Sunday, November 25, 2007


I'd like to think that if only I didn't have to work, keep house (as little as possible but still, laundry has to be done and dishes have to be washed occasionally), and generally live life, that I might actually go out and do something constructive. Like join Greenpeace and get out there on the ocean.

I read today that the Japanese are going out and hunting the endangered humpback whales. The humpback whales that we've seen cavorting in the sheltered waters between Maui and Lanai when visiting Hawaii. The ones that came up by our boat and leaped in the water nearby.

Supposedly it is for "scientific" purposes but we all know they're going to eat the meat. This makes me so angry I feel as if I could personally go sink a Japanese whaling boat. Just give me a torpedo.

Luckily, Greenpeace is out there disrupting the hunt. And since I can't go sink a boat personally, I guess I'll need to send a donation to Greenpeace for standing up for the whales. But I still feel sick inside thinking about the whales the Japanese will probably kill despite Greenpeace's best efforts.

According to The New York Times, the Japan Whaling Association claimed:

“Asking Japan to abandon this part of its culture,” the association says, “would compare to Australians being asked to stop eating meat pies, Americans being asked to stop eating hamburgers and the English being asked to go without fish and chips.”

First of all, if these whales are being killed for "scientific purposes," why compare them to meat pies? Obviously something else is going on here.

And if killing humpbacks is so important to the Japanese culture, why, then, did they forego this essential part of their "culture" for 20 years? True, they've been killing other types of whales, but not the humpback. What made them suddenly decide that humpback whales are now fair game? I think it's because they think nobody's paying attention.

Let's hope Greenpeace and other environmental groups make sure they know someone IS paying attention. Please visit their website and see what you can do to help.

(Photo credit to National Geographic.)


Anonymous said...

I heard about this last week and it just makes me sick at heart. The Japanese see whaling as a "right"- just like some folks up North see it as a right to club baby seals. I hope Greenpeace holds 'em off until they get low on fuel and have to go home!

Fran said...

This is so disturbing, so upsetting.

I only saw one whale, once in my life. I was on the western shore of Kauai and while it was out in the water, I could clearly see it breaching.

This is so wrong.

LET'S TALK said...

While in the service, I've seen whales everywhere. I recall seeing the most while stationed in Virginia.

I was also stationed in Japan, and there is a problem with anyone telling them what they can and cannot do, so I wish Greenpeace luck on stopping such and act.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"Just give me a torpedo."
Sorry. Sales to angry women are forbidden.:) But I don't mean to laugh at your anger. This is a travesty!

Mary Ellen said...

When I read this story I was so sad. I had the chance to see some humpback whales when I went out on a whale watching tour in Massachusetts. They are so amazing to see and I fell in love with them immediately. Why do humans destroy everything that's beautiful in this world? It makes me sick.

I think I'll make some donations to Greenpeace in my grandkids names as part of their Christmas gift. They may not understand the purpose of it now, but when they get older they might appreciate it. Of course...they'll still get their toys, I have to keep my title of "best memom in the world" intact. If Greenpeace manages to stop the whale killers, my title may hold long after I'm gone. ;-)

pissed off patricia said...

I've been a Greenpeace supporter for like forever.

Mr. Pop volunteers to go to beaches here when whales and such beach themselves. To think of someone killing them on purpose is just too heartbreaking.

Mauigirl said...

Thanks, everyone, for all your comments. I knew you would share my dismay about this news.

Dorie, interesting that you mention the clubbing of the baby seals - I have a friend from northern Canada who actually defends this practice. It's one thing we just don't agree on. It must be, like the Japanese that Let's Talk mentions, they don't like being told what to do.

This is just so wrong and so sad. To go ahead with this hunt knowing full well that these gentle creatures are endangered is unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

Let me preface this by saying that I've been a vegetarian for 24 years--no meat, no seafood at all. One of the reasons that I stopped eating meat was out of compassion for the animals. I don't want anyone to have to die so I can fill my belly.

