Killing whales: the hypocrisy of the West

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Killing whales: the hypocrisy of the West

by Chris Grezo

Japanese people who hunt and kill whales say that they are doing this for scientific research. They are lying and they can do this because of a loophole in international law.

Western governments and public are shocked by this. And by the terrible suffering this causes. It is impossible to hunt and kill whales in a kind, humane way: the weapons they use (harpoons), which explode, almost never kill a whale immediately. It is very difficult to hit the right part of a whale when it is swimming away in Antarctic sea. And, because the hunters want to use as much of the whale’s body as possible, they use smaller amounts of explosive. This makes it more unlikely that the whale will die quickly. So the whales often die slowly in a lot of pain: after the exploding harpoon, the whale is pulled along through the water and suffers a lot before she dies.

But the West does not say whaling is wrong because of the suffering of the whales. Western media and governments tell Japan to stop killing whales for reasons of ‘conservation’. And this is not true. The minke whales are not an endangered species. Most other types of whale are in danger of extinction, but the minke whales, that the Japanese hunt, are not.

But if minke whales were endangered, would it be OK to impose a law on another country? There must be a moral reason for imposing a law on others, and what exactly is the moral part of a conservationist law? What effect does the size of a species’ population have on the moral value of one individual of that species? If, for example, we had 10 billion more humans on the planet, would it be OK to torture people because the species is overpopulated? Or what if the population of humans on earth was only a few million – could we all have some extra human rights? Or if someone suddenly discovered an island where millions of dogs lived, so there were suddenly millions more dogs on earth, would it be OK morally for me to shoot your dog? And if there were only one Greater Potato Beetle left in the whole world, would its life be worth more than the life of an orang-utan? If we think about it, the number of others in a species has no relation to how much you are worth morally.

Western governments and media think that exotic animals are nice to look at; it would be a shame if we couldn’t look at them anymore. So, if whales are exotic to us and we like to look at them, we tell the Japanese that they must not hunt them. This is hypocritical. And we must close loophole in the law. Do you think a whale is happier thinking that she is dying in pain because of scientific research, not for food?

Why does the West think it can tell others what to do morally, when it uses factory farming. Factory farming tortures billions of animals each year? How can the West impose laws on Japan when it gives EU money to bullfighting? In bullfighting, bulls are half blind and stunned before the fight so the ‘brave’ matador can win. Western cultures blind, poison and torture dogs, cats and rabbits to make shampoo in a cheaper way. This is very hypocritical and shows how little they think.

This terrible suffering is totally unnecessary. It exists so that transnational businesses can make a little more profit. It is impossible to justify this morally, but we do not see it. We choose only to notice what is wrong in other cultures. There is a very strong argument to ban whaling: it causes unnecessary death and suffering. That’s all we need to say. Everything people say about beautiful creatures and population size is only a way to hide our own unethical hypocrisy.

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