IWC, Whaling & Japan. Is whaling illegal? Is whaling wrong?

Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 03:11 am
The outrage over whaling threads contain a lot of very valuable information on whaling and especially the anti-whaling movement. I recommend it for anyone interested in following the progress of the anti-whaling movement.

Here I'd like to take a bit of a different course and promote actual argument on whether whaling is wrong and other minutiae about the issue that are incongruous on a thread aimed at expressing outrage over whaling.

So, in short, this is the whaling debate thread and if you aren't in the mood for argument (ok, maybe sometimes just contradiction) be warned! Let's try not to hurt anyone's feelings or break any furniture ok?
Robert Gentel
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 03:25 am
@Robert Gentel,
I'll start with my own positions and let anyone pick at them if they'd like.

Is whaling wrong?

I think killing endangered species makes no sense. It deprives us of the resource forever to drive it to extinction and because of the tragedy of the commons dilemma we require organization to prevent this. Simply put, it is to each man's rational interest to overfish. The man gains all the benefit from the overfishing while dividing the cost between all current (and near-future) fishers. If the man underfishes, he receives all the cost of doing so and none of the benefit as long as others pick up his slack.

So man left to himself will encounter this tragedy of the commons where acting rational individually brings about collective ruin. Because of this, I support social contracts where we seek to organize and prevent this from happening.

This is my reasoning behind what I feel is strongest moral argument against whaling: preservation of a species merits prohibition of killing it, and sustainability must be regulated.

There is a problem here though, and that is that not all whales are endangered but some people still don't want any whaling. This ethical position is one I find less defensible, but one I sympathize with on an emotional level (not wanting to see magnificent creatures killed). I welcome ethical debate about the position that whales should not be killed regardless of their conservation status and the sustainability of the whaling.

If anyone in the anti-whaling camp is interested I will be back later with more on two other parts we were arguing: is Minke whaling sustainable? And more on the legality of whaling and the IWC's evolution.
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 05:34 am
@Robert Gentel,
There are no "magnificent creatures". What if I like cockroaches ? Who are you to kill cockroaches when I love them so much ? I will actively try to upset the apple cart if you kill cockroaches. As the captain of the Rainbow Warrior said, "I could easily kill a human being to save these magnificent animals". If Japan has no right to kill non-endangered whales, then America has no right to kill non-endangered cockroaches. It is the same thing, it is just a question of what is "sexy".
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 02:04 pm
ionus said

There are no "magnificent creatures". What if I like cockroaches ? Who are you to kill cockroaches when I love them so much ?

When cockroaches are found in similar numbers as whales, i.e., nearly extant, and proven to have high intelligence, you might have a point. But until then your argument is just purile because the position ignores the intelligence of the whales in question. The reason not to kill whales is that they share mental attributes more akin in the natural world to human beings than anything but the great apes.

The chauvanism is based towards a species' intelligence, an objective quantifiable property, not some subjective property like "loving" cockroaches.

I think the matter is one of discrimination, if you cannot see and base one's opinion on the difference in innate intelligence of the species you ought to expect to challenged for such bone-headed stupidity. What you have posted is just poorly composed contrarian bullshit. A twelve year old could have posted a more intelligent remark.
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 05:26 pm
No doubt someone who is so clever as to insult another has many proofs of the intelligence of whales. Perhaps you think intelligence is a stand alone quality, that it has nothing to do with the survivablility of a species ? Intelligence is the only criteria ?

I can understand you want to mate with whales, most fat humans thinking you are too ugly, but of what use is intelligence if you do not plan on using that intelligence for your own survival ?
Finn dAbuzz
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 06:15 pm
I don't subscribe to prohibition based strictly on endangered status. Some tiny snail living in Florida wetlands may be endangered, but I really couldn't care less, and would have no problem with snail-eaters hunting them into extinction.

I do subscribe, however, to the "exceptional creature" prohibition, and understand that there is a great deal of subjectivity in my assigning exceptional status to whales, which I would never kill or eat, but withholding it from cows, pigs, lambs, and deer that I would never kill but am happy to eat.

One criteria for the exceptional status might very well be level of species endangerment though. If elk or deer were endangered I doubt I would eat them, but they're not and so I enjoy their flesh.

