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A not so Whale of a Time
July 6, 2006 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Whale shot in front of tourists. What would you do if you were a tourist, eco or not, and you saw a whale being harvested right in front of you?
posted by pezdacanuck (99 comments total)

 
Post about it on MetaFilter.
posted by keswick at 10:53 AM on July 6, 2006


Cue Elton John to begin singing "The Circle of Life".
posted by Keith Talent at 10:53 AM on July 6, 2006


I'd probably stop pretending that the ocean isn't a slaughterhouse.
posted by jon_kill at 10:55 AM on July 6, 2006


And I've been whale watching, those people should consider themselves fortunate that thay actually got so see something other than some water sprayed into the air and some ripples in the sea, maybe the saw a hint of tail, if they were really lucky. Whale watching is the single most boring thing ever.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:56 AM on July 6, 2006


I expect there's not much that one could do, especially if whaling is legal in that country. I guess you could take a page from Greenpeace and try to cut the harpoon ropes or whatever, but I'm not too troubled by regulated and monitored whaling by a couple of countries (Japan, I suppose, being the other one).

Frankly, I'm not too surprised it happened. The whalers and the whale-watchers both have to go where the whales are; something like this seems inevitable.
posted by jedicus at 10:57 AM on July 6, 2006


I think this is pretty funny.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:58 AM on July 6, 2006


Probably nothing; they're the ones with weapons. Are the whales endangered or something? The article just said it was "controversial.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:59 AM on July 6, 2006


I'd hope a sushi chef jumps out of nowhere and starts cutting pieces of kickass, fatty sashimi for everybody?
posted by matteo at 11:00 AM on July 6, 2006


I'd definitely ask for a wing. Or if not a wing, any white meat.
posted by docpops at 11:00 AM on July 6, 2006


Slate's Explainer: How Do You Kill a Whale? [mp3 link]
posted by yeti at 11:05 AM on July 6, 2006


Shocking and hilarious.
posted by puke & cry at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm having a good laugh imagining what the look on the whale-watchers' face must have been like when this happened...
posted by clevershark at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2006


I would decloak my Klingon Bird of Prey directly over the whaling ship, then beam the whales up into a specially prepared tank so I could bring them back to the 23rd Century to communicate with an alien probe and repopulate the species.
posted by brownpau at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


"We can't prevent them from being against the hunt, and they can't prevent us from hunting."

And when we can't forcibly prevent ourselves from doing or being something, then we will certainly never be able to rise above it. Obviously, we need more free use of force.
posted by nervousfritz at 11:10 AM on July 6, 2006


The whalers sort of threw down a challenge: "they can't prevent us from hunting." Earth First or some others might take the challenge and sink this vessel.
posted by caddis at 11:11 AM on July 6, 2006


I'd sit back and soak in the culture. I'd be sad, but I'd also be an idiot if I looked away.
posted by apiaryist at 11:13 AM on July 6, 2006


brownpau wins.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:14 AM on July 6, 2006


Kristiansen claimed that he and the other whalers "don't have anything against the whale safari boats... but it's important to get across that it's the extreme opponents of whaling that travel out to see whales."

Uhhh, really? I didn't know that was a prerequisite. Do they make you fill out a form? Or does the skipper just ask you if you would like to sit in the whaling or non-whaling section?
posted by MrZero at 11:15 AM on July 6, 2006


How sad for everyone involved, especially the whales.

thirteenkiller, I think you and I have a very different idea of funny.
posted by fenriq at 11:17 AM on July 6, 2006


Turn on the grill. And then shoot some tourists. Hey, vacation is supposed to be an adventure.
posted by jonmc at 11:17 AM on July 6, 2006


&ltKeanu>You're sitting in a boat, suddenly you see someone fishing! What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!?!</Keanu>
posted by blue_beetle at 11:19 AM on July 6, 2006


And then shoot Sting after he writes a song about it with proceeds going to charity.
posted by jonmc at 11:19 AM on July 6, 2006


i'd try not to blubber about it ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:22 AM on July 6, 2006


