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Ethical whaling

Might be advocacy in which case bye-bye idea
  (+4, -5)
(+4, -5)
  [vote for,

If you eat sardines or shrimps, a lot of animals are needed for sustenance. Guinea pigs, pigeons, chihuahuas or chickens are larger, so fewer animals are killed or caused to suffer to feed you. Moving up to beef, that's four hundred kilos of animal which can feed i don't know how many people - quantitatively less cruelty and animal killing.

The logical conclusion of this is to kill and eat only whales. A hundred tons of whale is more than two hundred cows. Only one animal has to die to feed a huge number of people.

Therefore, the "next best" thing to vegetarianism, from the point of view of killing the fewest animals, is to promote whaling. Alternatively, you could just eat large sharks, such as basking and whale sharks. Obviously they would have to be managed sustainably.

Incidentally, i'm vegetarian, for non-animal welfare reasons.

nineteenthly, Aug 14 2008

Save species by eating them. http://www.nytimes..../dining/30come.html
[mylodon, Aug 14 2008]

Association for Retarded Citizens http://www.thearc.o...px?pid=183&srcid=-2
That last acceptable insult among humanity... [mylodon, Aug 14 2008]

Royal Fish? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_fish
[normzone, Aug 14 2008]

The Food Of The Gods http://www.cincomsm...ue&entry=3298448578
Good old Arthur, we miss him. [8th of 7, Aug 18 2008]

A Modest Proposal http://en.wikipedia...i/A_Modest_Proposal
Alternative food source ? [8th of 7, Aug 19 2008]


       I think you still have the problem of intelligence. Many people feel that death * intelligence = lack of empathy and cruelty. This means that dophins and whales get all kinds of attention while nobody really cares -- on an emotional level -- about the decline in cod or salmon stocks.   

       Even if you can prove that whales are stupid, you may still invoke pro-stupidity protests, primarily due to the sing-song voices of a whale, which invoke the feeling that whilst they may be stupid, they are artists and have feelings.   

       Personally I like the idea although you would still have to deal with the lack of plankton, etc, generated by almost four times the number of whales, which have to be almost 10 times that number simply to deal with sexual maturity issues. So say 70 million whales are circling the seas -- stealing seal food.   

       On the plus side, that leaves quite a bit more area on land.   

       While I have eaten whale blubber and skin, however, I have not eaten burgers. If you can convince people that whales make good burgers, that may be the tipping point and enable this idea to succeed.   

       In any case, an interesting idea, since often when you make something a commodity food item it no longer risks extinction.
mylodon, Aug 14 2008

       The logic here is a bit dodgy. It is quantity over quality and gets even weirder because the creature you have chosen is a carnivore. So ethically we would be breeding creatures who eat millions of creatures to save ones who don't eat any.   

       The second part is how much of the weight of a whale is meat?   

       I personally agree with [mylodon] and have instituted a dog intelligence limit. I have dogs and wouldn't eat a dog, so I shouldn't eat anything smarter than a dog. So I have dropped pork from my diet. Luckily turkey, chickens and cows are really stupid.
MisterQED, Aug 14 2008

       Concerning plankton, they are going to get eaten anyway, one way or the other, or we'd be in the famous "ocean made of cod" scenario, or something similar, after a couple of years. In fact, the same amount of living matter in the sea eating smaller animals but consisting of a larger number of large animals could be a good thing because they have then relieved us of responsibility for the deaths of the smaller but innumerable teeny squirmy or floaty things with consciousness without being responsible for their deaths themselves, not having their own moral dimension, so actually they are able to help us on that side too.   

       How much of a whale is meat? Interesting question, but not vital because they must have huge muscles anyway, and meat isn't all you can eat. You could have mountains of tripe, tons of blubber and black pudding even leaving aside any meat.   

       Whales are in any case not the only option, since the likes of basking sharks also eat plankton and may be less intelligent, if that comes into the equation rather than the capacity for suffering, and i think are also endangered.   

       [MisterQED], how about penguins?
nineteenthly, Aug 14 2008

       So far as i know, whales have one calf at a time and become sexually mature by about ten years old, but bovine calves are also normally single births, so the problem with farming them from that perspective is the time scale. You might also be depriving the abyssal ecosystem of whale cadavers, which seem quite important. Maybe you could bury them at sea once you've finished with them.   

