Monday, May 7, 2012

Why most arguments against pilot whaling fail

People who are against pilot whaling in the Faroe Islands often refer to the following 12 reasons for why pilot whaling should stop. Here is why 10 of them fail to have an impact on the Faroese and why 2 do have an impact, since they are – partially – right. 

1. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because the pilot whales are endangered. 

The pilot whale is one of the most common whale species in the oceans all over the world, especially the long finned pilot whale. Pilot whales are not endangered according to the authorities in this matter. The NAMMCO (North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission) is the real authority on all matters regarding the North Atlantic pilot whale. The NAMMCO base their estimation on sightings – and they estimate that the number of long finned pilot whales in the North- and East Atlantic is 780.000, and that’s excluding the West Atlantic, so the number might be, even significantly higher. The ACS (American Cetacean Society) agrees with those numbers and the IUCN also agrees that the pilot whale hunt is, as they say: ‘probably sustainable’. The IWC doesn’t consider itself an authority on small cetaceans, of which the long finned pilot whale is one. So the pilot whale is not on the list of endangered animal species. The Sea Shepherd organization stands alone in its claims that the long finned pilot whale is endangered.

The Faroese have killed pilot whales for at least 1.200 years, so the pilot whales should probably have been extinct by now, if the pilot whaling in the Faroes was a threat to the population as a whole. Since 1584 (that is how long it’s been carefully monitored) the Faroese have killed 850 pilot whales (in later years around 800) on average a year, so that’s a tenth of a percent (0.1%) of the pilot whale population only in the North Atlantic, which is very far from exceeding the pilot whales' reproduction rate at around 2%. There is nothing to indicate that the pilot whale population is in decline. As long as the pilot whale is not endangered, this is not a rational argument. So this is a failed argument.

2. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because the pilot whale slaughter is cruel. 

Most images and videos of pilot whale slaughter on the internet are outdated. It doesn’t happen like that any more. The whales are not being stabbed and hacked to death with spears and hooks. Killing methods have improved a lot, especially since the 1980s. Spears are forbidden, and hooks are now rounded and put into the blowholes of the whales to drag them into a better position for a quick kill. New methods have been developed which have decreased the time to death of each whale to 2-4 seconds. The pilot whale slaughters were without a doubt more violent than necessary years ago, but it’s different today. Besides, it is not possible to hunt and kill wild animals in any ‘pretty’ or non-bloody way. No hunting is pretty and bloodless.

People often claim that comparison to other kinds of animal slaughters is not relevant – it is like comparing oranges and apples, they say. But if you accept all animals as equals when it comes to the right not to be killed in a cruel way – and if there is no reason to believe that pilot whale slaughter, as it is conducted today, is crueler than other accepted ways of slaughtering animals, it IS relevant. Because if the slaughter of pilot whales still is labelled ‘cruel’, then many forms of accepted animal slaughter must also be labelled as ‘cruel’. You can’t demand a ban of the slaughter of pilot whales on these grounds, and then NOT demand a ban of other kinds of animal hunting and slaughter just as ‘cruel’.

Furthermore, it wouldn’t be feasible to ban all animal slaughter and therefore, this is not a rational argument. The banning of all hunting of wild animals would also have incalculable consequences for all the indigenous people in this world, who base their livelihoods on hunting. So this is a failed argument.

 3. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because the slaughter is bloody and gory. 

The killing of animals is bloody. It might look ghastly when the sea turns red during a pilot whale slaughter, but basically it doesn’t make this kind of slaughter much different or worse than the common slaughter of captive animals in slaughter houses. All animals bleed and are emptied of blood when they’re slaughtered. The difference is that slaughter houses have drains that go into underground sewers, but you can’t kill pilot whales in a slaughter house. It must be done in the shallows by a beach, which makes this slaughter seem much bloodier or ‘graphic’ than other kinds of slaughters. Pilot whales are also big animals, so of course there is a lot of blood.

Furthermore, since marine mammals can dive for long periods at a time, there is a lot of oxygen in their blood, which means that their blood is more intensely red than blood in mammals on land. This also contributes to the coloring of the sea. Blood also spreads quickly in water. Just try to put one drop of blood in a glass of water and watch what happens.

It’s not a rational argument to say, the Faroese have to stop killing whales because it is too bloody. This is irrational and a failed argument too.

4. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because such a tradition doesn’t belong to the 21st century. They shouldn’t do this just because it is a tradition. 

People in the Faroe Islands don’t kill pilot whales because it is a tradition. They do it for food, as they’ve always done. But opponents call this practice of getting food ‘a tradition’, because this way of living off of the natural resources of the ocean has been common on these islands for more than 1,200 years. Pilot whale meat and blubber is so common and natural for the Faroese to eat that to them this food is no different than beef or bacon is to people in other countries, where they have a tradition for eating cattle or pig meat. It’s just that you can’t breed pilot whales in the same manner as you can breed cattle or pigs. But why would you want to do that, if there is an abundance of pilot whales around the islands living free their whole life? Why would the Faroese deprive the whales of that privilege and somehow cage them or put them in ocean feed lots?

Who’s to decide what belongs to the 21st century or not? Or which traditions are worth keeping for the Faroese or not? It is definitely not for people outside the Faroe Islands to decide. The right word for this is ethnocentrism. That is: judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one’s own culture. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion. Ethnocentrism is not rational, so again a failed argument.

5. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because it’s appalling that the Faroese people are so insensitive to these poor animals. 

This is a purely emotional, judgmental and also an irrational argument, which also belongs to the category: Ethnocentrism. The Faroese people are not more ‘insensitive’ to animals than other people. If the Faroese are to be labelled ‘insensitive’, every meat-eater in the world must be labelled just as insensitive to the animal he or she eats.

People outside the Faroe Islands tend to forget that they also have ‘insensitive’ butchers in the livestock industry in their own country, whom they do not question in the same way. If you do not question the butchers’ ‘insensitive behavior’ in your own country just as much, this is not a valid argument. It’s not only a failed argument, it is also hypocritical.

6. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because it is not necessary for them to kill pilot whales. They have plenty of other foods they can eat. 

It is not up to others to decide, what is necessary for the Faroese and what is not. This is – again: ethnocentrism and shows a lack of understanding or knowledge of the circumstances in the Faroe Islands.