I'm opposed to whale hunting, but, then, I am also a big fan of scrimshaw, so I'm conflicted.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:23 AM on July 6, 2006


I'd call Ishmael.
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:26 AM on July 6, 2006


My late paternal grandfather ran a marine supply shop down by Fulton Fish Market that also sold nautical type knick-knacks, includeing some cool scrimshaw pieces that my parents still have.
posted by jonmc at 11:26 AM on July 6, 2006


Bugger, matteo beat me to the sushi.
posted by jack_mo at 11:29 AM on July 6, 2006


While slaughtering isn't exactly a nice show and whalers aren't exactly image conscious people , one wonders what _forces_ these people to hunt an highly endangered species, as opposed to species we breed en-masse for our consumption.

Some would argue "because whale tastes good" or "I like, so what?" to which I would reply "bombing whaler's boats is loads of superfun" ..it is almost the same level of stupidity. Why can't just leave the whales alone and study them to understand their complex communication system ?

Maybe one shouldn't target the industry, rather one should target the consumer of whale products. Similarly women using the fur of animals to express the fact they found an idiot who bought them one could as well wear some expensive ring, or face accusations like "you really need an animal fur, cause your own fur isn't attracting anybody" or similar bitchslaps.
posted by elpapacito at 11:29 AM on July 6, 2006


yeah, el papacito, you do that and see whether you enlighten anyone or merely get beat up.
posted by jonmc at 11:31 AM on July 6, 2006


jonmc: eh :) some people have fun hunting harmless whales, others has fun bitchhunting :D !
posted by elpapacito at 11:32 AM on July 6, 2006


Try to get my money back for the whalewatching tour.

I'd actually be pretty amused - I suspect I'd find it fascinating but gross - and need to know more before getting offended. But those whatewatching trips are expensive and I'd totally feign an attack of over-sensitivity to try and get a refund.
posted by freebird at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2006


I'm opposed to whale hunting, but, then, I am also a big fan of scrimshaw, so I'm conflicted.

Astro Zombie, these days, you can always use Tagua Nuts -- for the discriminating vegetarian scrimshander.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


brownpau, that was very funny.
posted by bardic at 11:42 AM on July 6, 2006


What, no YouTube link?
posted by NationalKato at 11:47 AM on July 6, 2006


Earth First or some others might take the challenge and sink this vessel.

Because, as we all know, might makes right.

_forces_ these people to hunt an highly endangered species, as opposed to species we breed en-masse for our consumption.

Everyone I know burns gas, not biodeisel.

Also I seriously doubt even if we bred whales en masse there would still be an outcry against eating or farming them. Its very much cultural.
posted by skallas at 11:53 AM on July 6, 2006


if we bred whales en masse

that would require one big fuckin' corral.
posted by jonmc at 11:54 AM on July 6, 2006


The site the article comes from is sponsored by seafoodfromnorway.com...
posted by tetsuo at 11:54 AM on July 6, 2006


What would you do...?

Flagged as ChatFilter.
posted by Zozo at 11:57 AM on July 6, 2006


Oh, No! Pixels are being wasted!
posted by jonmc at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2006


What kind of whale was it? (The article didn't say.)
posted by diftb at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2006



Unless I am a vegan and wearning hemp shoes, I would probably keep my mouth shut.
posted by fluffycreature at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2006


Similarly women using the fur of animals to express the fact they found an idiot who bought them one

Maybe someday in the distant future women will be able to earn their own income and own their own things.

(Dude, what the fuck? Projecting much?)
posted by mendel at 12:04 PM on July 6, 2006


"What kind of whale was it? (The article didn't say.)"

Well, it was a live one, and now it's a dead one.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:15 PM on July 6, 2006


elpapacito writes "...one wonders what _forces_ these people to hunt an highly endangered species, as opposed to species we breed en-masse for our consumption."

diftb writes "What kind of whale was it? (The article didn't say.)"

Most likely a minke whale, which while considered endangered, certainly is not highly endangered (it's classified as lower risk/near threatened). Minkes are subject to harvesting quotas, which Norway observes.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:16 PM on July 6, 2006


these days, you can always use Tagua Nuts -- for the discriminating vegetarian scrimshander.

