Monday, 28 July 2014

Whales Are People Too?

I have big news! There is a new social justice bandwagon to hop onto!

I was browsing my Facebook wall when I noticed a picture of a city by the ocean, but the water around it was stained red. The comment from the person who posted (someone I don’t even know, by the way, so I’m not even sure how I saw it) read, “You people are despicable,” and the heading of the article link stated, “Her child was torn from her body. It’s almost impossible to view these images.” Immediately, some sort of natural disaster comes to mind. Maybe a tsunami, pulling people into the ocean? But that doesn’t explain the “you people” comment. So maybe a genocide? I mean, it’s gotta be just the worst thing ever, right? The worst human cruelty on earth? So I clicked on the link. It took me to a page where pictures were posted of a small coastal village on the Faroe Islands during their whale hunt. There were slaughtered whales strewn along the beach, and their blood soaked the shored. One picture even portrayed a small boy sitting on top of a bloody whale carcass. I couldn’t even finish scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Mainly because I just didn't care.

Why? There’s so much public outrage (apparently) about the whaling practices of this super tiny island most people have never heard of before this issue arose. Why don’t I care about this movement against animal cruelty?

First is the location. Though I didn't know where the Faroe Islands were initially, if they’re hunting whales, then they’re either in East Asia, where whaling practices are slightly below legal, or up north somewhere, where whales are common and traditional food staples. My gut said up north. Sure enough, after a quick google, I discovered that this small group of islands is in between England and Iceland, and part of the Kingdom of Denmark (also, Denmark is still a kingdom. Who knew). Up in northern Canada, whales are killed for food, yet there is very little you hear about that. Because that’s what the Inuit do, and as Canadians, we are taught to respect native peoples traditional rights. Yet these people don’t get the same ones? According to another article I read, the people of the Faroe Islands have also practiced whaling for generations upon generations. So why is this so deplorable?

Well, one of the reasons is that somewhat recently, there was a huge push against China and Japan and their whaling habits. I believe this was a case of mass overfishing and sub-par killing tactics, which China always seems to be in trouble for. I remember watching a fairly disturbing video a while back which showed some of the practices in the fur industry, where animals aren’t even fully dead when they’re skinned. Of course, it was in China. My theory to China’s notoriety in this area is a combination of the huge population, authoritarian government and wide variety of food they consume. In order to satisfy all those desires for whatever food they like (like shark-fin soup), animals are killed in massive groups and because government regulation is lax in these areas, companies can save money with sub-par practices and not having the proper equipment. Because it all comes down to money. So now, with the pictures from the Faroe Islands going viral, these memories are brought up again and the worst is automatically assumed.

Now, if that’s correct, it makes sense about the outrage. But it doesn’t explain why it’s so furious. The Faroe Islands people are called despicable because they kill whales. That’s it. No one knows what else they do. So the problem becomes less about prevention and more about ignorance. Which is annoying. But not nearly as annoying as my last point.

After reading a response to the whaling pictures supporting the right for the Faroe people to fish whales like they have for generations, one thing became fairly obvious: the biggest driving factor of this social movement is animal rights.

Now, I do have to admit, I am not well researched in this issue. I read a news article and a half about it. I googled where the Faroe Islands were. That’s pretty much all I’ve heard of it. But it vividly reminds me of another group I have more knowledge with, which is PETA. Most people I know would agree with me in saying that PETA is straight up crazy. I remember when they wrapped up naked supermodels in clear plastic in order to make a point about eating meat. I also remember when they made a mini-game based on Pok√©mon, but arguing that it was supporting abuse towards animals. Both those are HUGE over-reactions towards something that ISN’T A PROBLEM. So that doesn’t help my opinion of this whole whaling thing.
But the biggest thing that makes me completely right this off as another internet social movement is that it’s arguing that whales and dolphins, because of their high intelligence and advanced family structures, deserve rights of their own.


No no no no no no no.

Animals don’t get rights. They get survival. People get rights, because we’ve figured out that the best way to live is to have some sort of government with laws, and that we can’t simply run around doing whatever we please. This was done with logic and rational thought. We figured out that killing each other over a mate isn’t right, and should be punished. We figured out that eating each other would quickly wipe us out. We figured out that grabbing a mate whenever we want is also bad and should be punished, because if one person has rights, so does another. Religion has given us a great guide in those. God basically commanded all those things, along with a few others, in Exodus. But we don’t have to follow them. We’ve figured out that it helps to. That’s why we have rights. Animals haven’t figured those out yet, so they don’t get people status. They get animal status, which means no rights.

But because we have rational thought and the ability to think in future and past tense, as well contemplate our own existence, we realize that we have to respect and take care of animals. It doesn’t mean that we have to treat them as equals, because they are not equal to us, but that we shouldn’t kill all the cows because we want steak. We’re smart about raising beef, so that we can have beef for many many years. This goes for any other animal that is eaten in this world. It also helps to remember that God created all the animals, and we should respect all that God created, because God didn’t make something for no reason.

Sadly, some people haven’t figured this out, as there have been actions passed giving whale and dolphin relatives the right to life. The animals didn’t decide this. They had it forced on them by people who think they’re doing the right thing. They’re not. If a whale wants the right to live, then it can argue it in a court of law.

So this is nothing more than an internet fad. Someone found some bloody pictures and now everyone hates the people of the Faroe Islands. I’m sure they’re super nice, too. Anyone remember Kony? No? Exactly. 2 years ago, there was a movement to raise awareness about Kony, a dictator in Africa (I can’t even remember where), who was using child soldiers. And why were people supporting that? Because kids shouldn’t be soldiers. That’s obvious. But nothing ever happened, and everyone forget about it in a few months. The organizers even dropped it. It all started because kids are so cute, and now they’re brainwashed and killing people. Now it’s the adorable baby whales, who are slaughtered right in front of their parents. There are so many other REAL things to be enraged over, like the overfishing of tuna in the Mediterranean, but have you ever seen a tuna? Not a pretty fish. It’s the cute factor. That’s really the driving force behind this.

Now, it’s up for everyone to decide what they want to support. But it’s always good to think about it first before jumping on the social bandwagon. As for me, I’m going to support the rights of the Faroe Island people to hunt responsibly. And though I wouldn’t join the hunt, I’d sure eat with them. Fresh whale meat sounds tasty. 

I could go on for much longer about how much I hate the animal right groups, but I'll spare you my ranting. So here's the link to the article I read. It has a bunch of interesting stats that'll make you think.

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