It is also logically inconsistent. With this logic one could just as well claim that it is not ‘necessary’ to breed cattle or pigs for food. Live stock industry depletes and pollutes the earth to a great extent, and the utilization rate of available land for pasture for the breeding of cattle or pigs, for instance, is much lower compared to the utilization rate by growing vegetables directly for human consumption on the same area. But people still feel they have ‘the right’ to have meat for dinner, even if that – from a rational, holistic perspective – is not beneficial nor very sensible, because it means that there is much less food available for the human population as a whole. Therefore, one could just as well say, it is ‘unnecessary’ or even irrational to eat meat from livestock animals in a world on a fast track towards overpopulation.

The fact that the Faroese have access – and the economical opportunity (to a degree) at the moment – to buy (very expensive) imported foods, is not a valid argument against the Faroese utilizing locally available resources. Unlike people living in warmer climates with lots of flatland and space they can use for breeding and feeding livestock, the Faroe Islands is a very limited, quite mountainous area in the middle of the ocean in one of the stormiest areas in the world with almost no flatland or fertile soil, where you only can grow grass for the sheep to eat, a few potatoes and some rhubarb, as well as farm some salmon in the fjords. It’s still not enough food for the inhabitants, though. Summer season is also very short. (We’re in the beginning of May right now and it has been snowing for a couple of days).

Regardless, it’s still not for others to decide, what the Faroese need or don’t need. So a failed argument again.

7. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because the whales are intelligent.

Measuring intelligence is highly complex, and scientists do not agree on how to precisely measure intelligence, even when it comes to people.

Sea Shepherd founder Capt. Watson claims that it is a sign of highly developed intelligence that the whales have figured out how to live in harmony with nature, unlike us humans, so therefore they are more intelligent than people. Okay, if that is his logic, he could just as well claim a squirrel is more intelligent than humans. A squirrel also lives in harmony with nature, and nobody would say that a squirrel is more intelligent than a human being for that reason. Capt. Watson is just being manipulative.

There is no doubt that bottle-nosed dolphins are some of the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom. Dolphins are good at learning tricks, especially in captivity – also pilot whales to a degree. Dolphins are proven more intelligent than most other animals, but they are still very far from being as intelligent as people. And not all whales rank that high. The pilot whale is in the dolphin family, but pilot whales are not the most intelligent of the dolphins. Pilot whales are not especially intelligent in comparison to many other mammals either. Other animal species that humans kill for food are also proven highly ‘intelligent’. So this argument is inconsistent, if those who claim it is wrong to kill pilot whales because of their intelligence do not also oppose the killing of other intelligent animals for food.

Whether humans should refrain from killing “intelligent” animals or not is a matter of opinion. And there is no rational reason for claiming that one opinion is morally more right than the other. So again a failed argument. (See also under 9. here below).

8. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because the whales are sentient and sociable.

Yes, pilot whales are sentient and sociable, that is true. And so are all other animals too, more or less. Animals, most people in the world eat – like cows and pigs, even chickens – are also sentient and sociable. So you can’t on the one hand say that the Faroese shouldn’t kill whales on these grounds, and at the same time accept the killing of other sentient and sociable animals.

If you are against the killing of animals because they are sentient and sociable, you are inconsistent if you don’t include all animals in the equation – that is: you must also oppose the killing of cattle, pigs and chickens, yes, any animal in fact. That is unrealistic. So… failed argument.

9. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because they kill entire pods. Whales have strong ties to their group and killing entire pods is the same as wiping out a whole culture. 

If that is so, then it would have been even more cruel to kill half of the pod and let the other half go free. The whales have strong ties to their group, yes, but to claim that the whales have a culture – and by killing an entire pod, you wipe out a whole culture – is quite far-fetched, and just another one of Capt. Watson’s manipulative claims, manufactured to affect people emotionally who have a tendency to romanticize these “gentle giants” – as if they are some kind of ‘human beings of the sea’. But this is belief – not a fact.

There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that pilot whales develop any kind of advanced cultures like human beings. They are sociable animals and they communicate with each other, yes, and they might act friendly to people, but so do dogs and pigs for the most part as well. On these grounds you could just as well say these animals have some kind of ‘culture’ too. It doesn’t make the whale any more special than dogs or pigs, for instance, or many other animals.

Whales are wild animals and there are examples of whales attacking people unprovoked, also pilot whales, even though they mostly let humans in peace, probably because humans are not interesting as prey for them. Whales are carnivores. They kill and eat other animal species. In other words, they are nothing special. They are not good, they are not bad. They are just animals, even though they might be fascinating in some ways, because they’re so big and relatively intelligent too – as far as animals are concerned.

Some people, who feel saddened by the alarming development in our ailing world as a whole, just seem to have a strong need for turning the whales into something special: A symbol of something more innocent and more pure than us humans. These people seem to project their hopes for a better world into these animals and thus, they elevate them into something they’re not. Consequently, everyone who kills these animals must therefore ‘commit an evil act’ destroying the best things in this world, and therefore should be strongly opposed. This is romantic, but not rational. So this is also a failed argument.

10. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because, despite of what the Faroese claim, the whaling is commercial. There is evidence that shows that you can buy whale meat in supermarkets and in restaurants. 

It is true that one sometimes can buy pilot whale meat and blubber in a supermarket or in a restaurant – in small amounts, but this is not evidence that the pilot whaling is done for commercial purposes. It’s not – and it won’t be in the future either. The pilot whale catch is distributed for free among those assisting in catching the whales and the local village communities in the area, as well as to hospitals, elderly homes and orphanages in the nearby areas.

Sometimes, in small villages with not many inhabitants, there might be a surplus which might end up on the shelfs in a supermarket or in a restaurant in Tórshavn, the capital, but this could never become big business, because – as already stated – the vast majority of the people who want whale meat and blubber can get it for free, so there is no reason for them to go into the supermarket and buy it.

A few restaurants and hotels offer pilot whale meat and blubber to tourists during the summer season, because, of course, there are tourists curious enough to taste the Faroese national dish, but this is done on a very small scale, and could never become a big business. So again, pilot whaling is not done for commercial purposes. It doesn’t and wouldn’t pay in any way. So this argument fails.

11. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because this tradition damages the image of their country in the outside world. 

