Still Whaling

I support the campaigns and efforts to stop whaling by Japanese boats; a view which most Australians seem to share. It is also one of the few issues where the federal Liberal Party is comfortable making very hardline pro-environment and anti-animal cruelty statements. Former Environment Minister Ian Campbell has just been appointed to the advisory board of the Sea Shepherd, a group usually seen as more radical in their anti-whaling approach than Greenpeace.  And the new Liberal Shadow Environment Minister had criticised the new federal Labor government for not working closely enough with Greenpeace. For its part, Labor has made a point of trying to appear to be taking a strong position against the continuing whale slaughter, although as with the previous government, one can question what practical impact its statements and actions are having. 

I welcome all of this public and political opposition, which surfaces every year when the whale killing occurs, but I do still wonder why it is that so many people are so readily (and rightly) outraged about whale hunting, yet don’t bat an eyelid at the daily, institutionalised cruelty and slaughter of millions of other mammals every year in our country. I am not dismissing the treatment of other creatures, such as the literally billions of chickens killed each year for food after short, painful and miserable lives, but for the purposes of this argument I am confining myself to parallels with other mammals, some of which are almost certainly also capable of feeling pain, suffering and fear, just like whales – and humans.

Whilst the method of killing whales is cruel, at least one could argue that prior to that, they had lived lives of freedom. By contrast, millions of other mammals kept in factory ‘farms’, such as pigs, cows and sheep, live all of their lives in dismal conditions where sometimes the only mercy is a relatively quick kill at the end of it all.

I accept that the majority of people have a very different view to mine on the confining and slaughter of these mammals, but I do wonder why those views shift when it comes to killing whales (or other mammals like dolphins) for food. Whilst some would say that the endangered status of many whale species is what makes the difference, I doubt many Australians would say it’s OK to slaughter whales as long as you can demonstrate it’s a sustainable ‘harvest’. It is not surprising that the Japanese government might seek to highlight the apparent inconsistency in this this attitude. 

UPDATE: (16/1) Professor Peter Singer makes a similar argument in this piece in The Australian, along with a bit of history to Australia’s opposition to whaling. 

The Australian Government strongly opposes whaling, yet it permits the killing of millions of kangaroos each year: a slaughter that involves a great deal of animal suffering. The same can be said of various forms of hunting in other countries, not to mention the extensive animal suffering caused by factory farms.

Whaling should stop because it brings needless suffering to social, intelligent animals capable of enjoying their lives. But against the Japanese charge of cultural bias, Western countries will have little defence until they address the needless animal suffering in their own back yards.

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65 Comments

  1. Every time you eat a steak, think about all the lentils your saving!

    No differentiating between species!

  2. daisk5:

    I am the person who asked why Japan hunts whales. I looked at your link, and I think the Japanese man is right about western countries not caring about his gastronomic rights.

    He says people don’t complain about the slaughter of cows and pigs – but some are starting to do that as well.

    People who start feeling sorry for whales are playing straight into the hands of global interests, who are determined to turn us all into vegans for their own gain.

    Whales today … cows tomorrow. Greedpeace can take a hike!

    It’s a well known fact that meat eaters outlive others by an average of about 12 years.

    I’ve been visiting an aged care centre for about 3 years. I am yet to meet EVEN ONE very ancient vegetarian or vegan.

    There are plenty of meat eaters in their 90s.

  3. I’d love to know where your “well known fact” comes from Lorikeet. I’ve never heard anything of the sort.

    I suspect the reason that you haven’t met many aging vegetarian or vegan is that these ideas have not been very widespread – and are not even widespread now.

    I’d also love to know who the global interests are who stand to make money from a vegetarian world. I’m not aware of any lentil multinationals.

  4. I suspect the reason is that elderly vegetarians & vegans are so fit and virile that they have no need for high-level care.

    Of course, anyone who knew anything about sampling & statistics wouldn’t fall into the trap of biasing their sample by only collecting data from the frail & sickly.

    Just sayin’.

  5. Hmm, my Auntie Anne was in an aged Care place for 3 years becuase her carers kept dying on her. ( Had 2 amputated legs and one hand missing – car accident.)She was a veggo, yet 3 or 4 evening meals a week were for carnivores – the kitchen staff could not “get” the concept of vegetarianism, or ‘didn’t have the right foods handy’ or “forgot”. She ate the rest, shoved the meats to one side, but did fade away eventually – she was 93 when she died. Theer were 2 or 3 other codgers the same age there in a similar situation.