I might be persuaded some day to kill a bird that I planned to eat and I have killed many fish which I then ate.

These are entirely personal differentiations that make perfect sense to me, although others may fairly easily argue their inconsistencies.

Not much of a moral argument here, but I do find the killers and/or eaters of whales and dolphins to be repugnant. Ditto those who kill and/or eat any species of ape. Easy to draw a conclusion that intelligence drives my definition of exceptional, but while it is a major element of my consideration, it is not the only element.

I am also repulsed by the killers and eaters of all predatory bird and mammal species, irrespective of their intelligence, and I can't imagine eating dogs.

Octopi, on the other hand are predators and probably a lot smarter than most hawks or eagles, but I don't particularly mind that some people kill and eat them.
It seems that there are only two objective and consistent standards for consideration:

1) Level of species endangerment
2) Life

#1 saves an endangered snail rather than an Atlantic Dolphin

#2 requires us all to live on animal or plant matter that can be harvested without killing the primary organism: Fruit, nuts, leaves, milk etc

I'm not OK with either and instead follow my own very personalized compass on the matter. I've set myself rules, in this regard, live by them, and sleep soundly at night.

I suspect I am Legion.
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 08:04 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
You have a well presented position, Finn. You show a depth of perception into why you like whales that is absent in most people. You have made as part of your argument that it is not logical and on this I agree.

Those who are green to the core argue man is some kind of unnatural influence on the planet whilst using their natural reactions to choose what should be saved. I object to emotional selection in any area of science, whether it is the Japanese arguing they are killing whales for science or the greenies getting run over and saying they werent at fault. Icelanders, Japanese, Eskimos and others have eaten whales for centuries, but the numbers of people were a lot less and they couldnt kill as many whales. Industrialisation is damaging many species of the sea, and save the fat ugly whale is counterproductive to an overall policy agreement. Tuna are in dwindling numbers, poisons such as heavy metals are increasing, the lungs of the world is plant life in the oceans (not rain forests), and every country wants to claim more of the oceans as resources decrease.

The intelligence of whales is well advertised by whale groupies but it is not clearly demonstrable. The variety of sounds means nothing. You should hear me sing if you like sheer quantity of sounds, and several on this forum have argued I am unintelligent. Caring for the young is a feature of being a mammal. Where is the intelligence ?

As an example of emotions having a runaway, the Panda is not endangered because of man. It is so fat, dumb and happy it does not care much for sex. Yet everyone thinks man is the problem and it must be saved. This is interfering with nature. Whales, on the other hand, were hunted without regard for the future.

Moby Dick is based on a true story and in the historical original, the whale shows signs of sympathy for other whales and the ability to recognise a threat. None of this is intelligence. If we want to continue to eat whales, they should be hunted sparingly. If we want to save them because they are intelligent, I would rather save a black child than a white whale.
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Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 10:10 pm
Whales are at the top of their particular food chains. From an ecological standpoint, we would be much better off if the top of the chain were cut off than the plankton and krill at the bottom.
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Dave Head
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 10:30 pm
@Robert Gentel,
The ICRW [The International Commission for the regulation of whaling] ended up being a failure because the quotas they set were exceeded by a few large whaling countries. Take humpbacks for example, Russia mis-reported its catches by a wide margin. It was estimated that just before the 'zero' quota' 'or Ban in one year half of the remaining population of southern HB's were killed. In other words we came very close to making them extinct. The IWC therefore banned commercial whaling. The most unfortuate thing that happened was Article VIII which allowed Governments to set qouta for research whaling. Suddenly Japan who had done very little research used this 'loophole' to continue commercial whaling. Even an IWC resolution condemning Japan has had no effect.

Japan's continued and expanded program of scientific whaling is inconsistent
with its obligations under the Law of the Sea Convention, the International
Convention for the Regulation of Whaling Convention, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and the
Convention on Biological Diversity. Japan's actions can be challenged by concerned states in the International Court of Justice or through the dispute resolution procedures of the Law of the Sea Convention and the conciliation procedures of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
All it needs now is a Government with the balls to take legal action.
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 10:54 pm
@Dave Head,
If Japan were to retaliate with trade stoppages, what would be the point of diminishing return ? If we anger them, we have no ability to influence them.