Imagine how the Tagua feel about that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:20 PM on July 6, 2006


women using the fur of animals to express the fact they found an idiot who bought them one

Gosh....I wouldn't have spent all that time traipsing round the forest, ruining my purty makeup, just to beat this here mink to death if'n I knew my man was going to present one to me....


On preview, what Mendel said...
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:20 PM on July 6, 2006


What kind of whale was it?

This kind.
posted by jonmc at 12:20 PM on July 6, 2006


Not quite the outpouring of emotion I expected... lol

However, I would like think that most of you, irrespective of the slax commentary, would find it a bit horrific. I would.
posted by pezdacanuck at 12:27 PM on July 6, 2006


However, I would like think that most of you, irrespective of the slax commentary, would find it a bit horrific. I would.

Why? Are you a vegetarian? Do you expect most of us to be?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:43 PM on July 6, 2006


"What would you do if you were a tourist, eco or not, and you saw a whale being harvested right in front of you?"

Honestly, I'd probably vomit.
posted by BeerGrin at 12:48 PM on July 6, 2006


What kind of $$ are whalers making these days? What is the market for whale?

I call no fair on exploding head harpoons fired from canon tool. They should have to do it old school. Get out there in a dinghy and throw the damn harpoon you pussies!
posted by a3matrix at 12:49 PM on July 6, 2006


Why? Are you a vegetarian?

Whuh? I'm not a vegetarian, but I find a lot of whaling pretty horrific. Yes, yes: cultural sensitivity, limited and scientific, circle of life, ok. But come on. Hunting beautiful mammals with giant brains nearly to extinction is a bit horrific. Those sentiments may not apply to this case, as I mentioned above, but one certainly needn't be a vegetarian to have a gut reaction against whaling.

OTOH, one needn't like whaling to find the image of a whaling ship sailing up and ganking a whale RIGHT IN FRONT of a boat full of whale-lovers pretty amusing.
posted by freebird at 12:50 PM on July 6, 2006


Kristiansen claimed that he and the other whalers "don't have anything against the whale safari boats

Big of him.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:01 PM on July 6, 2006


You guys are some cold mofos, (but funny).

Actually, while I'd probably be revulsed, I'd also feel pretty sure that the whaler is following a carefully proscribed quota. When I was in Norway, I found the people to have a deeply respectful and healthy attitude towards nature, somewhat like American indians before pale-man-that-bring-firewater moved in. Whale meat is an important cultural commodity that's part of the Norwegian national identity.
posted by Skygazer at 1:03 PM on July 6, 2006


pezdacanuck writes "However, I would like think that most of you, irrespective of the slax commentary, would find it a bit horrific."

No more horrific than walking by the butcher's counter at my local grocery store, or by a store that sells leather jackets... it's not exactly like they have chickenbreast or leather trees providing us with the stuff, is it.
posted by clevershark at 1:09 PM on July 6, 2006


As much as I'm fascinated be cetaceans, I don't have much sympathy for the shocked tourists. This situation emphasizes tourist ignorance more than any irresponsibility on the part of the whalers or the tour guides. If the tourists had educated themselves about the country they were touring and its customs they'd have known this was a possibility.

Next week's headline: "Calf Slaughtered in Front of Hindu Tourists at Free Range Veal Ranch."
posted by elderling at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2006


Might makes right is a nice comment regarding Earth First sinking a whaling vessel, but no one comments on the might makes right of a team of humans, armed with spearguns, shooting a whale trying to breathe.

Sickening.
posted by Dantien at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Homer: Hey, you got to hand it to those dolphins. They just wanted it more.

Lisa: I kind of wish I hadn't freed their leader and, you know, doomed mankind.

Marge: Oh, honey, I wouldn't say "doomed." It's going to be an adjustment, no question.
posted by blucevalo at 1:30 PM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Much, much later: jonmc, this was a joke.
posted by Zozo at 1:35 PM on July 6, 2006


but no one comments on the might makes right of a team of humans, armed with spearguns, shooting a whale trying to breathe.


