This is a call for support from the scientific community.
To the people of the world, this is a nightmare.
For too long we have allowed the blunt instrument of science to be manipulated by those who desire selfish outcomes. Let us remember that science is not a philosophy, a lifestyle or a field of endeavor suited for final decision making. It is a tool, an experimental process that allows us to verify ideas, to see that something we think might be true, is likely to repeat itself.
The scientific community bears responsibility for only this: science has supported the idea that Whales and Dolphins can be harvested in some kind of sustainable fashion. Altho it has never provided any reliable model of how this can be done, it has consistently been used to support the idea.
History shows us that science has not been well used in managing to keep Whales and Dolphins thriving in the oceans. All attempts to use science to create a set of guidelines for sustainable harvesting have failed miserably.
Ultimately, the responsibility for the misuse of science lies with those who have attempted to profit by the death of Whales and Dolphins.
Science has been unfairly vilified for bringing us to the brink on which we stand. It has been only a misused tool.
It is within the field of science that we have the opportunity to create the solution to our dilemma with the Whales and Dolphins. It is within the fundamental definitions of the nature of living forms used by science that we must make a much needed adjustment.
By redefining the nature of the entire family of Cetaceans, we will remove them from the menu, and preserve them for the future.
It is very likely that we do not fully undertstand their role in the bio-sphere. It would be unwise to destroy them, or to endanger them any more than we already have. They may play a role that is so crucial to life, as the highest form of intelligent and self-aware life in the Oceans, that they hold a key to the survival of all life.
We do not know.
The expected outcome of this change will be the end of the IWC.
Therefore, the Cetacean Studies Institute believes that the impasse of the IWC is to be solved by dissolving the Commission and instating full recognition of all Cetaceans as world citizens.
For 14 years, the International Whaling Commission has effectively thwarted the interests of commercial Whaling. By placing a moratorium on Whaling, no country had the right to go "a'hunting the Whale". The moratorium was based on the premise that a "management scheme" needed to be put in place, to fulfil the original charter of the IWC, which is to "manage the stocks of Whales".
No one knew how many there were. No one knew where they all were. No one knew how many could be killed without endangering their survival. So managing them was virtually impossible.
Over time, a scheme was put together that suggested a means for counting Whales, so quotas could be set. This was rejected.
Then a Revised Management Scheme (RMS) was defined, but never formally accepted.All this was kept moving at a slow pace by the international community of scientists and environmentalists, trying to buy time.
"Let the stocks of Whales recover, let them have peace, until we can figure out a way to protect them forever...."
Following last years IWC meeting in Adelaide, at which it was decided to "Fast Track" the Revised Management Schedule, which means that a return to commercial Whaling is on the foreseeable horizon, it is time to be motivated to contribute to a change.
The Japanese have been ignoring the wishes of the IWC for many years, conducting what they call "Scientific Whaling", which has done no more than reinforce their contention that science tells them that it is OK to kill Minke Whales, and put very expensive Whale meat on sale in the meat markets of Japan.
This does a number of things, including masking the true number of pirate whalers who sail the Oceans looking for any Whale they can harpoon, endangered or not, to sell their murdered meat to the eager consumers of Japan.
Recently, investigators have found the meat of several species of endangered Whales on sale in Japan, labeled as Minke Whale meat.
And it is poisoning them. Japanese researchers themselves have found up to 1600 times the acceptable levels of toxic metals, dioxin, PCB's and mercury in the meat and blubber of Whales, sold in shops across Japan. It is a serious health risk to eat a Whale...
In Norway, no one eats the blubber of Whales. Eight hundred tons of Whale blubber lie frozen in warehouses, waiting for the international climate to enable them to legally export blubber to Japan. The Commission on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has been the battleground for Japan's recent attempts to lift the ban on the international trade in Whale products, with Norway at their side.
CITES feels that the IWC has left them to fight a fight that is properly handled by the IWC. Rancor arises...
Norway keeps on Whaling. It has always been the country that has contributed the most to the killing of Whales, from the expert crews they provided to the Whaling fleets of yesteryear, to the invention of the exploding harpoon and the factory Whaling fleets, Norway has led the world in the ways of the Holocaust. Refusing to abide by any agreements to end Whaling, Norway sets its own quotas to keep their level of competition within their fleets manageable, but not with any regard for the health of the families of Whales they hunt.
Between Japan and Norway, well over 1100 Whales are killed each year for human consumption.
This is the time we have foreseen, when the forces that must combine to protect the Whales and Dolphins are called upon.
Much good has been done, creating an atmosphere very different than it was in the 70's when this all really began.
We bought time, and it has been well used.
In Australia alone, in 1998 there was 5.5 million dollars spent on Whale Watching. Globally, it is now an industry that produces over $1 billion in profitable commerce each year.
Research has taken huge strides, letting us begin to see the role the Whales have in the planetary eco-system. They are farmers, managing the largest bio-mass of the planet, the plankton forests of the Southern Oceans.
The IWC never has had any jurisdiction over Dolphins or Porpoises.
Sadly, this is far from true.
