cetaceans and cannot be bred domestically for human consumption. Whales are endangered worldwide and their decline is now closely linked to global warming.

As for Norway's export of Minke whale meat to Japan.

The decision allows Norway to resume export of an unlimited amount of meat and blubber from minke whales, to Japan, Iceland, Peru and other nations.

Norway's decision was condemned by World Wildlife Fund as damaging to Norway's reputation as an environmentally friendly nation and as a move that could provoke the collapse of global protections for all whales. "Norway's reckless bid to re-open trade in whale products puts international protections for all whale species at risk," said Richard N. Mott, vice president at WWF. LINK


Japan to Import Norwegian Whale Meat
TOKYO , Japan March 6, 2002 (ENS) - Japan is planning to import whale meat from Norway for the first time in about 11 years, Japanese Fisheries Agency officials said Wednesday. The imports of Norwegian minke whale meat could begin as early as May [2002].

The officials say they intend to import up to a hundred tons of whale meat once they have obtained permission from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. LINK


Unfortunately for Norway, the trade did not go well when the meat was found to be contaminated by toxins like PCB's. To 'beef' up the sales of whale meat in both Norway and Japan, this year whale burgers have been introduced into fast food restaurants. How burgers would have any less toxins, is beyond me. So eat whale meat at your own risk.

This

equals this


To thine ownself be true. W.S. CANADA

by sybil on Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 02:22:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that is a false premise because, whales are cetaceans and cannot be bred domestically for human consumption.

And? I just don't see the point. So what?

If anything, this counts in favor of whaling, as I have said many times by now:

(1) The animals roam free in the wild until caught, as opposed to festering in captivity;
(2) Hunting is many times less energy-demanding than the keeping of livestock;
(3) Hunting is indefinetely cleaner and less polluting, especially with respect to greenhouse gases.

Whales are endangered worldwide and their decline is now closely linked to global warming.

You are repeating this mantra over and over. Where are your specific facts as pertains to the specific population of the specific whale species in question, considered with respect to the specific quotas set by Norwegian researchers based on empirical study and an internationally approved formula devised by the IWC?

Unfortunately for Norway, the trade did not go well when the meat was found to be contaminated by toxins like PCB's.

So you now concede that there is no export of whale meat to Japan? How does that leave your charge that Norway "kills whales as an expensive export product to make money"? Let alone, your claims of 'enormous profit'? Are you prepared to retract all this?

For the record, my understanding is that the blubber, not the meat, is dioxin contamined, dioxin being a so-called lipidophile chemical entrenching itself in fat. And in any case, the meat (as opposed to the blubber, never eaten around here anyway) is approved for sale by the The Norwegian Food Safety Authority, not noted for its flexible approach. So that's good enough for me; and I suspect Japan is declining the meat for protectionist reasons. They have enough of their own. But this is incidental to whether the minke whale hunt is legitimate.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 03:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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