This is partially right. At least it might very well hurt the image some people have of the Faroe Islands and the Faroese people (if they have any image of the islands and their people, that is). It depends, though, on their worldview – and especially their view on whales. It seems that many people, who consider whales to be very special creatures, find it very disturbing and even ‘sick’ that the Faroese kill pilot whales. Based on the thousands of protesting letters the Faroese authorities receive every year, it is obvious that the majority of the protesters are city-dwellers and/or children – not people living directly in nature and off of nature’s larder.

The fact is that the Faroese also get significant support from many people around the world, mainly people who live in parts of the world where they also hunt animals for food. These people have a worldview similar to the Faroese and understand the circumstances in the Faroe Islands. It is also a fact that tourists visiting the islands are curious to taste pilot whale meat and blubber, which is why it is offered usually as a starter on the menu in the summer season in a few restaurants in the Faroe Islands. It wouldn’t seem that these tourists are opposed to pilot whaling.

Though the anti-whaling activists would want everyone to believe that “the whole world” is against pilot whaling in the Faroe Islands, there is reason to believe that the majority is quite indifferent and hasn’t taken a stand on this question. Anti-whaling activists have for many years endorsed that the Faroe Islands should be boycotted by the international community as long as they kill pilot whales. But they have never succeeded in getting any real support for these efforts.

It seems that the series “Whale Wars – Viking Shores” aired in the USA for the time being, which deals with the Sea Shepherd Organization’s interference with the pilot whaling in the Faroe Islands, has divided the viewers. It’s likely that many take the anti-whaling activists side, but judging from all the comments, for instance, on YouTube and Facebook, it seems that just as many take the Faroese side. Among other things the series has revealed natures stunning beauty in the Faroe Islands, and also that the Faroese have a very strong culture. Many of the commentators declare that now that they have had an impression of how it is in the Faroe Islands, these beautiful islands have become one of those places they feel they must visit at least once before they die. So after all, this series might turn out to be an effective advertisement for the Faroe Islands for a lot of people around the world, who never knew this place existed before they saw the series.

12. The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because pilot whale meat and blubber are contaminated and it is dangerous for the Faroese people’s health to eat it. 

Of all the allegations mentioned above, only this last one is truly a valid point seen from a rational point of view, even though the health dangers are kind of exaggerated. But it does not change the fact that it is still up to the Faroese to decide for themselves, whether they want to eat contaminated food or not.

The Faroese will likely stop the pilot whaling gradually over the coming years, because pilot whale meat and blubber does contain mercury/methyl mercury at levels considered too high. Pilot whales also contain other toxins coming from man-made pollution, like PCB and DTD. And there are indications that exposure to some of these contaminants may affect human fetuses and their development. This fact is absolutely relevant and the majority of the Faroese people recognize this. But the anti-whaling activists often exaggerate the effects of this contamination, which are more subtle than they let people believe. There has, for instance, not been one single reported fatality due to eating pilot whale meat and blubber, not ever.

As was first demonstrated with lead, and then with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and methyl mercury, exposures in early life to neurotoxic chemicals can interfere with brain development and produce long-lasting detrimental effects on cognition and behavior. A new generation of chemicals termed endocrine disruptors – among them phthalates, bisphenol A, and certain pesticides – which can alter the availability and actions of endogenous hormones, is suspected of being capable of interfering with early brain development. It is hypothesized that certain chemical exposures in early life, perhaps acting in concert with genetic and social factors, may impact the prevalence of developmental disabilities across the population, and account in part for the apparent population-wide increases in neurodevelopmental abnormalities observed over recent years.

As stated, these are indications – not finally proven conclusions, but it is, of course, still very important to study this further, and take precautions.

The long-term intakes of total mercury, methyl mercury and cadmium from eating pilot whale in the Faroe Islands have been estimated. The long-term intakes of both total and methyl mercury exceed the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intakes (PTWI) recommended by WHO. For the general population the PTWI’s are 300 and 200 μg mercury per person per week for total and methyl mercury, respectively. The calculated intake of methyl mercury approaches the lower value (1200 μg/person/week) of the recognized critical level of methyl mercury intoxication in the general population.

It is therefore concluded in several studies that the general Faroe Islands population should significantly restrict the consumption of pilot whale foods. One study (Dr. Pál Weihe’s) concludes the Faroese should totally refrain from it. The Faroese health authorities have looked into this study and also looked at other studies, and what they have come to is not as radical. They recommend that pregnant women, or women who plan on being pregnant, should not eat pilot whale foods at all, as the critical levels for methyl mercury intoxication of pregnant women and fetuses are lower by a factor of 2–5 than for the general population. They do not recommend that pilot whale meat and blubber should be served to younger children, while it seems to be within safe limits for the rest of the population to eat pilot whale meat and blubber once to twice a month.

The Faroese people are not indifferent to this unfortunate development. People are taking action personally – many do not serve pilot whale meat and blubber to their children any longer, and most younger women as well as child-bearing women choose not to eat pilot whale meat and blubber at all. The local authorities in the different whaling districts are making efforts to restrict pilot whaling even more than it was before, making sure that those involved don’t kill more whales than people can eat. The local village whaling associations who manage the catching of the whales agree with these restrictions, because they accept what science has shown.

But as long as the health authorities haven’t recommended that the Faroese population as a whole completely refrain from eating pilot whale meat and blubber (which, by the way, is the Faroese national dish), and, as long as pilot whaling is done in a responsible, sustainable, care-taking manner, the Faroese see no reason for stopping pilot whaling altogether. And they think that there is absolutely no valid reason for others to interfere in Faroese matters, trying to force the Faroese not to utilize this natural resource in their own country.

70 comments:

  1. I know the tree huggers will hate my comment. But, I'm watching the Whale Wars episode about the grind right now and I have to say it's making me hungry. I just tried to find some of this meat online (unsuccessful) and would have bought some. It must be my viking blood. Happy hunting and maybe I'll visit there sometime if one of you will promise to invite me to dinner. I have to have a distant relative there somewhere. Greetings from America.

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    1. @ Anonymous,

      There is the equivalent of a craigs list in the faroese language list where pilot whale is sold. Elin can surely provide the link for you.

      Maybe the two of you should communicate privately though because the shipment of cetacean or pilot whale meat into the US is "illegal", for reasons both of you may not understand.

      However you do have the option of contacting your nearest coastal state authorized Hazardous or Toxic Waste Disposal Site, where a variety of recently stranded dead dolphin and whale carcasses are processed. Bon appetit !

      Greetings from your Garbage Man .