Well then. Norway is an autonomous free nation with its own culture and government. Whaling is legal there and is regulated. Shocked tourists, thankfully, do not fly in on their discounted air fare and suddenly change everything because they've led a shletered and naive life.
posted by skallas at 1:37 PM on July 6, 2006


sorry, dude, round here ya never know
posted by jonmc at 1:37 PM on July 6, 2006


Depending on your culture, it's all protein, whether on legs or fins. What's the difference between a cricket, a pig, a dog, a cow, a horse, a dolphin, a hippo and a whale? That's really the issue here. Some people are offended because the cetaceans have bigger brains and a highly complex communication system, but the bottom line is to a meat-eater, it's all meat.

[I say this as someone who used to eat everything, now a demi-vegetarian.]
posted by exlotuseater at 1:43 PM on July 6, 2006


Might makes right is a nice comment regarding Earth First sinking a whaling vessel, but no one comments on the might makes right of a team of humans, armed with spearguns, shooting a whale trying to breathe.

Sickening.
posted by Dantien at 4:18 PM EST on July 6 [+fave] [!]


You know, those of you who aren't against killing cows, goats, etc. but think it's sickening for whales to be hunted are disgustingly letting your prejudices ahead of your reason. The only non-sentimental factor you've brought up so far is declining population, which isn't a problem if this hunt is within quotas.

Just because an animal is charismatic doesn't make it more special than others.
posted by Firas at 1:43 PM on July 6, 2006


OTOH, one needn't like whaling to find the image of a whaling ship sailing up and ganking a whale RIGHT IN FRONT of a boat full of whale-lovers pretty amusing.

Totally. In fact dare I say that I found this funny (just conceptually perhaps, pezda - the reality would probably be rather shocking) whereas that Richard Simmons thing, not*.


I think someone could expound at length on why this idea is amusing, drawing on the legacy of Lenny Bruce and Tom Green, but it ain't gonna be me. Well maybe just, it's funny in the same way that this is funny . It rests on he shared assumption that we're all good kind people, who love animals and children.

* ok, apart from a bit of a chuckle when he did the jetski
posted by Flashman at 1:44 PM on July 6, 2006


"Ooh! Pretty eyes. I still wanna eat you."
posted by exlotuseater at 1:44 PM on July 6, 2006



Bunch of lefty, hippie, hug-a-tree, metafilter types are all crying over one poor whale and...oh, wait...sorry, blanketstatementrightyfilter got in my way there.
(some pretty funny comments)
I don’t know what I’d DO. I don’t particularly favor harvesting whales, but I’m not that hooked into opposing it. I suppose being landlocked in Illinois and Norway not being my country has a lot to do with that.

“when they gunned down a whale before the eyes of tourists”

What’d they have, a snub nose .38? Did they shoot the whale while he was buying oranges like Don Corleone?

“We can't prevent them from being against the hunt, and they can't prevent us from hunting."

‘Bout sums it up. I swear by my tattoo.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:47 PM on July 6, 2006


Firas writes "Just because an animal is charismatic doesn't make it more special than others."


Damn right. Would you please leave your liver in the fridge ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:07 PM on July 6, 2006


Where is the evidence that these massive filterfeeders possesing a brain to body weight ratio lower than a cow on average is somehow a highly intelligent creature deserving of more ethical consideration than we give livestock or wild dogs?

I'm not talking about dolphins, I acknowledge that some cetaceans are perhaps as intelligent as any ape save humans. I mean whales of the kind that were hunted here.

If I am to be convinced that these whales deserve more ethical consideration than the stray pets put down at your local SPCA, I want to know why. Where is the evolutionary drive for intelligence? They're basically marine ruminants, herd grazers. Where is the evidence for complex thought processes? Why are their brains less developed than most mammals? I have yet to see convincing reasons why all cetaceans, rather than a select few, are sentient enough to deserve protection greater than we afford unwanted pets or livestock.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:12 PM on July 6, 2006


Let's all just hope Jimi was wrong:

Although your world wonders me,
With your majestic and superior cackling hen
Your people I do not understand,
So to you I shall put an end
And you'll
Never hear
Surf music again

posted by NationalKato at 2:23 PM on July 6, 2006


You know, those of you who aren't against killing cows, goats, etc. but think it's sickening for whales to be hunted are disgustingly letting your prejudices ahead of your reason.