Elephants were hunted to near extinction in some places, and there are other places where they outgrew their wildlife preserve. Many people wanted to see far less elephants because of the damage they do to the environment which is amplified by being a reserve. The end result was a debate on how many elephants and where, and if selling ivory under control conditions would help end poaching.

Applying the elephant story to whales, should there be a legitimate trade in whale products ? Some people really dont want to give up eating them. Where should they be hunted ? What types should be hunted ?

Applying the whale story to the rest of the sea creatures, whales are not alone. Most commonly eaten fish are diminishing rapidly. The problem is one of human population, not what they eat. Elephants are pressured by farmers, whales are pressured by islanders, and some twits want to save the shark which can be quite safely extincted and not much else will be affected.

Division everywhere and still we get closer to running out of food. Whatever you may want to save, it will count for nothing if there are people starving and we have run out of resources. People will eat bark off a tree, so the big animals will certainly go.

The problem is not pollution, water resources, global warming, save the whale, save the shark....it is too many people.
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Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 11:43 am
ionus said

No doubt someone who is so clever as to insult another has many proofs of the intelligence of whales.

Of course, you ******* moron.

A simple google search "intelligence of whales" produces over a million citations.


Poor little Ionus, you are just skittish and overly sensitive when having truths pointed out to you. Sometimes a tactic used by someone who's just been corrected and shown they're wrong is to lash out and personally attack the bearer of informed tidings. This in some way helps diminish the embarrassment of their comeuppance. By verbally assualting the 'other' with childish emotions and petty accusations, they hope to deflect the truth of what just happened. But, alas, the truth remains afterward. So perhaps you should attempt to get the facts right to begin with and then these moments of factual correction wouldn't have to occur. And if you think I've come across as condescending, then that's the way you see it. It is entirely your choice to react that way. I'm merely explaining a point and in no way attempted to be condescending. If you perceived that I did, again your reaction is entirely on you, and I can't be held accountable for an emotional read of my words. Sorry, won't work. And projection doesn't either.

Thanks for reading.
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 12:28 pm
On a slightly related topic... a principal who dared to show children that meat comes from animals has been forced to resign after an ugly Internet campaign resulted in threats to her and the school.

A headteacher who became embroiled in an animal rights row after sending a lamb hand-reared by her pupils to slaughter has resigned.

Andrea Charman stepped down from Lydd Primary School " which she had steered out of special measures " for “personal reasons”, but it is understood that she was hounded out after an internet campaign that saw threats to her and to the school.


At the time of the row, Mrs Charman said: “Many children don’t realise animals they probably pass every week end up on their plate in one form or another. And one of our sheep is a neutered male. His purpose is meat. The children choose to send that sheep to market because they want more animals.”
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Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 05:06 pm
Of course, you ******* moron.
WOW !!! Your level of intelligence is impressive. Lets hope that whales are intelligent, someone has to make up for leftist whingeing dickheads like you. If you bothered to read that crap you posted, you would be able to see there is no evidence of intelligence. By the standards used, the bigger you are the more intelligent you are...no doubt you approve of this as proof that men are more intelligent then women.
I'm merely explaining a point
You ******* self serving moron. Do you bother to read that dribble you think is a witty retort ? There are no facts. Just your pathetic attempt to intimidate someone of a different opinion. Either that or you walk in the door and greet people with "Hello, you ******* morons..I am not condescending..you are projecting...I cant be held accountable for any filth that spews out of my mouth...you are reading emotion into my words...I am merely pointing out truths to you...I am not verbally assualting you with childish emotions and petty accusations, you just hope to deflect the truth of what just happened...you are all twelve year old's and if you disagree with me you are guilty of poorly composed contrarian bullshit and bone-headed stupidity...."

But let me guess..someone of your self proclaimed intelligence and righteousness cant even recognise their own words above... I will let others judge how intelligent your post is... Very Happy Very Happy
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 09:38 pm
Dude, you are in error, since you have presented no objective, rational opinion but the unctious prattle of a smartassed dipsomaniac . btw; while there is no intimidation on my part in pointing out your unsustainable position you simply are too lazy and set in your ways to learn. What is disappointing is that regardless of having the brain you clearly possess you spend your time trying to prove otherwise.