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    2. Ironic, because after watching it I wanted to try some. I have nordic and slavic blood, so my people never ate Whale to my knowledge, but whatever. I am in the U.S. as well and I couldn't get any shipped to me, how did you do it?

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  2. Dear Elin,

    From The American Cetacean Society:

    "The pilot whale, like the killer whale, is a member of the dolphin family, and is second only to the killer whale in size. It does well in captivity, and is easily trained, displaying intelligence equal to that of the bottlenose dolphin. One captive pilot whale named Morgan was trained by Navy scientists to retrieve beeper-attached objects from the ocean floor at depths of over 1,600 feet. Carrying a clamping recovery device in his mouth, he attached it to the located object, which was then raised to the surface by compressed air balloons. "

    FACT : In recent decades according to a compilation of international fisheries records it has been estimated that aproximately 300,000.00 cetaceans are killed yearly as bycatch. This is a result of modern day trawling, long lining ,gill netting and discarded fishing gear. Other threats to their populations are seismic testing, naval sonar exercises, ship strikes, pollution and climate change . Circumstances have changed over the past 1200.00 years and multiple threats to pilot whales and all cetaceans exist whether you choose to accept the current reality or not.


    There has been no data or assessment of these "other" threats as to how they have , over the last 2 decades in particular, impacted or diminished long finned pilot whale populations .

    The last official assessment of l.f pilot whales' full habitat range populations was completed in 1989.(see IUCN red list) Only a "partial", incomplete reassessment was conducted by NAMMCO in 1994, which even NAMMCO admits , was incomplete due to logistical difficulties incurred through the course of the assessment. A full reassessment of population is long overdue, which is reflected in the "data deficient" status as per the IUCN red list. The distinct possibility exists that if the current "unknown" population has declined up to 30% over the last 72 years, the status of these pilot whales is "vulnerable".

    Recent 2007 review by IUCN red list authority:

    "Threats that could cause widespread declines include high levels of anthropogenic sound, especially military sonar and seismic surveys, and bycatch. Primary threats that could cause widespread declines include entanglement in fisheries and competition with squid fisheries The combination of possible declines driven by these factors is believed sufficient that a 30% global reduction over three generations (72 years; Taylor et al. 2007) cannot be ruled out (criterion A).


    Summary points from ASCOBANS' recent meeting in Galway Ireland, March 2012

    8. It would therefore seem that the Faroese hunt does not meet the criteria to be considered sustainable under the ASCOBANS definition. In fact, the lack of both reliable data on abundance and any indication that other causes for anthropogenic removal are being taken into account would make it impossible to reach such a conclusion. Until much
    more robust data on all relevant factors have been collected and evaluated through independent mechanisms, a precautionary approach would necessitate a firm restriction of deliberate takes.

    12. In conclusion, there seems to be sufficient indication of a direct link between the groups of pilot whales the ASCOBANS Parties are making efforts to protect, and the “stock” utilised in the drive hunts of the Faroe Islands. The average exploitation level in combination with other threats could amount to an unacceptable interaction as defined by Resolution 3.3. Given the legitimate concerns in relation to the conservation efforts made under ASCOBANS, Parties may wish to consider making a call for a much more precautionary approach and the enforcement of strict limits to annual catch numbers, and pursuing this through diplomatic channels.

    It seems that your overall view is in conflict with that of the international scientific community.

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  3. Sorry, I have a lot more to dispute based on scientific grounds. I know the Faroese in general despise Paul Watson or SSCS, well, fine, I understand ,but to imply that Paul Watson's knowledge of marine biology and oceanography is fabricated or as you suggest purely "manipulative", is totally, well, fabricated or manipulative on your part.


    "The Faroese should stop killing pilot whales because they kill entire pods. Whales have strong ties to their group and killing entire pods is the same as wiping out a whole culture. "

    "There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that pilot whales develop any kind of advanced cultures like human beings."

    Hal Whitehead, PhD. Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA "Dolphin Drives Destroy Cultures of the Ocean"

    "It is becoming increasingly clear that whales and dolphins are cultural animals. Different groups exhibit dialects, social traditions, and unique ways of making a living. Like humans, they learn much of their behavior from each other and pass this learned behavior down through the generations. When Dolphin hunts remove individual animals from their habitat; they also remove their learned knowledge. When they remove a whole group, a unique and adaptive body of knowledge is gone. Thus, whole learned cultural traditions can be decimated by the drive hunts and the adaptive impact on populations may be devastating. Just as many fight to preserve human cultures in the face of genocide or globalization, we should also find it morally repugnant and tragic to lose the cultures of the ocean."

    Lots more "scientific evidence" out there, if you care enough to look.

    Take Care and Happy Mother's Day, Elin !

    Summer

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  4. I will say that many species of animal are thought to be intelligent, yet people don't think twice about killing them. I'm not talking about Elephants, or apes, or even cetaceans.

    Did you know that Corvids (crows, ravens, magpies, jays) teach their chicks how to use tools and how to make tools? That they can solve puzzles, and some maybe self aware? Some chicks stay with their parents and help raise young. Corvids have brain to body ratio similar to that of the great apes and cetaceans, yet many are considered pests. Farmers will shoot them on sight, even if it is illegal. Other animals hunt them, does that make the dogs that eat them immoral?

    Pigs are considered to be very intelligent. They can use mirrors to find food behind them. As of yet, researchers are unsure if they pass the mirror self recognition test, but signs are pointing towards yes. Two pigs can learn from each other- the test was that pig B knows where there is a cache of food stored. Pig A learns from Pig B where this food is stored, but Pig B will try to deceive and throw Pig A off the trail to the food. Yet most "civilized" nations like to put them in pens just big enough for them to lay down, feed them unhealthy foods to fatten them up, and slaughter them for food. Yet nobody is advocating their intelligence.