"You know, those of you who aren't against chicken farms and slaughterhouses but think cruelty to dogs and cats is sickening are disgustingly letting your prejudices ahead of your reason."

Works all sorts of ways, some extremely ridiculous.

"You know, those of you who aren't out sweeping the sidewalk in front of you to save gnats' lives, but think it's sickening to eat animal products are disgustingly letting your prejudices ahead of your reason."

Just because an animal is charismatic doesn't make it more special than others.

That would be completely wrong. See humans.

We can't prevent them from being against the hunt, and they can't prevent us from hunting.

Asinine. Consider:

"We can't prevent them from being against LSD, and they can't prevent us from taking it."

It's hard to criminalize belief. Quite easy to do it with behavior.

I'm with freebird. I'd just ask for a refund.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:38 PM on July 6, 2006


This same kind of thing happend off the coast of Mexico a few years ago (but was illegal). There was a group of tourists following 1 specific sea creature (I can't remember what it was!! whale, manta, dolphin, killer whale, something) only to see a ship come up and kill the animal which they had befriended. It was shocking video.
posted by tomplus2 at 2:53 PM on July 6, 2006


Some people are offended because the cetaceans have bigger brains and a highly complex communication system, but the bottom line is to a meat-eater, it's all meat.

too true
posted by dreamsign at 3:12 PM on July 6, 2006


but no one comments on the might makes right of a team of humans, armed with spearguns, shooting a whale trying to breathe.

You sure he wasn't trying to take a shit?
posted by c13 at 3:16 PM on July 6, 2006


Well, though I'm a die hard meat eater, I was repulsed when I visited an abatoir a few years ago. Didn't stop me from eating meat, nor making the odd joke, but it did leave me with a bitter taste (pun completely intended). I've also hunted deer and duck as a kid, and to be honest the experience, though not earth shattering, taught me more about living than I could have imagined otherwise. I'm also ex-military, so it's not as if I'm squeemish (sp?).

But really, when you think about the circumstances, it's not everyday you see an animal, any animal, killed in front of you. Unless you're a trapper or hunter, of course.

Those tourists would have been shocked. I would count myself in given the circumstances.

I don't give a balooga otherwise :o)
posted by pezdacanuck at 3:24 PM on July 6, 2006


Hunting or killing for sport or food, or asking others to do so for us, causes horrendous, unneeded suffering.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:49 PM on July 6, 2006


pezdacanuck I'm like you. I used to hunt. Can't anymore. Not even for birds. Depresses the shit out of me for all sorts of reasons.

Not the least of which is the lack of necessity of killing and the dickheads who seem to revel in only that part of the experience.

I eat meat. I prefer that we humans eat those things we have raised and engineered as food and leave the wild ones be. Leave something wild in this world.

I do recognize the fact (and the irony) that if it were not for hunters we would likely have no wilderness left in this country.

Hell. I just got back from salmon fishing in Alaska (on the Nushagak) for a week and I got progressively more resistant to clubbing and bleeding out my catch and made excuses to release. Every thing was a "jack." (By the way the Kings were way late this year and the Alaskans are mumbling "global warming" of all things.)

It would break my heart to see an animal like a whale killed. They are beautiful animals.

God damned I have grown soft.
posted by tkchrist at 3:54 PM on July 6, 2006


exlotuseater writes "'Ooh! Pretty eyes. I still wanna eat you.'"

Try telling that to your gf !
posted by elpapacito at 4:07 PM on July 6, 2006


"Hunting or killing for sport or food ... causes horrendous, unneeded suffering."

What about killing just for fun?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:11 PM on July 6, 2006


Killing for fun is Pure. There are no false pretences, no hypocisy, no self righteousness. You know who really loves animals? The people who hunt them down but don't release *or* eat them. Just strap em on the top of the car and drive around while they rot.
posted by freebird at 4:22 PM on July 6, 2006


mrgrimm writes "You know, those of you who aren't against chicken farms and slaughterhouses but think cruelty to dogs and cats is sickening are disgustingly letting your prejudices ahead of your reason."

