Save the Whale Movement. ~ Steven Hoffman

Via on Jul 7, 2010

One might think we don’t have to hunt and kill the most majestic creatures on earth to make golf balls, detergent and hair color anymore…but no!

One of America’s greatest sins in harvesting animals for food and other products is the intensive confinement of chickens, pigs, cows and other livestock in what is called CAFOS or Confined Animal Farming Operations.

We crowd our animals by the thousands in small confines and fill them full of growth hormones in order to maximize production in the shortest amount of time possible. We inject them with antibiotics as a preventive measure so that they won’t get sick from other animals in close proximity. Many times their pens are so small that the animals can’t even turn around or lay down in comfort.  It is inhumane, and it’s the main reason I became a vegetarian.

I will write more about factory farming and Big Food in the future and recommend seeing the movie Food Inc. to gain a greater understanding of America’s industrial food and agriculture woes—and what we can do about them.

However, I’d like to focus this post on what I consider to be the other great sin—the continued hunting of whales for meat and to make products like golf balls, detergent and hair color.

It is a fact that Japan, Iceland, and Norway—the three main hunters of whales despite a 1982 global moratorium on their slaughter—are still applying for patents for the use of whale parts. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society reported in June that it had found thousands of approved patents that list whale oil and other parts of the marine mammals for use in goods such as golf balls, hair color, detergent, candy, bio-diesel and health drinks—all products that can be readily manufactured without ingredients taken from these majestic, intelligent creatures.

One would think that in 2010 we would have moved beyond brutally hunting down these amazing animals with harpoons.  But, like Captain Ahab in the mid-1800s, that vengeful, dogged character in Melville’s allegorical opus Moby Dick, Japan stubbornly pursues its single-minded hunting and slaughtering of whales in the name of “research” despite international protests.

Well, call me Ishmael, but I hope that we can save what whales we have left.  The Right Whale, so named by whalers of old because it floated when harpooned and was thus deemed the “right” whale to hunt, is down to just 30 living animals in the entire eastern Pacific Ocean, according to researchers at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.  These same scientists express concern for the long-term survival of the species.

Japan, Iceland, and Norway have used loopholes in the whaling moratorium to continue to hunt whales to the tune of more than 30,000 whales killed for commercial use in the past 25 years. Japan has even threatened to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which oversees the ban, so it can hunt whales more freely.  This year alone, the Japanese plan to harvest up to 1,000 whales in the Antarctic for “research” purposes.  Yet, whale meat continues to show up on the shelf in Japanese food stores and in sushi restaurants.

Whale activists all over the world breathed a sigh of relief when the global whaling ban established 28 years ago was not overturned despite efforts to do so at a recent meeting of the IWC.  However, given that the loopholes within the ban are so big you could sail a modern-day Japanese whaling ship through them, we must continue to be vigilant and speak up for our giant sea-faring cetacean brethren, for they cannot speak in a language we understand.

A recent study estimated that whale watching is a $2 billion-plus industry, growing by 10 percent a year.  Perhaps it is time that these whaling nations still clinging to outmoded ways will realize that live whales are more valuable than dead ones.

Resources to Take Action:

Steven Hoffman, Co-founder of LOHAS Journal and the annual LOHAS Forum, brings 30 years of expertise and contacts within the natural and organic industry as Managing Partner. He is a master wordsmith and savvy marketer fueled by a passion for all things green and sustainable.

About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive. Questions? info elephantjournal com

1,049 views

Like this article? Leave a tip!

(We use PayPal but you don't need an account with PayPal.)

Elephriends - Mindful Affiliates

One Response to “Save the Whale Movement. ~ Steven Hoffman”

  1. Cole C. says:

    I appreciate the article Steven.
    Any time you can get this message heard it's a big win for our planet and its ecosystem.
    However, I'm writing the comment because I feel like the lack of mention to Sea Shepherd is somewhat of a tragedy for an article of this nature.

    Please don't mislead people into thinking Greenpeace does anything of importance as it relates to directly saving whales.
    Even when Greenpeace was actively protesting the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic ocean every year, they had a minimal impact. As far as I'm aware, they don't even send any ships down there anymore because of the pressure from the Japanese.

    Look, if you want your money to go towards an organization that believes a harpoon ship is going to stop in its tracks because you're holding up a banner, then by all means Greenpeace is probably that route to take.

    But if you're actually interested in stopping whaling, do everything you can to support the good guys, Sea Shepherd (www.seashepherd.org)

Leave a Reply