       I've just thought of another problem: they count as Royal Fish.
nineteenthly, Aug 14 2008

       There's a lot of great whites that rely on eating dead whales. I don't think I want to remove their food source.
normzone, Aug 14 2008

       There would be a lot to go round. You could also eat the great white sharks, which aren't Royal Fish.   

       Actually, i'm veering towards the idea of basking sharks instead.
nineteenthly, Aug 14 2008

       With what marinade?   

       Oh, basking, sorry.
imaginality, Aug 14 2008

       No, i've gone back to whales again now. Maybe in some kind of sauce, or gravy, or even custard, but with permission from Buck House of course, which would mean the meat would have to be free in Commonwealth countries.
nineteenthly, Aug 14 2008

       My level is "monkey", which leaves me standing out on my own when it comes to the rights of the severely mentally disabled.
Voice, Aug 15 2008

       I would rather eat human than whale, so -.
zeno, Aug 15 2008

theleopard, Aug 15 2008

       Yeah I've noticed a lot of Vegoes are pro-whaling...I just don't get it. [-]   

       If you're so in favour of whaling, why not dispatch all meat animals with exploding harpoons? Wouldn't get much back from a lamb...
simonj, Aug 15 2008

       [simonj] I think the favor is in terms of the retrieving of the meat, not the blowing of it up.   

       However, as small explosive might work nicely for lambs.
mylodon, Aug 15 2008

       Seriously, why would you rather eat human, [zeno]?
theleopard, Aug 15 2008

       A flaw in this plan is that whale sausages (using whale intestines) would just be too big.
hippo, Aug 15 2008

       Again with the Royal Fish thing: basking sharks would be Royal Fish in Scotland due to the six oxen business, so no point.   

       Anyway, yes, explode all livestock, sounds like a good plan. Maybe even make them with explosive bones.   

       Were one to base one's dietary decisions on the intelligence of one's potential meal, and in the camp which sees cetaceans as of superior intelligence to humans, one might decide that cannibalism was fine but not eating whale.   

       [Zeno], would it not take you forever to finish eating a human? Surely you'd have to eat half their body, then half of the leftovers, then half of those leftovers, and so on, forever?
nineteenthly, Aug 15 2008

       Well, at least he'll never go hungry.
theleopard, Aug 18 2008

       Only if hylomorphism is corroborated and the Krebs cycle works homoeopathically.
nineteenthly, Aug 18 2008

       // small explosive might work nicely for lambs //   

       7.62 x 57mm full-jacketed rounds are unsuitable for hunting rabbits - that is, if you actually seek to consume the said rabbit, rather than have it distributed over a ten-metre elipsoid as a fine reddish-brown mist with occasional sticky lumps.   

       This idea raises a large number of intriguing ethical and moral issues which are worthy of careful and reasoned discussion. Would you like to come round to our Cube next weekend for a chat, a glass of wine, and a nice bowl of [nineteenthly] casserole ? There should be enough to go round ....
8th of 7, Aug 18 2008

       From the title, I was expecting the idea to be how to make whaling ethical, whereas I think the idea is saying that whaling *is* ethical (or rational maybe).   

       Also, reading the idea, I'm reminded of that vegetarian argument that a cow only feeds so many people, but eats enough grain to feed some greater number of people. Not sure if whales would be an improvement or the opposite in that respect.
bnip, Aug 19 2008

       That applies if you feed cows on grain rather than grass. In effect, humans and cows are competing for a food source.   

       However, there are large areas of low-grade pasture that are unsuitable climatically or otherwise for growing food crops edible by humans. In these areas it makes sense to keep grazing animals that convert (however inefficiently) grass into meat. Sheep are good for this.
8th of 7, Aug 19 2008

       // humans and cows are competing for a fodd source// sp. "fodder"
coprocephalous, Aug 19 2008

       I did actually think of manatees and other sirenians, but they're smaller and whereas their conservation status is fairly fragile (can't remember the exact term), their size means more individuals would have to die, which is probably a bigger problem for their sustainable farming than it would be for whales. They weigh about the same as cows, so there's no advantage. Steller's sea cow was several times bigger but has been extinct for more than two centuries.   