Firas says "If you think killing animal A is ok but killing animal B isn't, then you're letting your prejudices ahead of your reason". You say "If you think killing animal A is ok but being cruel to animal B isn't, then you are letting your prejudices ahead of your reason".

Apparently, instead of making a valid analogy, you're putting words in Firas's mouth. It is as if you were, for example, putting your prejudices ahead of your reason.

Regardless, if you want to switch that to "You know, those of you who aren't against chicken farms and slaughterhouses but think harvesting dogs and cats for food is disgustingly are disgustingly letting your prejudices ahead of your reason", then, yes, I'll totally agree with you: people eating chickens and cows but getting all upset about eating dogs are putting their prejudices ahead of their reason. Besides, dog tastes pretty good if cooked right.
posted by Bugbread at 5:25 PM on July 6, 2006


What's the difference between a cricket, a pig, a dog, a cow, a horse, a dolphin, a hippo and a whale?

Whether their numbers have recently plummeted by 95% in some countries or not.
posted by salvia at 5:49 PM on July 6, 2006


Navy: Sonar vs. Whales
posted by homunculus at 6:04 PM on July 6, 2006


I don't get this all-or-nothing argument. Chickens reproduce quickly, are not endangered, and have little intelligence and rudimentary communication. Whales reproduce slowly, many species are endangered or nearly endangered, and they exhibit complex behaviors that hint at a higher intelligence than that of a chicken. But of course if we kill them all off, then we won't have the chance to learn much more than the pitiful amount we know now.

They are awe-inspiring, beautiful animals. Seeing one killed is shocking and sad, because of the fear that one day, there won't be any more of them, no matter what Norway or other whaling nations say. I don't see recognition of that as "sentimental" unless you suggest that anyone who loves a dog must also love its fleas. I don't know of many people capable of that sort of purity. It's true that we are drawn to animals we see as more beautiful and more like ourselves, but without that impulse, how many species would already be extinct?
posted by emjaybee at 7:33 PM on July 6, 2006


If we killed sheep with hand grenades, I wouldn't eat sheep. If there were only a few thousand cows in the world, I wouldn't eat beef.

If there were only a few thousand pigs left in the world, and people tried to kill some with hand grenades in front of me, I'd be really incredibly angry, and try to stop them. (But they'd be the ones with the hand grenades.)

Wow, I'm waaaay out on the fringe here, I can see.
posted by The Monkey at 7:47 PM on July 6, 2006


Hunting or killing for sport or food, or asking others to do so for us, causes horrendous, unneeded suffering.

life causes horrendous, unneeded suffering ... you could look it up
posted by pyramid termite at 8:42 PM on July 6, 2006


I don't find the killing of this whale amusing in any way, but not because it's a beautiful or endangered creature.

I hear that a wildly popular hillbilly sport these days is putting a pig in a ring and then cheering as a pack of incensed dogs tear the poor thing to pieces. I don't find that amusing either, nor do I see the sport in drop-kicking chickens around the slaughter house after slashing their throats.
posted by chance at 9:21 PM on July 6, 2006


If I was the charters of the tourist boat, I'd sue the hunters for endangerment. Firing off a weapon near a bunch of unsuspecting people is totally unacceptable, as is provoking a herd of huge, wild animals near people who aren't involved with the hunt. I'd be surprised if this wasn't a contravention of some sort of international maritime law, and if it isn't, it should be.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:53 PM on July 6, 2006


Meanwhile, Japan and other whaling countries continue to push for a pro-whaling majority on the International Whaling Commission, which has voted to retain bans on commercial whaling.

Those Norwegian whalers represent a small fraction of what the industry would be if it resumed. Right now, each country is limited to a small scientific catch.
posted by dhartung at 10:26 PM on July 6, 2006


If I was the charters of the tourist boat, I'd sue the hunters for endangerment.