And Dolphins have begun approaching people. Not only are people going to intentionally swim with the Dolphins, but Dolphins are approaching people on their own, even making physical contact. As recently as 5 years ago, a report of a wild Dolphin touching, or even allowing touch to happen, was regarded with skepticism. Now, it is becoming common. When little Elian Gonzales was picked up after the ill-fated sinking of his Mother's ship, he told the story of Dolphins surrounding him as he floated in the night in his inner tube, protecting him from sharks.
Over 100,000 people a year swim with Dolphins in swim facilities around the world, as of 1998. By 2003, the number is expected to be over 500,000.
And people everywhere have heard of the extraordinary work being done by bringing children with Central Nervous System problems, from Autism to Cerebral Palsy, from severe pain symptoms to DownÕs syndrome, to spend time with Dolphins. Some are experiencing significant improvement, even healing. Dolphin Assisted Therapy is a rapidly growing field, gaining credibility every day, as new research and therapies are developed.
Something else has emerged, totally unpredicted by science. Around the world, Whales are being watched avidly, excited throngs of people are paying to be taken out onto the sea, to watch from dry and warm safety, the lunging, plunging progress of Whales. Hundreds of thousands of people.... a Billion dollar a year industry.
Along the Pacific shore of the peninsula of Baja California is a system of lagoons, shallow, warm havens, used by the Pacific Gray Whale to mate and give birth. Despite a major salt evaporation plant in one of the lagoons, the Whales return each year. And now Humans come to greet them, by the tens of thousands. Young Whales, only hours old, are brought alongside the little boats full of visitors, by their mothers. The babies lift themselves out of the water to be touched, kissed, stroked, and even embraced. Mom watches, proud, vigilant but trusting.
One even swam under a boat, turned over, and embraced it with her flippers...
Many millions of dollars are earned each year by aquariums and entertainment complexes featuring Dolphins and Orca, the Killer Whales, where people go to simply watch, up close.
Most likely, you have done it yourself...
At the beginning of the Third Millennium, we face a dilemma. On the one hand are the commercial interests of those who would kill and eat the Whales and Dolphins, for profit and to satisfy the perception of needs.
Until now, the arguments for not killing the Cetaceans have been of two kinds.
First, that they are dying off, and are endangered by continued Whaling. Even some species of Dolphins have fallen prey to over hunting and destruction of habitat, threatening their existence.
The second argument has been that they are special, with attributes of communication, intelligence, social structure and even language, and that they are not to be taken from their free lives in the Sea by man. Some even contend that they derive spiritual sustenance from their connection to, their experiences of, the Cetacean family.
The commercialization of watching them, experiencing them, has been the outgrowth to these arguments, demonstrating the fact that Whales and Dolphins are worth more alive than dead.
And both arguments are rejected by the Hunters.
The Hunters say they are entitled by cultural traditions as well, to sustainable use of the Whales and Dolphins, for Human consumption.
The second argument is rejected because it is based on emotions, and has no place in a scientific debate. Period.
A true impasse, which at first appears to be unsolvable.
It is this:
There are several glaring inconsistencies in the system, however. The most obvious is the categorization of Humans, Homo sapiens sapiens. We fall within the category of the Animals.
This was acceptable in the days of Darwin and all the early scientists seeking to understand our evolution and nature. Now we know that there are capabilities of the Human that are not related to the Animal kingdom, are wholly unique to Humans. Logical thought, self-esteem, motivation, joy, euphoria, despair and even schizophrenia are all aspects of the Human experience not shared with animals. We nurture our young for longer, we labor to provide for our declining years, we create vicarious experiences for one another, we contemplate our own mortality.
For these reasons, and one even more difficult to articulate ( a spiritual sense of the transcendant value of life, especially Human), we prohibit the killing of Humans, by universal law. (Wars are our "special case", usually attempts to prevent the unacceptable abuse of other Humans, unless they are the naked aggression of the Dogs of War.....an animal metaphor.)
It has long been recognized that the definition of Humans as animals leaves much to be desired. Something is not correct in this evaluation of ourselves, and we have left ourselves open to subtle kinds of abuse, neglect and mistreatment by carrying this image of ourselves as such. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has yet to be fully ratified...
It is the position of the Cetacean Studies Institute, after many years of study of the relationship between Humans and Cetaceans, that we have been mistaken in our categorization of Cetaceans.
Rather than mammals who live in the sea, animals like any other, they ought properly to be known as the People of the Sea.
They deserve rights and privileges equal to those of Humans, protected by Global law.
In a category by themselves, they would no longer be seen as floating resources, convenient concentrations of fats, muscle and oil, but must be seen as a civilization of benign Beings, so much more ancient than we are that they have foregone simple languages, the need for the making of things, and the endless seeking of advantage, and have come to exist in a balanced world of beauty and grace. Altruistic, helpful, contemplative, creative, humorous, joyful, wise Beings, floating in the peace of understanding, they are another Order of Being.
Mankind has much to thank them for, and forgiveness to ask of them.
We must hope that one day we will find atonement with the long history of killing we have perpetrated on them.
We may one day find the Peace we seek, and it will be when we accept ourselves not as the Crown of Creation, but as one of the Jewels in the Crown, alongside the People of the Sea.
|Mission Statement||Projects||History||Contact Us|
|Japanese Whaling||Dolphintale.com||Return to Cetacean Studies Institute|