On the other hand I find it laughable that people single out some animals as OK to eat but raise holy hell if people eat the ones that they decide other people shouldn't eat.

Yes I think it sucks that people kill whales to eat but why is killing a whale any different than killing a cow, chicken or fish? It's not. It's just that people like to "save" the cute animals while the rest of them be damned.

Western countries have decided that it's OK to eat cows, pigs and chickens, but not dogs, horses, snakes, whales, seals, etc. It IS purely a cultural and arbitrary decision. It's a Japanese cultural thing to eat whales, just like it's a Hindu thing to NOT eat cows, and it's western world thing to not eat dogs.

Death is death. Is getting harpooned any less cruel than hanging a cow upside down and slicing its throat?

Mauigirl if you're 100% vegetarian then I can respect what you're saying. The same thing for the rest of the commmenters. But if any of you eat the flesh of any animals, or wear their skins as shoes or coats, or use glue, or gelatin, then you're as guilty as the Japanese that you're railing against. You're hypocrites. I hope you're not hypocrites but I suspect that most are.

All life has value, not just that which we consider cute or have anthropomorsized. The taking of any life should be avoided if at all possible. That goes for cows, chickens, bugs, and whales.

Mauigirl said...

Realitology, you make some very good points. I admit I am not a vegetarian, although I do make it a point to try to buy mostly meat that comes from cattle (or chickens, if it's poultry) that are raised under humane conditions, e.g., organic, grass fed, free range, etc. But you are right that killing is still killing in that regard, so point taken, and if I were really good I would also be a vegan.

But I do not feel it is true to say it is exactly the same thing to kill members of an endangered species such as the whales, as it is to kill cattle that are raised for meat and are in no danger whatsoever of being killed off as a species. Therein lies the difference, and that is why I am outraged about it.

Anonymous said...

This same battle has been ongoing for a long time. The Japanese keep insisting that they're only killing whales for "research." It sucks that they're killing whales, but I think they're alienating even more people by claiming it's for "research" instead of just admitting that they like to eat whale meat.

It's like when Dumbya allows industries to pollute the air more and more and then calls it the "clear skies initiave."

Mauigirl said...

Tom, you're right. It's the duplicity of it that is probably part of the problem.

Bush's "Clear Skies Initiative" is a good example of doublespeak, something very Orwellian!

TomCat said...

Maui, I fully agree. I reject realitology's agrument, because the death is death argument applies equally to plants. Who can say that killing a plant for food is superior to killing an animal? Of course, we could eat neither plants nor animals and then we would be killing ourselves. But most of all, I reject this statement:

Mauigirl if you're 100% vegetarian then I can respect what you're saying. The same thing for the rest of the commmenters. But if any of you eat the flesh of any animals, or wear their skins as shoes or coats, or use glue, or gelatin, then you're as guilty as the Japanese that you're railing against. You're hypocrites. I hope you're not hypocrites but I suspect that most are.

Just who is this person that claims the right to judge others?

Fran said...

I too must say that I found Realitology's comment very harsh and ideological.

What I do is to buy locally raised and humanely treated poultry. We eat very little beef. I do eat some fish and no I don't always know where it comes from.

If for examples, chickens were on the verge of extinction, I would have to consider my actions. Maybe then I would become a vegetarian.

We could get into a very dogmatic and hairsplitting debate over killing is killing, but I am of the opinion that we need the animals for food.

It is is very self-righteous for Realitology to call any of us hypocrites, but that is his/her right to do so. It just sounds so strident and acrimonious - even if you "kill" nothing, what are you so angry about?

Sorry that is just how I hear it. We must find ways to live in harmony and I try to do so.

And at some level, each and every one of us is a hypocrite- that is the human condition. I can just try to be aware and correct as I can, to live justly and to walk in peace.

That's it for me.

Fran said...

I should have clicked into his blog before I commented but did not until now.

Nice cheesecake.

Not that it matters to me.

Mauigirl said...

Tomcat and Fran, I agree the comment was very judgemental. Some of those who follow a vegan lifestyle tend to be that way, I find.

