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Faroese Whaling Controversy

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Arctic Daishi, May 27, 2013.

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Should Faroese whaling remain legal?

  1. Faroese whaling should remain legal.

    36.4%
  2. Faroese whaling should be banned.

    45.5%
  3. Undecided.

    18.2%
  1. Arctic Daishi Gems: 6/31
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    The fishing of long-finned pilot whales has been an established part of Faroese culture for over a thousand years. The practice is in line with both Faroese and international law, yet some groups (such as PETA) have criticized the Faroese tradition. Below I have outlined a few of the main arguments for and against allowing whaling to be continued in the Faroe Islands. What do you think, should whaling be banned in the Faroe Islands?


    Arguments For Whaling
    • The vast majority of the Faroese people support keeping whaling legal.
    • Faroese whaling is purely non-commercial, instead being used as a source for food and cultural tradition.
    • Faroese whaling only accounts for about 0.1% of the long-finned pilot whale population.
    • Whaling has been part of Faroese culture for over a thousand years and is an important cultural practice.
    • The whaling is perfectly legal under both Faroese and international law.
    • Legal whaling is regulated by the Faroese government. Banning whaling will cause the practice to go underground, without regard for regulations.
    • The Faroe Islands lack sufficient agricultural development to be self-sustaining without whaling.
    • Whale drives are generally very short and cause the whales little or no suffering.
    • Causing animals unnecessary suffering is against Faroese law, ensuring the whales are killed humanely.


    Arguments Against Whaling
    • Whaling may eventually cause long-finned pilot whales to become endangered.
    • The Faroe Islands currently import most of their food, making the whale drives "no longer necessary."
    • Occasionally whale drives go on longer than normal, resulting in the whales "being scared" for long periods of time.
    • Human consumption of long-finned pilot whales may be unhealthy, due to mercury levels in the whale meat and blubber.
     
  2. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This was one of the topics which I thought would be overwhelmingly one-sided. I believe this is just a case of a (now known to be) flawed, odd tradition trying to survive in a modern era (every surviving older nation right now would just be going "been there, dealt with it/made compromises, survived").

    The mercury content of the whale flesh (which should be the controversial thing here imo) should be reason enough for the Faroese to stop killing the whales, or at least stop wastefully killing hundreds of them (and lining their shores with rotting, inedible whale meat). Now if they decide to keep eating the whale meat anyway, then we'd have something really interesting to argue about.
     
  3. Silvery

    Silvery I won't pretend to be your friend coz I'm just not ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    I've never really understood the point in killing something for sport. So yeah, if they're going to eat the whales they catch and use the majority of the parts for something then fair play. However, if they're doing it just because they've always done it then it's time to quit it
     
  4. AnimuX Gems: 1/31
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    As usual for these sorts of threads, the original post has left out some important information and glazed over the facts.

    The most serious omission is the fact that Faroese doctors have actually advised people to stop eating pilot whale meat due to contamination from mercury, PCBs and other pollutants. A long term study has shown noticeable neurological effects in children and pregnant women are warned not to consume it at all for fear of harming the developing fetus. So it's not something that 'may be unhealthy'. It is absolutely unhealthy.

    As for the 'arguments for whaling'...

    Another way of saying the Faroese slaughter of pilot whales is 'non-commercial' is, there is absolutely no economic or nutritional reason for it in the first place.

    Pilot whales are highly migratory animals, and while the annual slaughter does not threaten to make the species extinct it routinely involves destroying entire family groups at once -- which means eliminating genetic diversity that could potentially benefit the species overall.

    Culture is no excuse for torturing or cruelly killing masses of animals.

    In a curious arrangement, somehow the Faroe Islands gets to enjoy the benefits of being a protectorate of Denmark and all of the subsidies provided by the European Union, but doesn't follow the EU laws which prohibit killing whales and dolphins. Otherwise, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea states in article 65 that nations shall cooperate for the conservation of marine mammals.

    The Faroe Islands is not some distant tribe of natives living off the land. It's a modern western nation. Not one person will starve if the pilot whale slaughter is stopped. The hunting is opportunistic. In fact, the main export of the Faroe Islands is food -- specifically fish.

    The Faroe Islanders 'claim' that the animals die in seconds, which is incorrect. They first drive the animals into a panic by chasing them with boats banging metal poles in the water. They herd the animals into shallow shorelines. Then the screaming village of people go running into the water to jab and stab the whales with hooks. Ropes attached to the hooks are used to drag the whales onto the beach, in many cases by hooks inserted into the animal's airway. Only then, after the animal is up on the beach, does one of the Islanders begin sawing into the neck, severing the spine, and cutting arteries. It is an inherently cruel practice.
     
  5. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I agree that "cultural reasons" sounds like a pretty vague justification for something.
     
  6. Silvery

    Silvery I won't pretend to be your friend coz I'm just not ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    Pretty sound reasoning that man. Nice to get the full picture!
     
  7. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Personally I oppose PETA whenever possible just for the hell of it.
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    That's pretty much my take on it as well. If we're talking about an animal that isn't endangered (and AFAIK pilot whales are not), then as long as you're using the animal I'm not too fussed about it just because it happens to be a whale. Deer are routinely hunted throughout the US, and I doubt deer will be endangered anytime soon either. There are actually ecological reasons for culling herds at times. (Granted the reason for this is we eliminated most of the natural predators that would do that on their own, but still...) I guess the problem here is that pilot whales are NOT fit for consumption, and if that's the case, and they're hunting just for the sake of sport, then I don't see why they need to do it.
     
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  9. MrMermaid

    MrMermaid Reality is merely an illusion, albeit persistent Resourceful

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    Damn, I wish my first post on these boards was as good as AnimuX's. I second it!
     