       The problem with basking and other sharks is that their tissues are particularly good at absorbing arsenic without killing the animal while making it toxic for human consumption. Their environment would have to be quite clean for them to be safe. Since they are most abundant in the Irish Sea, this scores against them.   

       The issue of cold-bloodedness is not clear cut. I don't know about basking sharks, but i am aware that not all sharks are actually cold-blooded. Both bony and cartilaginous fish include species with partially endothermic bodies. They can't be completely endothermic because too much heat would be lost through the gills, but they aren't totally cold-blooded either.   

       The situation with basking sharks is also complicated by their large livers, a quarter of their body weight, which in polluted waters are going to become not only toxic, but high in lipid- rather than water-soluble compounds, which we really wouldn't want to consume. You have to subtract that from their body weight because it's not going to be safe to eat.   

       Incidentally, i'm not arguing that whaling as it's now practiced is ethical, just suggesting that it may be possible to practice a form of whaling which is more ethical than current dominant methods of animal farming or fishing.
nineteenthly, Aug 19 2008

       In my (vegetarian) opinion, killing and eating any creature in this day and age is, for the most part, unneccessary and therefore can never be 'ethical' unless you are having to hunt for your own dinner.

However, putting that aside for the moment, there are some practical issues that need to be addressed. In particular, where are you going to keep all these whales? How do you know which whale belongs to who? How do you stop whale rustlers? Will there be fines for allowing your whales to stray into somebody else's territorial waters? Who is going to administer all this?

Also, experience suggests that bureaucrats are great at preventing things from happening (e.g. whaling) but once you get them involved in trying to administer an ongoing activity (e.g. European fisheries) either the whales or the whalers will be extinct in pretty short order.
DrBob, Aug 19 2008

       just from reading the title of this idea I imagined it might be about sticking GPS tracking/transmitting devices on whales. When the whale stops moving a boat goes to scoop the corpse out of the ocean.
xaviergisz, Aug 19 2008

       [DrBob], ownership is not a problem, at least in the "UK", and possibly elsewhere in the British Commonwealth. All whales belong to the Crown. In Scotland, large fish of any kind also belong to the Crown, i.e. fish over twenty-five feet long in fact, legally any fish which cannot be drawn up a beach by six oxen. No-one else can own a whale or in Scotland a large shark. This applies to whales taken in British waters. I don't know about the likes of India, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, but that's the law here.   

       When a man caught a sturgeon in Cardiff Bay four years ago, he faxed Buckingham Palace and they told him the Queen said he could dispose of the fish "as he saw fit". He then tried to sell it and was prosecuted by a state body of some kind, i forget which. I think a legal argument could be made as a result of that that Royal Fish, being Crown property but not being allowed to be sold, could be distributed for free to certain people, like Maundy money. If this isn't legal right now, it would only take a small change in the law. Therefore, not only is this potentially more ethical than conventional farming or fishing, but also actually potentially free food or a venture in which the Crown could engage to provide food for the poor.   

       You don't actually keep the whales anywhere, you tag them electronically and engage in "whale upping", as this country does with swans currently, if they look like they're going to leave British, or possibly Commonwealth, waters. That is, on a regular basis, you do something to persuade the whales to approach the coast until the countries concerned have more whales than non-Commonwealth countries, thereby protecting them from unsustainable whaling.   

       So: the Crown administers it, the whales are tagged rather than farmed, they are persuaded to stay in territorial waters and their meat or other products are distributed to the poor for free. Also, because the whaling organisation is then a Crown institution, it can't be privatised or nationalised.   

       Having said all that, i am actually veggie, as i've said, which rather puts a spanner in the works regarding my actual ethical beliefs. The other problem is if you live outside Britain or possibly the Commonwealth. Does anyone know the law regarding whale ownership in the States?
nineteenthly, Aug 19 2008

       mmmmm...whale burgers! [+]
Noexit, Aug 19 2008

       // How do you stop whale rustlers? //   

8th of 7, Aug 19 2008


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