    Cephalopods (Octopus, squid, cuttledish, and nautiluses) are a great mystery to most people. They look like aliens, and while they spend most of their time in the oceans, some octopuses are known to move tide pool to tide pool in search of food. These animals lack a spine- they are invertebrates, yet may be as smart as dolphins and apes. There is no definite answer on how smart these animals are, because their nervous systems are vastly different from vertebrates (no spines!). Even so, they have been known to use tools for camouflage and protection (coconut shells) and carry them for later use (planning!). Squids use their color-changing abilities to send messages to other squids (communication!). Octopuses can open jars to get to a crab inside the jar (Puzzle solving!). Instead of chasing crabs, they will raid lobster traps, or even climb on board ships and eat the dead and dying crabs. Humboldt squid are show very impressive intelligence- They will work together to round up schools of fish. This pack like behavior has never been seen in invertebrates. Octopuses kept in aquariums can figure out how to smash the glass with rocks, and how to cause short circuits by squirting a jet of water at their heating lamps. Some will escape when looking for more food- there is a case of an octopus escaping its tank, going in another, eating the shark in there, and returning to its home tank all before the aquarium staff come in for work the next day. Classical conditioning and observational learning of cephalopods has been reported, yet many disagree with these claims. Perhaps it is because eating squid and octopus is considered high class, and people do not want to acknowledge that these animals may be incredibly intelligent?

    These are three cases of intelligent animals that many people do not know about, and continue to kill them. No one protests squid fishing, pig farming (not factory farming as a whole, but free-range) or crow shooting.

    May I mention that bottlenose dolphins like to bully to death other species of smaller cetaceans, rape both their own kind and other kind's females, and practice infanticide? Orcas will rip a humpback whale calf's jaw off to get to the calf's tongue, and then leave the calf for dead. They do not even eat the rest of the body, just the tongue.

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    1. Continuing from the last post...

      So how do I feel about the Faroese hunting pilot whales (really dolphins)? I realize that they live in a remote area, and that there isn't much that grows there. It is a local hunt, and the food is distributed for free among the Faroese people. It's sustainable- even the IUCN has said so. Less than 1% of the estimated local population (100,000) is hunted each year (annual average catch is 850-950). The way the Faroese hunt these cetaceans isn't putting them at risk of extinction. They wait for the whales to come to them, not actively seek out whales. If less whales come to them, the less they hunt. They could eat foods from far away lands and add to the pollution and decrease of other, more endangered species, but chose to eat local.
      As long as "civilized" nations continue to eat squid/octopus, pig, and kill crows, I see nothing wrong with eating pilot whales. Whole shoals of squids are fished up, perhaps they are losing culture. Murders of crows are well... murdered, maybe there is a lost tradition of tool usage their. Pigs are tortured for their meat, yet "civilized" people call the Faroese inhumane?

      Whose to say that other animals are intelligent. Maybe a cow is intelligent. Do I think people will test this? No, because beef is a staple for most people. People only want to believe "convenient" things. Believing cetaceans are intelligent is convenient to the western world, because most western people do not eat cetaceans. It's also convenient to protest the hunting of cetaceans, because cetacean hunters are in the minority. Pork eaters, crow shooters and calamari enjoyers are in the majority.

      Sorry for the long post, but those are points that need to be thought over by everyone.

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  5. According to the blog the number of pilot whales the Faroese kill is even less than that:
    "Since 1584 (that is how long it’s been carefully monitored) the Faroese have killed 850 pilot whales (in later years around 800) on average a year, so that’s a tenth of a percent (0.1%) of the pilot whale population only in the North Atlantic."

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  6. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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  7. Pilot whales also eat very intelligent animals. They eat squids.

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  8. Mmmmm....Has anyone learned anything in middle school about this dude Darwin and his largely supported thesis on species in this world "Survival of the Fittest" If them damn pilot whales where so smart then they would learn to avoid the islands and avoid being lured in or they could try fighting back to prove that they shouldn't be sushi...Paul watsonfag needs to get eaten by Hannibal lecture because hes that unintelligent and the Cracken of the sea needs to destroy the sea Shepard for the crews sheer stupidity...THE WORLD IS A VAMPIRE dunnananana = )

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    1. The ocean is the whales home, they don't deserve to be herded by idiots in boats towards the shore to be slaughtered. By your mentality of survival of the fittest it would be ok for people to herd other people less fit into a corner and slaughter them...get real. If everyone had the idea it is acceptable to kill all the wildlife the world would cease to exist in no time. I learned that Darwin and his "theory" is just that, a theory and not factual. There is a reason it is called the "theory" of evolution and not the "fact" of evolution, because there is no facts about it. The whale is an unclean animal full of toxins never intended to be consumed by animals just like pigs.

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    2. darwin never coined/said/used the phrase "survival of the fittest"

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    3. Exactly, if a shark ate me no one should be angry because it's part of nature. I hate how hippies claim to be closer to nature yet know nothing about it.

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  9. Anyone try frog legs????? Yeyeeeeee.....This show sucks I dont even know why im bloggin on this pointless worthless fagless gayless stinkyness piece of donkey dodo of a show. Those fat orca whales need to ralley up and bang Paul watson in his fat belly button roll and make little fat hybrid paul wallwatson whale merman babies that try to terrorize and rape all wicked 1000 pound tuna so them fishermen can unite together and forget there homo erotic issues among them selves and combine there boats to create a megatunatron boat so they can battle all the paul wallwatson merman babies and stop the genocide of the wicked tuna. That would be a great show and i assume all copyrights. Yeyeeeeee turtle man style Im still thinking of the ending and the second movie, feel free to throw suggestions dont expect that I will pay you in whale jizzz for all you whale jizz lovers

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    1. Im looking forward to the production of this movie and will be accepting rice and beans as payment to try and hire actor Paul Walker

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    2. wow, my 8 year old has more maturity than you, but hey by your posts it doesn't look like it takes much to beat you.

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  10. Well Elin I would say your Nonsensical argument here is very slanted! Esp. since you grew up with these cruel traditions and they are seared into your beliefs! Throughout your spiel, you show no compassion or even common courtesy for Whales or a man that's dedicated his entire life to a great cause! Well, it goes to show just how ignorant people who grow up on an isolated island can be, and your no exception! I have lived on a farm all my life, I never met a chicken or a cow that was intelligent and to compare them to a whale is ignorant at best! You obviously don't know much about the United States Military or Whales do you expert? We have used Dolphins, Pilot Whales and Killer Whales among other intelligent sea life in important operations for over 50 years! Their intelligence and and natural abilities have proven invaluable to the United States Navy and Citizens as a whole! (Proof being, the U.S. is the super power of the world aren't we?) We have the Greatest Military in the world do we not? These highly evolved Mammals have far more importance, intelligence and purpose than you ignorant islanders give them credit for! One more thing you say "Faroese have access – and the economical opportunity(to a degree) at the moment – to buy (very expensive) imported foods" YEAH RIGHT My Government, the United States President, is taking strong action against Iceland's Whaling! You say you kill only enough whales for your islands consumption, well my Country calls you liars! Iceland has exported more than 1000 tons of whale meat, blubber and oil, worth millions of US dollars, to Japan, Norway and to your Faroe Islands, and has even sent illegal shipments of whale products to Latvia and Belarus. The fact is 20 percent of Faroe Islands' national budget comes as economic aid from Denmark. To say your a well off nation or self sustainable is a reach! In return Denmark helps you because the U.S. gives the Danish breaks in Trade agreements, Industry, Markets and many more including free education to not just Danish but most foreign exchange students! As an American I will support and help encourage my country at the very least, to boycott your country! Americans should not step one foot on the Faroe Islands in support of tourism! I don't know if you believe in a Supreme maker or any Cosmic Order but it would be Ironic if one day the roles are reversed and you find yourself, to be a hunted Whale! I would love to be a fish in the sea that day when, someone sticks a hook in your blowhole and takes your life with a 2-3 second carving! You know humans are mammals, I wonder if you might feel the Whales pain if a superior race came to earth and decided we were dinner but slit our throats humanly and quickly! Haha Your a Joke!

