Whither whaling – is it just morally wrong?

If you are coming to this blog new before you read this and following posts please consider reading my previous one and voting in the poll.

In considering the question of the morality of whaling it depends first upon why you are hunting. Although not exactly a pressing conservation problem, I supported the ban on fox hunting which the previous UK government introduced because I think hunting for fun is barbaric, and has no place in a civilised society. On the other hand it has to be said that licensed hunting of big trophy mammals (elephants, lions etc.) in southern and eastern Africa has proven a big conservation success due to the extremely high fees that hunters are prepared to pay. Although I would hate to pull the trigger myself, I very much support this as a pragmatic solution to biodiversity conservation and habitat protection, for without the funds these hunters pay the large mammals would just be hunted and chased away by farmers, and the habitat degraded if not destroyed.

In the past a major incentive for whaling was the oils and fats that could be harvested from their bodies. However, since the advent of better synthetic replacements derived from petrochemicals, most whaling is done for food (discounting the pseudo-scientific hunting practiced by Japan to get around the current moratorium). So anyone who voted for this option had better be a vegetarian or they are a complete hypocrite. I eat meat so ultimately cannot agree with this position, although I do admire people prepared to live their ideals in this regard.


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