I tend to live my life as Fran describes, doing the best I can within limits. I am a firm believer that "The best is the enemy of the good" - that is, some people try so hard to make things perfect that the less-than-perfect solution, which is still an improvement over what is, never gets done.

I don't think I could ever be a vegetarian, let alone a vegan - I like my nice rare steaks a bit too much! And I certainly couldn't do without fish. But at least I can buy grass-fed, free roaming beef. And eggs from free-range hens. At least we can try to raise animals humanely and kill them humanely. And as for the whales, I know it's not hypocritical to defend them even though I eat meat. It's about extinction, not just the killing. If he doesn't understand that then he just doesn't get it.

Anonymous said...

I believe that no research in the world is worth it to justify purposefully hunting and killing a wild whale. I live in Hawaii where everyone I know is in awe of seeing a humpback whale and our state has laws that protect the whales and other marine life.

Mauigirl said...

Cheryl, I agree completely. And I can't imagine what kind of "scientific research" requires the whales to be dead. Surely we have enough knowledge about their physical bodies; it's their activities and communications, etc., that are what are still mysterious. For instance, the whales the Japanese are going after in their part of the world sing a different whale song than those in the opposite hemisphere that winter in Hawaii, and no one really knows exactly what they are singing about. It is so sad to think of anyone killing even one of these magnificent creatures.

TomCat said...

Well said, Maui. And I certainly respect the vegans' choice to live their lives in whatever way they see fit, and top express their opinions about it. My objection was only to the attempt to cram that belief down out throats, like the most rabid theocons do.

Anonymous said...

Hi again,
I just happened to run across this post a year later and see that my comments made quite a stir.

Let me clarify...I was not trying to "cram that belief down out[sic] throats" as tomcat said.

Also as tomcat said "who is this person that claims the right to judge others?" I do not claim such a right.

We are all justifiably horrified that the Japanese hunt whales. The point of my original post was to hopefully make people think about the bigger picture and hopefully assign some value to all life and not just the "cute" ones or the ones our culture has chosen to value.

I lived in Hawaii for many years, I swam near the humpbacks and could feel their grunts and songs through my bones. I've been in a boat and had them come up beside it and look at me. You can see there's intelligence there.

I also grew up out in the country and can tell you for a fact that pigs are fairly intelligent, much more so than dogs. But why do we eat pigs and not dogs? It's just a cultural choice. That's all.

I didn't get the impression that the original post about the whales was was outraged because of the endangered aspect, but rather because whales are an easy thing to be outraged about.

If it's the endangered aspect that you ARE outraged about then that's awesome. Also keep in mind that nearly all of the world's fishstocks are either in collapse or teetering on the edge. This includes tuna, salmon, trout, grouper, chilean sea bass, cod, snapper, etc. Almost any ocean fish or shrimp you're likely to eat is endangered or nearly so.

To take it even one step further on the endangered front. Many US bird species have declined 40-80% over the last 30 or so years. Why? Mainly because of habitat loss (new subdivisions, city expansion, clearing for livestock, lumber, paper, etc.) cats, and buildings. That's something to consider the next time you buy toilet paper or office paper. Buy less or buy recycled. Your choices do matter.

Also the cute little kitty cat is responsible for killing over 1 Billion (billion with a B) birds in the US alone every single year. Don't have a cat, get them neutered, and/or keep them inside.

Another 100 million to 1 billion birds are killed in the US every year just from smashing into buildings. A few changes in the type of glass used (non-reflective) and/or the building operation (lights off at night) could save millions of birds, not to mention energy and money.

Don't even get me started on the collapse of the honeybee and of wild bees and wasps. (World famine anyone?)

Obviously I could go on for days about this. The point of all of this is to be conscious of the ramifications of our choices. The little choices we make can save much more than just one whale species.

No judgment in any of this I swear. We all must walk our own path and make our own choices. Hopefully we make choices that do the most good for the most people/creatures/environment.

BTW, you may be interested in this post I made shortly after reading yours. It's about more Japanese cruelty to whales...