    There you are, Coral, a scientific study to counterbalance your own. ;-)

  6. Muzz:

    The global interests have little or nothing to do with selling lentils, but I suppose it stands to reason that lentil multinationals could be a thing of the future.

    I didn’t say I hadn’t met MANY aging vegetarians or vegans. I said I hadn’t met ANY.

    I will need to source a link or reference regarding vegans living shorter lives.

    I recently saw a woman on a makeover program who was 37 years old. The only animal product she ate was fish.

    When she stripped down to her underwear, her body was like a sagging jelly – not a single muscle anywhere, even though she was not very fat. She also looked old.

    They told her she couldn’t engage in the fitness program unless she started eating meat. Next thing, she was gingerly pecking at a boiled egg as if it was something the dog had left behind on the lawn.

    That’s where this stupid anti-meat and anti-animal-product indoctrination is leading.

    Feral:

    Did I say I was doing a formal statistical analysis of anything? No, I didn’t.

    Some of the people are not frail or sickly. They have Subcortical Vascular Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease or one of the other forms of dementia which are genetic in origin.

    Togret:

    Such a small sample would not pass as a counterbalance or a scientific study.

    That’s only 4 people. I have met at least 100. Some are much older than Auntie.

    Nursing homes provide whatever foods are required these days. Qualified dieticians are employed to sort it all out.

    The only one I’ve seen at this place was extremely scrawny.

  7. I don’t want to be nitpicking Lorikeet, but your post says both you hadn’t met ANY vegetarians / vegans, yet later you say you met one that was extremely scrawny. So which is it?

    As to global interests (which you seem particularly interested in), they seem to be doing a fairly bad job of convincing us to become vegetarians or vegans. The vast majority of people I know are omnivores.

    And while I disagree with the choices a lot of people make, I very much respect and protect the fact that they are able to make choices. After all, I believe a vegan diet is much better for the environment, you will have a great deal of work to do to convince me to give up cheese and the occasional steak.

  8. CoraLorikeet, you were making strong assertions on the flimsiest of pretexts.

    You make up you mind what you wish to say, and then hunt around for some tid-bit to offer as ‘evidence’, no matter how spurious, no matter how how fallacious.

    Your assertions in the last couple of comments cannot withstand the mildest scrutiny.

    I’ve seen some very acute comments from you in the past – it’d be appreciated if you could resurrect your good form of old and put some more thought and effort into your posts.

  9. Muzz:

    Please read post #56 again. I said the dietician was extremely scrawny. I didn’t say what she ate, since I did not ask her. I can only say that she appears to have dietised HERSELF into a condition I would not want to emulate – and she treats highly competent kitchen staff as if they are underlings.

    I am pro-choice just as you are, just as long as others are not looking to choose my diet for me – which I can assure you is more of a problem.

    There is plenty of evidence that they are. The Peter Beattie diet is but one example.

    The strange thing is that I’ve only encountered one other person who said they received it in the mail. (Maybe others threw it out?)

    I think I get other stuff that people don’t – a lot from politicians, elected or otherwise.

    For example, how many people have been asked to help review The Dividing Fences Act? Not once – but twice?

    Why do you think that an organisation named “Voiceless” is trying to make inroads into our schools? It isn’t just to teach children how to bath, pat and feed their pets.

    They want ALL ANIMALS to be treated as pets. Do we eat our pets? I don’t think so.

    If “Voiceless” was any kind of moderate organisation just teaching children to be kind to their pets, we wouldn’t have the Australian Farmers’ Federation trying to keep them out of our schools, would we?

    I was telling a teacher I know about this, and she said no one else had mentioned anything. So I printed a couple of items from the internet, and now her mind has been opened to other possibilities.

    I think people need to think a bit more about the upshot of a number of moves afoot, and be more interested in what is happening (or likely to happen) at a global level.

    I am the last person looking to stop people from eating anything they want.

    Yes, most people are omnivores. That’s in the present.

    Let’s think about what “idiots” are planning for the future, and how they intend to do it.

  10. Muzz:

    In my continuing search, all I have found is vegetarian sources, sometimes making outrageous claims.

    According to VegSource, babies fed cows’ milk in their first year are likely to be intellectually deficient.

    In the past, almost all babies got cows’ milk in their first year, including my 2 older sons. The third got Lactogen instead. All 3 of my sons are extremely clever.

    Conversely, my tiny grandson is allergic to cows’ milk, and has to have soy milk instead. The poor child used to be as scrawny as hell, until I advised my daughter-in-law to start filling him up with pasta, rice, cereals, breads, and meat (if she thought he could eat it).