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    1. Please read my posts before this joke of a post is really considered to stay published on this website and let my posts burn in the back of your eyes and brain until you can remember them word for word. Its the most common sense of all if pilot whales where superiorally intelligent like you claim they are they would of figured out a way to avoid death by using only small percentage of there brain power but yet there so dumb they practically swim willingly into the shores of there hunters and hope for a quick death because they no longer can stand being that unintelligent. Seriously you think USA(The Greatest Military Power in the World) is going to let some pilot whale do an important operation if its dumb enough to swim into the hands of (The Smallest Military in the World)the Faroese and let the Islanders shank them and kill them in the matter of seconds all because the dumb ass pilot whales can't recognize the Faroese are trying to heard them to the shore where they cannot escape and swim and flap around like the helpless dumb animals that they are. Get real, please recognize that USA (The greatest Military Power in the World) would not use an animal so susceptible to capture. Please do not try to argue back with your proof and evidence because there is nothing in this world you can convince me with.

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    2. Your right, you can't convince a stupid moronic idiot of anything, just like your posts. The only reason the USA seems to think they are the greatest of anything is because the Jesuit order and freemasons have made this so and the USA will play its role in the destruction of the world, so who cares. How long can the USA continue in the destructive path they are on? The USA economy is on a fast downward spiral to collapse and then what. Your IQ is fare exceeded by your shoe size.

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  11. Hi Chrissy,
    Why would I show courtesy to a man that calls my beloved home country The Ferocious Isles, and lies about the Faroese in media all over the world, calling them child abusers and comparing them to mass murderers like Ted Bundy or even Anders Breivik.

    I understand that he - and you obviously - are very angry at me and other Faroese because we do not worship pilot whales in the same way as you do. I do, personally, admire pilot whales as the magnificent animals they are, but they are still animals to me. Not humans. I feel compassion for them and I appreciate and respect them just as much as I appreciate and respect all other animals.

    I think all animals deserve to be treated with utmost care while they are alive - and if they're going to be killed anyway for food (because we humans can't deny we're carnivores), I think they deserve to be killed as humanely as possible. That goes for pilot whales too.

    As for comparison of the intelligence of pilot whales and pigs, for instance, you should perhaps do some more research. Here is just one example: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/hidden-lives-pigs.aspx And still people in your country kill pigs in the billions.

    But I guess it would be no point in trying to argue with you since you obviously have made up your mind about me and my fellow countrymen as some kind of monsters who deserve nothing more than to get our throats slit. I'm sorry to tell you that by using such hostile rhetoric you fail miserably in trying to convince me - or any Faroese. If you really want to defend the whales against the 'monstrous' Faroese people, you must really do better than that.

    I would recommend to read one of my other blog posts: http://elinbrimheimheinesen.blogspot.com/2012/05/whale-warfare.html - but it probably won't change anything anyway.

    So let me try to argue a little bit your way: You seem to think that you and other Americans are superior to the Faroese - both ethically as humans and as a military power. Well, you're absolutely right when it comes to the size of the military, but I've seen far worse things going on in regard to animal mistreatment in the USA on the net than I've ever seen here in the Faroe Islands:

    This is happening in farms/farm factories in U.S.A.:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYTkM1OHFQg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6E8H3C1CrU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBR4FlrWVk4

    And since you seem to admire the American military and their use of animals so much, I guess that this might be interesting for you to see as well:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DXClqfvla4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp2cmWMOJqk

    In my view this is much crueler than anything I've seen in my country - ever.

    The Americans kill whales too by the way. This is happening in Alaska, U.S.A.:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjptuS7c4q0

    And more about bow-whale hunt in Alaska, USA:
    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/alaska-native-villages-blessed-bountiful-whaling-season-thus-far

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    1. Beluga hunt in Alaska, USA (very much like grind in the Faroes):
      http://finnskimo.blogspot.se/2010/06/this-funny-little-law.html
      http://tursiops.org/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=4456

      To be fair, not only Americans engage in mass animal slaughters. Here it is about reindeers in Sweden:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL7vAAzul5E
      And the same through the eyes of animal right activists (notice the difference: the emphasis on emotionally disturbing pictures):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vgZ2IYx5Rc

      'Matanza' (slaughter) of tuna in the Meditteranean:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7au8lgWYguQ
      (and even more graphic):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0QhVLNc1uM

      Okay, enough of this nonsense now. But it would seem, from your logic, that the Faroese should probably boycott the USA as a tourist destination - as well as quite a few other countries...

      Note that I don't think that two wrongs make one right. My point is just, that there is no reason for pointing out the Faroese as worse than everybody else. And that perhaps it's not so wise to be so self-righteous. You might just be kidding yourself.

      Some wise people have said at some point in time:
      "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
      -Bertrand Russel.

      "Absolute confidence and clarity is the privelege of fools and fanatics".
      -Ronald Dworkin

      I'm personally not so sure that the Faroese should continue killing pilot whales. I just can't see the big difference, basically, between what the Faroese do and what other people in other countries do to get food on their table.

      I happen to think that it is not for others to decide what the Faroese should do or shouldn't do, as long as the pilot whale is not endangered as a species and pilot whaling in the Faroes is not in itself causing any significant decline in the pilot whale population, which it doesn't.