Tortious interference (damn, Wikipedia impresses me more and more every day) would be a better claim. I seriously doubt the tourists were in any danger. The tour operator's business however? Look at the elements. Often, establishing intent becomes the crux of the case. It seems obvious that the whalers took some joy in the fact that they killed this whale in front of "the extreme opponents of whaling that travel out to see whales." Establishing that would be the trick. He probably bragged about this little exploit in the bar later that evening or when the story came out. Find the witnesses.

The whole whaling thing itself doesn't seem controversial to me. There are established quotas to balance the ability of the whales to survive as a species against the tradition of whaling. This whaler though is clearly an asshat seeking to stick it to the people who oppose him. His characterization of the tourists is pretty off in my experience; they are more like zoo visitors with a mild affinity for the creatures rather than some rabid eco-terrorists. As an owner of an established business I don't think he really wants to piss off that sort. Regardless, this is more about some guy being an asshat than anything else. If he doesn't make a habit out of this, who really cares? If he does, then he needs to be taken down a notch, preferably by the tour operator suing him and taking his boat rather than someone putting it on the bottom of the ocean.
posted by caddis at 11:19 PM on July 6, 2006


Where is the evidence that these massive filterfeeders...is somehow a highly intelligent creature deserving of more ethical consideration than we give livestock or wild dogs?

Some stuff here. Orcas, for example, have distinct language dialects and special greeting rituals, and more.

Though is that "more deserving?" I don't know. They found oxytocin and vasopressin ("falling in love" chemicals) in prairie voles, which also pair-bond for life.
posted by salvia at 12:44 AM on July 7, 2006


Just because an animal is charismatic doesn't make it more special than others.

*shoots Firas dead*

Oh come on, he wasn't that special. Look at his high user number; plenty more where that came from!
posted by zarah at 12:51 AM on July 7, 2006


whales are the cows of the ocean.. only a bit harder to milk.
posted by canned polar bear at 4:04 AM on July 7, 2006


"They found oxytocin and vasopressin ("falling in love" chemicals) in prairie voles"

I read that as "They found oxycontin" and instantly tried to think of a Rush Limbaugh/prairie vole joke.

I found to my dismay that there isn't one.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:26 AM on July 7, 2006


I just went on a whale watch, its was very cool.

The whales were blowing bubbles and using sound to "herd" fish into the bubble then they would both surface with there mouths wide open and gulp it all down. The birds were trying to steal fish out of the open mouths. It was amazing.

Do we really need to shoot these things? Our lanterns will not run out of oil, and our makeup is mostly synthetic now.
posted by stilgar at 10:00 AM on July 7, 2006


Just because an animal is charismatic doesn't make it more special than others.

I think a good case can be made that it does.

Being charismatic means being more human-like, and killing something human-like is proportionately more disturbing than killing something alien.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:25 AM on July 7, 2006


Disturbing, yes. But what’s preventing the folks in Norway from passing laws to stop it? Whale hunting certainly seems unnecessary, but I’m not that well informed on it. I find it distasteful, but maybe there are some good reasons it’s going on. Maybe not. Whatever the case, nothing is going to be solved by tourists wringing their hands. They don’t like it? Complain to the Bureau of tourism. Maybe whale tourist dollars are worth more than the proceeds from whale hunting. And one doesn’t even have to live there, pressure can be brought to bear internationally. Boycott whale-derived products, etc. etc.
I agree with the folks who are deriding the squeamish. There is plenty of blood and pain and useless suffering to fight the world around. As personal motivation, that’s fine. But the foundation of one’s argument is that it causes suffering - that argument is going to cut no ice with the guys making cash from it.
People used to send children into mines to work to death, think the pain of a whale is going to mean anything to them? Find a concrete way to bring pressure to bear on them to stop and it will stop.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:20 AM on July 7, 2006


Orcas, for example, have distinct language dialects and special greeting rituals, and more.

And Humpbacks have good manners.
posted by homunculus at 12:05 PM on July 7, 2006


Awesome link, homunculus. :)
posted by salvia at 3:13 PM on July 7, 2006


Thrilled.

That must be an even RARER experience.
posted by HTuttle at 7:24 PM on July 7, 2006


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