So, as the first poster on the thread you could have taken issue with a number of items with which you disagreed, based upon some sort of rationality, yet you posted silly bullshit that attempted to equate the largest, near-extant animal in the history of the planet with a ubiquitous pest that survives nuclear bombs.

Clearly you possess a sense of discrimination, towards size, quantity, intelligence. So equating roaches with whales was just another weary post of yours to project your self-important, tough minded cynicism on site and you consider such remarks not only capable of withstanding public scrutiny unscathed, but unassailable fonts of given Wisdom.

If you want to post childish things expect to be treated like a kid, and don't get your nose out of joint when someone points out that your post is typical for a not-remotely-smart person whose mental processes most closely resemble that of a meth-addled billie goat whose brain has rotted away from the effects of acute untreated tertiary syphilis caused by promiscuous chimp-*******.

If you work at it, you can be better than that goat.

Just saying.
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 01:14 am
What a lot of verbal diarhea. Do you think that based on the presumption that you are right there is no discussion to be entered into ?? Are you here to enlighten all of us with your holier than thou crap ?

I equate whales with cockroaches because they are both alive and as such they have survived equally since the first life. To say you like one therefore it is superior is no more than misplaced emotions. You want to treat a whale like a friend so it will improve your survival chances. Well, take your hand off it and realise whales have nothing to do with the survival of your genetics and any attempt at befriending a whale is just confusion on your part.

Are you mating with the doggy in your avatar ? Confusion like you have shown goes deep you know. Different species apart from humans are just that..different species.

In your previous two posts there are two sentences that are topic driven. The rest are an attempt to silence me...is this because you are scared of me ? You do know we only attack what we fear...dont you ?

Whales are fat dumb and ugly and perhaps that is the common link with you and them. As for "meth-addled billie goat whose brain has rotted away from the effects of acute untreated tertiary syphilis caused by promiscuous chimp-*******" ...be careful when you quote from your favourite porno, there may be copywrite issues to deal with...in the meantime leave your poor dog alone. It does not want to have sex with you, it probably tolerates you at best. It is a different species and you are a very confused person.
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 12:40 pm
Do you think that based on the presumption that you are right there is no discussion to be entered into ??

I equate whales with cockroaches because they are both alive and as such they have survived equally since the first life. To say you like one therefore it is superior is no more than misplaced emotions.

Typical response from an egotist when one is corrected on the facts. You equated nothing towards a cogent discussion on the topic. In such an absence of supportable facts to defend your position there is no discussion, just your idiot wind flapping on about canine or cetacean beastiality. All you attempted was to promote your image as some sort of tough minded Randian dandy.

You failed.

You just don't care to understand about the motivations that call for ending whale hunting. Or you dismiss them by equating whales to cockroaches. But it is a corollary of what Christians recognize as seeing the "Christ" in every human being. Cetaceans appear to human beings as sharing above other animals a sense of self and sentient conscienceness, the well-spring that poets refer to as the "human" soul. So it is unremarkable that once cetacean sentience is presumed to be present then connection with human sentience follows and so does a humane ethical code that is derived from recognition of sentience, albeit human or not.

You can argue with those who have determined that cetaceans are sentient, but just as my stance that abortions are morally wrong is well based upon Rawls "original position," I think that if errors in judgement are made that they ought to be on the side of a presumation of sentience.

On a fundamental level the question one needs to discuss is that if judgements made on human morality and ethics are based upon a recognition of human sentience or for you Randians "free-will," is it an elastic enough description to include non-human sentience?

If one believes that the soul is derived by sentience, and ethical and moral codes proscribe needless destruction of the vessel containing the soul, then any killing of a sentient being, human, cetacean, or kuvasz is proscribed.

From the above discussion one can see that having you wave off a ban on whale hunting because "whales are like roaches" is only ill-informed and ignorant.

I think that you are smart enough to do better.
High Seas
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 12:57 pm
Ionus wrote:
..Whales are fat dumb and ugly ...

Hold it right there - they need the extra fat to survive in freezing deep waters, and as far as "dumb", sorry but they're technically smarter than we are, as are dolphins. The criterion is pre-frontal lobes - theirs are proportionally much larger than ours. Please educate yourself before posting further on this topic.