      As I said, I feel compassionate in regard to any animal. I appreciate animals, especially those, who sacrifice their lives in order for us humans to survive. I respect pilot whales just as highly as other kinds of animals, who also deserve the same respect. So as long as the pilot whale slaughter isn't crueler than so many other ways of widely accepted slaughters of animals, perhaps just as intelligent, sentient and sociable, I really can't see, why pilot whaling in the Faroes is regarded differently.

      I could just as well say that "you grew up with your cruel traditions and they are seared into your beliefs", so you've become so blind that you only see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye...

      If people in the rest of the world really have any better arguments against pilot whaling, then put them forward and lets talk together with respect. You probably would succeed in convincing some Faroese that way.

      But it won't do the cause any good to scold the Faroese and trying to make them the scapegoats of this world - especially when your people are no better themselves, perhaps even much worse.

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    2. You are missing the point, it doesn't matter whether the whale hunt is in Alaska or the Feroecious Islands, it is wrong anywhere in the world. What I don't get is you have a festival honoring the person who brought Christianity to the islands and yet whales are an unclean animals never intended to be consumed by humans, yet you eat it and feed it to your children who are defenseless against eating a toxic infested creature. One of the commandments is thou shalt not kill. Feeding this to your children will do this by disease as it will to anyone that consumes it. Whales naturally have carcinogens (cancer causing) and PCBs in their blubber. Whales don't deserve the cruelty brought upon them by the people of the Faroese Islands, but I guess if you want to eat something that will kill you then Karma for those who believe in that will play it role. What comes around goes around. Hopefully one day soon the United Nations will step in and put a stop to the mindless slaughtering of innocent whales.

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    3. The Faroese people are one of people with the longest life expectancies in the world. Around 80 years - men slight under 80 and women slightly over 84, so obviously the whales aren't as deadly as you say they are.

      That's many years more than people in the United States that don't eat whales.

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  12. Humans are not carnivores. Many of us choose not to eat meat at all for health and ethical reasons. I have not knowingly eaten meat in 19 years. Don't miss it. While I do believe there is something fundamentally different about raising chickens as livestock and herding pods of whales onto the shore so they they can be slaughtered, I disagree with all of it. I don't necessarily support Sea Shepherd, but I am almost certain that you would find most of them are vegetarians. I seriously doubt they are sitting down to a roast after a long day of interfering with grinds.

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  13. You Faroese are same kind of people as the Congolese who eat pigmy, because they taste good and the Rwandese who killed their own. Massacre lovers! You pretend you are hunting. Like the Americans exterminated the bisons. Congratulations!
    You are nothing but violent monkeys. No better, no worse. Under some polish of civilization, you are in fact nothing but primitive animals. You and the Danish, who, from economic reason, territorial waters likely, keep you under protectorate and finance you ridiculous clowns. Should see the face of some Danish acquaintances when I tell them what they really are: primitive barbarians.
    You Faroese and Danish are laughable jokes for civilized human beings.
    And I'll just go donate to Seashepherd just to irk you a bit. I meet then quite a while back in Galapagos, and they were wonderful people. Thank you for showing me the way.

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    1. Actually, no the Faroese are not. Why? Pilot whales are not the same species as the Faroese. Pygmy peoples are the same species as he Congolese, and the Rwandese are the also the same species. I'm not even saying this from a moral/ethical standpoint, but from a health standpoint. You don't eat your own kind, because that risks transferring diseases, like herpes, AIDS, prion diseases, and other blood borne pathogens.
      Cetaceans are not humans. They never will be. We are humans.
      Why do people think insults will win their way? Peace and care will get us much further than hate and name calling. Elementary school should have taught you that.

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  14. What a sick attitude: "I appreciate animals, especially those, who sacrifice their lives in order for us humans to survive."
    You are nuts, Elin.

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    1. You know, that attitude isn't going to gain you any respect... I don't understand why people can't just say "I disagree with you." Why sit there and insult others? To feel better about yourself?

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    2. I´m not looking for respect. And I truly don´t feel that I´m insulting anybody. On the contrary, I´m telling the truth. A person who thinks that there are "animales who sacrifice their lives in order for us humans to survive." is not normal. No animal sacrifices its life. It is simply killed and that´s it.

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    3. People in the Faroes have always been very God-fearing. In the old days the Faroese believed, that the whales were a gift from God, because without them, people wouldn't have survived on these islands. So they believed that the animals 'sacrificed' themselves in order for the people to survive. In their view this was Gods will.

      By the way, I've read that American Indians as well as inuits and indigenous people in Northern Siberia believe that the animals, they hunt, give their lives or 'sacrifice' themselves to humans. In their belief it's part of a higher order in nature.

      These old beliefs were what I was referring to. Not that I believe this to be true myself - so this was not meant to be understood literary. I don't believe either that neither indians, inuits and siberians are nuts. They just have a very different view of nature than the average big city dweller.

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  15. How about people in the Faroes stop killing pilot whales because the levels of mercury contained in the meat has been deemed dangerous. I would not knowingly feed my child/loved ones meat contaminated with mercury. Mercury remains in the systems indefinitley, has been linked with developmental disorders and effects the heart, lungs and immune system. And although the Faroees are not responsbile for the pollution they should take note of the warnings given. Whaling is no longer essential for living! so act responsibly and stop.

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  16. YOU ARE AN IDIOT AND YOUR BLOG IS NOTHING BUT INGNORATE BS

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    1. What an intelligent argument filled with backed up facts and details.

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  17. Dear Elin,
    What you’ve failed to address in your writing is the cultural relativism used by the Faroe Islanders. You’re actually using it yourself: “it’s still not for others to decide, what the Faroese need or don’t need”. You seem to miss the point; outsiders, who are not brought up in a tradition of whale killing, see these killings as unspeakably brutal and unnecessary. Imagine a cultural practice that you vehemently oppose (say, female circumcision/genital mutilation) and hearing someone condoning this practice by saying: “it’s not for others to decide, what we need or don’t need”. Imagine your response to such a statement. All the emotions you’d feel, all the arguments building in your head as to why it is essentially wrong to hurt another sentient being, are the reason why we, as outsiders, so strongly object to the whale slaughter.
    One last point: in the comments section, you’re using the logical fallacy called ‘te quoque’. You’re giving all kinds of examples of other nations killing whales as well. As a teacher, I often hear his argumentation of the “they do it too” kind used by my pupils. I hope you’ll understand that I never, ever, accept such nonsense in the classroom, and neither will I accept it used by a university graduate. To be frank, you should bloody well (no pun intended) know better.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      No, I don't think I miss the point. Try to read some of my other blog posts and you will see that I do actually understand very well how (some) outsiders feel about this whole issue. But how many of them are really trying to understand the Faroese?