  10. Arctic Daishi Gems: 6/31
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    People have the right to make unhealthy choices. Alcohol and cigarettes are deadly as well, but are still perfectly legal. Perhaps we should focus on the real problem then, which is mercury pollution. Eliminate mercury pollution and you eliminate the health hazard.
     
  11. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    Absolutely. It is not Faroese whale hunters who poison the ocean with mercury. It is not Faroese whalers who drive down populations to the point of extinction. Those titles fall solely on the hyper-consumptive western culture. Why should the Faroese be punished while we do nothing to stop the effects of our culture and it's continued war on nature? Let indigenous peoples and ancient traditional societies go without trying to kill them or convert them to your way of living. I realize this would be a first for many nations. Instead, let's do something about our own societies who have far, far more blood on their hands when it comes to harming animals and nature itself. It has been estimated that about 90-98% of the large fish in the oceans are gone. This is not due to the Faroese. It is due to us and our way of living. Where is the thread about that?
     
  12. AnimuX Gems: 1/31
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    The Faroese people use boats and cars and electricity and transport goods from pace to place just like every other modern country. They actively participate in the same activities that pollute and they are not some isolated native community of subsistence hunters.

    There are plenty of campaigns in plenty of countries all over the world about all sorts of environmental issues. Try Google if you don't believe me. :p

    'Tradition' is not an excuse to brutally slaughter masses of animals for personal enjoyment.

    As previously mentioned, the Faroese participate in the modern economy. They're not isolated from the issue of overfishing. In fact, members of the EU have been seeking action against the Faroe Islands and Iceland for arbitrary increases of mackerel catches exceeding regulatory limitations: http://www.seafoodsource.com/newsarticledetail.aspx?id=20670

    The fact is there are lots of threads all over the internet and media publications about so many environmental issues. Don't get upset when someone starts a thread promoting completely unnecessary mass slaughter of pilot whales and others point out how horrible it is.
     
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  13. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Perhaps not, but that's basically what the entire food industry does. Why is this any different than fishing for crabs, raising pigs, or farming salmon?
     
  14. AnimuX Gems: 1/31
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    Well, first of all pilot whales are not salmon, pigs, or crabs. Unlike domesticated pigs, they're wild animals with many threats to face. Unlike salmon or crabs, they're long lived and reproduce slowly. They're predators that eat at the top levels of the food chain. They form long term matriarchal communities, pass down learned behavior through generations of animals, etc...

    The pilot whales killed in the Faroe Islands are not really part of the 'food industry'. People don't hunt pilot whales out of any necessity -- as a 'food' they'd most closely resemble an exotic luxury item.

    The hunts are opportunistic and only occur when a pod of pilot whales is unlucky enough to swim too close to the Faroe Islands. Nobody depends on pilot whales for subsistence.

    In fact, the only reason anyone kills pilot whales in the Faroe Islands is they like it. They personally enjoy the act of slaughtering those animals by hand despite having no nutritional or economic need to do so.

    That -is- the tradition.
     
  15. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Crab is considered a luxury item in most areas. So is lobster ... and filet mignon. I've eaten bison, alligator, turtle, antelope, emu, ostrich and probably several creatures I don't want to know about. If they are only hunting ~0.1% of the population why is it any worse than the other "exotic luxury" food eaten throughout the world. I don't know of anyone who depends on bison or ostrich for subsistence (except the ranchers who could easily raise cows) -- why is this any different?

    Culture has always been an excuse for killing mass animals. Every culture.
     
  16. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    My thought on this is more along the lines of: at what level of intelligence do we decide that we shouldn't slaughter things for fun?

    I did a little look-see and these "whales" aren't whales any more than killer whales are whales - they're dolphins. Not sure if that matters all that much, but they are probably part of the most intelligent denizens of the sea.

    If there were people who would decide to, say, burn down a tree full of chimps or other great apes, and let's say they ate some fresh roasted chimp, even though they otherwise did not depend on such meat to live and only did it when they happened to find a tree full of chimps in the back 40, would that be ok?

    I don't see a significant difference here. Me, I'd vote not ok, but it's not really up to me.
     
  17. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I personally don't like this kind of thing any more than seal whacking. But I don't see it as being any different than hunting or sport fishing.
     
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  18. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    The hypocrisy here is almost palpable. America is a society built on the genocide both Native Americans, an indigenous sustainable culture in the vast majority of cases, and of any "inconvenient" animals that impede the way of living we think we are entitled to. Where are the wolves native to Pennsylvania where I live? Where are the flocks of passenger pigeons (now extinct thanks to us) so thick they could darken the sky for days as they did hundreds of years ago? Where are the Eskimo Curlew, the buffalo that used to run in herds across the continent, the Baiji River Dolphin, the salmon in the rivers that were once so thick you couldn't put an oar into the water without hitting them according to some accounts? All dead, or mostly dead, by mass murder, due to us, in far less time than the Faorese have been hunting. Doesn't matter whether you use all of it, kill for sport, or what- the basic principle still stands- suffering and waste are bad, but genocide is worse. If we really cared about nature we would put a moratorium on logging and try to rebuild that remaining few percentages of old-growth forests that remain in most countries. Or on industrial fishing. But that won't ever happen, because in our society profit is always more important than nonhuman life. Until that changes, or is at least acknowledged, the moral outrage of this can only make me shake my head.
     
  19. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    Genocide. An American core value. Who knew? :rolleyes:
     
  20. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    Actions are more important indicators than lip service. The evidence speaks for itself. What else do you call it when entire populations or nearly all are systemically wiped out? Whether they are human or not is irrelevant. You provide no reasoned argument or justification, just dismissal. So you will be dismissed in turn.
     
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