Thursday, January 17, 2008

Japanese Poaching Humpbacks

No, I'm not exaggerating. I found this article on CNN today. The Japanese have cranked up their whaling rigs and headed off into the south pacific to slaughter about 1000 whales, specifically Humpbacks, Minkes, and Fin whales. Yes, in case you're wondering, they are all nearing extinction, Fins especially.

I don't normally find myself siding with people who invite themselves onto strange boats like the two men in the article, Giles Lane and Benjamin Potts, but in this case I do.

Over the years we've learned that whales are intelligent, prectically to the point of sapience. They have complex and extensive languages in the form of aural patterns. They have complex social structures. They're majestic and beautiful, and humongous, and... and they're almost extinct! What kind of person knows all this, and still thinks it's OK to hunt them for food!? Whales enrich our lives by being the benevolent lords of the oceans, playful with humans, and awe inspiring to behold, not by being some gamey seafood that the older generations apparently have to force on younger generations who don't have a taste for it anyway (warning on that link... the picture's pretty disgusting).

The article notes that the whaling is sponsored in part by Institute of Cetacean Research. I looked up this "institute" on Google to see what kind of scientists would require slaughtering endangered species. Here's what I found... see for yourself.

It's the most ridiculous excuse for a "research" organization I've ever seen. They allege they need to kill wales to better manage the planet's whale stock. Uh huh. Have a look at these photos. As you can see, they need to kill them so they can cut open their stomachs to see what they're eating.

Wow, what a surprise! They found fish and krill in the whale stomachs! Who would've guessed? I would've because it's impossible to live on this planet for 31 years and not know that whales eat fish and krill. In fact, I've seen the whales actually eating fish and krill because I watch TV, and there's specials all the time on Science and Discovery showing whales feeding. No need to kill them and cut their stomachs open! We have divers with cameras!

This is directly from their FAQ:

Q: Why do you need to kill whales to do research? Can't you do the research by non-lethal means?

A: Japan's research programs involve both lethal and non-lethal research techniques such as sighting surveys and biopsy sampling. While certain information can be obtained through non-lethal means, other information requires sampling of internal organs such as ovaries, ear plugs and stomachs. For example, while the population age structure and reproductive rates of land mammals can be determined by observation over a long period of time, such is not the case for whales since they spend most of their time underwater. In this case we need ear plugs for age determination and ovaries to establish reproductive rates. Similarly, to study the interactions of whales and other parts of the marine ecosystem we need to know what they are eating. This is done by examining stomach contents.

Another example is that for pollution studies, tissue samples from various internal organs are required.

Wow, someone needs to tell Japan about tracking devices, underwater photography, and maybe the concept of catch and release. They put on like they're modern and technologically savvy, but I think they are not as advanced as they would like us to believe.

From what I've been reading, Iceland and Norway are just as bad as Japan when it comes to whales. What a bunch of assholes.

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