    Before that, it took him a long time to sit, and he couldn’t stand. A few months later, he was tearing through the house, chasing his older brother.

    He bears out a claim from another (pro-meat) source that soy products can stunt a child’s growth.

    VegSource also discusses colon cancer from eating red meat, due to increased transit time through the bowel. But they’re talking about diets that are higher in red meat than in plant content.

    The only people on that kind of diet are the world’s primitive and indigenous populations, who generally live much shorter lives – but not only due to diet.

    They have little access to medical treatment and clean water, and harsher living conditions.

    Most westerners eat a mixed omnivorous diet.

    One study from another vegetarian/vegan source found that there was little difference in life expectancy between eaters of LEAN RED MEAT and non-meat eaters.

    People who don’t eat animal products also appear less likely to smoke, drink or take part in other unhealthy lifestyle habits.

    So if people eat all things in moderation, get a bit of exercise, know how to deal with stress (a big killer) – and don’t smoke, drink, do drugs etc – there should be no problem with an omnivorous diet.

    The same cannot be said of vegan diets without additional supplementation.

  11. Feral:

    Now that you have switched from your “tongue in cheek” smart alec comments and climbed onto your “high horse”, I can tell that you don’t like to deal with anything that doesn’t fit in with your chosen set of beliefs.

    I will need to contact a friend to find out where that link is.

    You can “suspect” anything you want – it doesn’t make it a scientific fact.

    I also think you could be a bit less insulting.

    Muzz:

    The government won’t have a great deal of work to do to get you to give up your steak and cheese.

    They can simply cut production – thereby pricing you, and most of the rest of us, out of the market.

    Hello, lettuce and beans!

  12. Muzz:

    I have asked my friend for a link.

    She said she read that vegans live shorter lives than meat-eating omnivores in an article in The Courier Mail in 2007.

    She said the findings did not apply to vegetarians, since they may eat dairy products, eggs, fish and chicken (or any combination) – depending on which particular dietary group they belong to.

  13. I don’t comprehend how you think the Australian (or other) governments work Lorikeet. The government doesn’t control the production of anything. We have a fairly unrestricted free-market economy where you can buy what you want (almost) And you can even buy many things that the goverment either discourages or has outlawed.

    After all governments have been trying to get us to stop smoking for years, and we’re still doing it (though in smaller numbers) – despite ads and increasing taxes on them. I can’t imagine how they’d get the producers to stop when there is a large demand for it with much less health effects than smoking or drinking.

  14. Muzz:

    Rudd has signed up for Kyoto.

    Only a couple of days ago, I saw someone from the IPCC giving an even more graphic (and worse) scenario relating to an imminent global meltdown.

    I understand what you’re saying, but the present isn’t the future in relation to governments, is it?

    We’ve already had council amalgamations inflicted on us, some politicians wanting to get rid of state government, and even the upper house at a federal level. These things all start somewhere, with the saving of money being given as an excuse for taking away choice.

    Money is controlled globally, partly by banks and superannuation funds.

    In relation to smoking, the availability of cigarettes is still huge, and nicotine is highly addictive.

    I think the IPCC is a doomsday cult, that will send us to our doom even more quickly. They’re using the usual techniques of “guilt and fear” to do it.

    There may be little doubt that humankind has contributed somewhat to global warming, but being in an interglacial period is something we can do little about.

    There are plenty of methods the government could use to control the meat and livestock industries, cut production and indoctrinate the population. (I probably shouldn’t be giving them any extra tips on this blog.)

    Anna Bligh (Queensland) has already cut the fishing industry.

    I guess it is easier for governments to start with the “ocean pastures” first, since they are subject to collective rather than individual ownership.

    That’s why the Japanese are copping a hiding over whales, even though other reasons are given by IPCC affiliates such as Greedpeace.

    Japanese people, on the whole, have fairly incisive minds. I believe they are stockpiling whale meat (probably in large chunks that will last longer), leading up to a complete ban on whaling, followed by the demise of the cow.

    I could be wrong, but I think they import a lot of their meats (other than whale), so they have little control over availability.

  15. Muzz:

    Another thing in relation to smoking is the fact they have not decreased availability, which is the biggie.

    There is plenty of money to be made from addictions (cigarettes, alcohol, gambling etc) – by both the manufacturers and government.

    BTW did you or anyone else out there get Peter Beattie’s lifestyle package a year or more ago?

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