Besides, you're supposed to have a solid grasp of aerodynamics, if not theoretically then at least via your flying experience - how can you even think of arguing with the breathtaking beauty of their design?!
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:51 pm
I cant imagine what you think you are presenting yourself as...some noble defender of whales, a true soldier in the fight for equality with animals...just how much do you care about humans ? Human beings are supposedly intelligent and look at the mess we have made. How many of these save the whale fools dedicate the same time, effort and money to saving people ? They dont because that would help others who would be in competition with their genetics. Far easier to say, "look at me, I am a nice person..I want to save whales..." you get the points for being lovely and other humans will think lovely thoughts of you but there is no disadvantage caused by helping competitors.

Dogs have been bred from wolves to reflect what some twisted minds think of as either sexy or baby-ish. This control over the genetics of another species is due to disatisfaction with your own progeny and the genetics they inherited from you. We now have an entire culture of people who dont want to breed, they have dogs but one day they will have children..please God, NO! These people have the sort of intelligence best left in the good ideas gone wrong pile. How many of these clowns own dogs for their working ability ? How many own some fluffy retard of an animal that they think is intelligent because it worships them, whereas if they had children those children would be independant one day ? A fluffy retarded dog is a child's replacement. A large fearsome dog is to help someone forget their inadequacies. A working dog is an asset to one's survival.

Applying this to whales, they are not superior to cockroaches. Both have survived, one by simplicity of design and the other (a dog like creature) by moving into the water (for reasons not fully known) and then by moving into cold water to escape predators. I do not FEEL one is superior to another, I know they have both survived to the present day and as such their strategies are equal. To say one is superior to another is to colour them with our emotions.

Clearly you can not read all my posts on this thread, you have some sort of emotional blockage. I have not said hunting whales is a good thing, I have said that if we are to save whales we need a better plan then having a pack of over educated hippies ramming vessels in the Antartic and blaming the other side. A comprehensive plan to save the oceans is far more desirable, and I would happily sacrifice whales if it meant saving entire oceans.

One can see from your simplistic view of the world that all we need to do is force people because you are right and they are wrong. Then we can all run off to the next item that makes us feel so important and alive. Humans were meant for very troubled times, and the luxury of our considerable ability to survive has left us without meaning to our lives. Save the Whales gives meaning to pathetic people who have not lived.

you wave off a ban on whale hunting
You wouldnt make unsupportable claims because you are a lazy arguer, would you ? Show me where I said that. What I have said I will repeat to cater for your inability to read and understand anything that is not your opinion. The emotional attitude of save the whales is focusing on one group when entire oceans are at risk. It is illogical and does not justify killing human beings to do it. Instead of buying expensive vessels and sinking them by running into family men trying to earn a living, perhaps they would be better off spending the money to re-eduacte the eater of whales. If force escalates, what are we prepared to do to save whales ?

Typical response from an egotist when one is corrected on the facts.
An interesting choice of words. Only you know the facts and if I have a different opinion I am an egotist ? Does that make sense in your nazi circle of the like minded ? Do any of them ever suggest an alternate ?

Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 06:04 pm
@High Seas,
Whales are fat dumb and ugly.

You admit they are fat and choose the woman's defence of "it is not their fault..its glandular..". I use the word fat to help people realise how silly it is to apply human standards to an animal.

Ugly is an emotional response. I know you agree with an emotional response, you simply disagree with my emotional response. Basing ugly on the opposite of what I want to mate with, they are ugly.

As for dumb, they can not talk. Their noises are to locate food and other whales. This is the equivalent of insects or birds communicating. No better, no worse.

Proofs of their intelligence is provided by hippies with water wings and people who want more money for research. Even if there is conclusive proof of their intelligence, and there isnt, I prefer to save many species rather than one, to save humans rather than animals, and to carry out the previous by the use of science rather than feelings.
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Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 06:15 pm
People hated mice and rats. They were filthy diseased creatures that should be exterminated. Along came Disney and people like mice because of Mickey and Minnie...they are just lovely, really !

Whale tours are doing a Disney. See how big they are ? Size matters....And they can swim..that is impressive..you can take photos of them. Meanwhile microscopic life in the oceans is taking a drumming but you cant take happy snaps with a microbe...not sexy enough anyway. What happens to whales if the ecology of the entire ocean is vandalised ?
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