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The Meaning Of A Dead Orca

May 22, 2012

It’s hard to see the nobility, or the preservation of worthwhile values, in this.

This orca was killed with a harpoon, fired from a speedboat off St. Vincent and The Grenadines. The photo was posted by the West Indian Wildlife Conservation Society (WIWCS), and further disseminated by the American Cetacean Society. According to the WIWCS: “It happens almost on a weekly basis on the west coast of Saint Vincent, however, usually the victims are Pilot Whales. This is the second or third time an Orca has been killed off of St. Vincent.”

It’s of course terrible to see such an intelligent and socially sophisticated animal slaughtered (and the Facebook comments are running wild with opprobrium). But the hard reality is that traditional whale hunts, or the claim of “tradition” to protect whale hunting, will not go away until the economic needs of the hunters are addressed (subsidized Japanese whalers excepted; that’s a whole other twisted national identity issue).

Just one more example of the hard fact that we need to see the world–and its peoples and economies–as deeply interconnected, and act on the enormous disparities in wealth, before we can truly address the cruel practices that poverty breeds.

And, just as an aside, the slaughterhouse and industrial farming practices that produce the meat eaten by many who are outraged by whale hunting, are equally cruel and barbaric. So there is an issue of moral consistency that needs to be addressed, as well.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2012 10:05 pm

    😦

  2. May 29, 2012 3:34 pm

    I do wish it were true that economic justice results in fewer or no whales being killed. Increased incomes means increased consumption and human population. When the Alaskan Inuit first came into oil wealth the number of whaling crews and whales killed increased dramatically. The dolphin slaughter in Japan and their whaling, like Greenland’s and Iceland’s to name a few, are not income dependent. Witness the tragic rise of bush meat hunting across the world. Much of it goes to urban areas. Saint Vincent and The Grenadines also kill humpback whales. They are again applying to the International Whaling COmmission to kill 4 per year. As a strategy to get whales for the Inuit and Maka tribe, the US is part of this proposal.

    • May 29, 2012 3:38 pm

      True. I guess that there needs to be enough economic development to address severe poverty, along with a new sensibility regarding both population and consumption. Which is a lot to hope for….

  3. May 29, 2012 3:38 pm

    Correction: I do wish it were true that economic justice results in fewer or no whales being killed. Increased incomes means increased consumption and human population. When the Alaskan Inuit first came into oil wealth the number of whaling crews and whales killed increased dramatically. The dolphin slaughter in Japan and their whaling, like Greenland’s and Iceland’s to name a few, are commercial enterprizes. Witness the tragic rise of bush meat hunting of wildlife in the tropics across the world. Much of it goes to wealthy urban areas. Saint Vincent and The Grenadines also kill humpback whales. They are again applying to the International Whaling Commission to kill 4 per year. As a strategy to get whales for the Inuit and Makah tribe, the US is part of this proposal.

Trackbacks

  1. Aboriginal whale hunting: does it make a difference to the whale? - Greener Ideal
  2. Aboriginal whale hunting: does it make a difference to the whale? « Repeating Islands

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