Extinction: does it matter whether it is murder or manslaughter?

New Zealand’s government have been one of the most vocal critics of whaling, so I wonder what the Japanese et al. will make of news that the NZ government is not prepared to take on its own fishing industry to save one of the world’s most endangered cetaceans: Maui’s dolphin. Should we conclude that what matters most is the distinction between deliberate killing at the conclusion of a hunt, and accidental by-catch, even if such accidents are an entirely predictable outcome of certain types of fishing? That to Kiwis the former is barbaric, whilst the latter a regrettable but understandable outcome of modern civilization?

Victims of drunk drivers may have a few relevant points to make …


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