      I have been living abroad in a big city for more than 20 years and I know very well, how many people, especially big city dwellers, think and feel. I actually sometimes see the Faroese pilot whaling practice as an outsider and sometimes it makes me feel the same way as they do. I respect that this is how many people feel. That is why I've been trying to create a dialogue about this issue on my blog, where people can express themselves freely, by putting all the arguments out there.

      I just happen to think that facts and reason should decide what is right or wrong - not only emotions. Not even when a majority of people "feels" in a certain way.

      People in different cultures feel very differently, and it is very, very difficult to argue and reach any agreement on the basis of feelings and emotions. That's why I believe that our best chance to reach out and actually understand one another is by sticking to facts and reason. That is our only chance to get anywhere if we want to move forward.

      As for the logical fallacy, you claim I'm using, called "Tu qoque", which I as an university graduate, according to you, should know is unacceptable in an argument:

      Well, I think you have missed the point here. You've taken the arguments I used out of the context. Read my post again and you'll see that I started this series of arguments with this sentence: "So let me try to argue a little bit your way". And right after the same series of arguments, I wrote: "Okay, enough of this nonsense now."

      I was trying to make a point to the debater whose post I responded to. I gave him some of his own medicine by putting the mirror up in front of him just to make him realize what he was doing himself - as I also wrote: "Note that I don't think that two wrongs make one right. My point is just, that (...) perhaps it's not so wise to be so self-righteous. You might just be kidding yourself." Just read the debaters post, and you should understand why I felt this was necessary in this particular case.

      What I'm trying to make people understand is that hostility, aggressiveness and accusations won't do the trick - regardless of who uses such rhetoric - other people or me. So the reader is supposed to regard this as the exception that confirms the rule: That it's pointless to go down that path because it is counterproductive.

      If you had read the thread more thoroughly you should "bloody well know" that this was my intention. ;-)

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    2. And please, Anonymous, don't use sentences like "Outsiders ... see these killings as unspeakably brutal..." As a schoolteacher, you should know that it is very wrong to make sweeping generalisations. As an outsider myself who has never eaten whalemeat or dolphin, but who enjoys a bacon sandwich, I think it is a bit offensive for 'outsiders' to preach against people whose way of life they completely fail to understand.
      Thank you for this well reasoned argument Elin. I came to this article having seen the "shock horror" story on Facebook. I have read both with an open mind. It is your argument that holds water. The many abusive anonymous posts under the article (from both sides, to be fair) add absolutely nothing to the debate and perhaps they should be deleted.

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  18. i love how all you morons post anonymously, to hide behind the curtain of the internet. You people do not live the life of the Faroese, nor never will. So don't sit in your air conditioned homes on your fat asses typing away and judge people you know nothing about. Go out and enjoy life, take your dog for a walk, or your kids to the park, for gods sakes man, do something other than hate blogging to feel self satisfaction or to get attention.

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  19. Your backwards ass country should be nuked and all of your children should be throatcut till they wallow in pain, bleed and die! You will suffer all, bunch of fucking retards

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    1. Judging other people, does not define who they are. It defines who YOU are.

      My intention with this blog is to create a dialogue about the pilot whaling issue by putting all the arguments out there, which people can respond to. Everyone is welcome to express themselves freely.

      It is sad, though, that some people have a hard time putting restraints on their emotions and (ab)use this freedom to express pure hatred. I just happen to think that facts and reason should decide what is right or wrong - not only emotions. Not even when a majority of people "feels" in a certain way, even if they feel very strongly about it, just like the "debater" here does.

      It's important to realize and respect that people in different cultures feel very differently, and it is very, very difficult to argue and reach any agreement on the basis of feelings and emotions.

      That's why I believe that our best chance to reach out and actually understand one another is by sticking to facts and reason. That is our only chance to get anywhere if we want to move this discussion forward.

      Hostility, aggressiveness and accusations won't do the trick - it's pointless to go down that path because it is counterproductive.

      So if you really wish to stop pilot whaling in the Faroe Islands, try with reasonable arguments. You will reach much further that way, because that is really the only possible way to put an end to pilot whaling. Not hate speech.

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  20. Listen Faroese,

    I am an American and I put up with the inability to reason everyday. People are swayed by emotions and have been taught to by the psychologists and they are difficult to deal with because of their inability reason. When a reasoning person presents the truth in a logical and reasonable way, they freak out. The problem with that is many of the phd's and Judges and politicians are also unable to reason. Notice how many tards on here quote phd's that state mere opinion.

    Give me reason and the ability to think for myself and you can keep your phd's. Phd's are earned by people who have spent many years repeating and regurjitating what some professor has told them. If they think for themselves they get an 'F' so they fall in lock-step with what people tell then to think. Politicians are the bottom feeder of society and have found a place by just saying what people want them to say and judges are guilty of both going to the American college of regurjitation and bottom feeding. Therefore, the "intelligent" are stupid, the "leaders" are followers and "justice" is relative.

    But that describes only the majority. There are still people who think for themselves and I couldn't let these morons speak for Americans when I feel like these morons are part of a modern movement, not the historical Americans. Honestly, everyone condemns what the "church" did in the dark ages and the crusades in the name of "orthodoxy" (meaning 'correct opinion') and the general assumption is we need to keep Christianity out of government so as not to have a repeat but it was not the Christians (meaning 'student of Christ') that murdered raped and plundered entire cities over "orthodoxy" because students of Christ's teachings were not to do such things. So who was it? It was unbelievers who feigned religion for power.

    The modern movement of morons who decide what is the correct opinion and demonize evryone who disagrees is also being led by those same people only they don't have to feign religion now.

    So don't discount all Americans. I think Elin gave reasonable responses and I agree with her approach to reason and logic. Good for her for not allowing people to tell her what to think

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    1. Thank you, Sam! Very interesting viewpoint - and not least comforting to read that there still are sane people in this world, who think for themselves, not just repeating what seems to be predominantly 'political correct' nowadays. :-)

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    2. Wow, Elin, I was agreeing with you for the most part... until your post thanking someone for anti-intellectual insult filled tirade. Maybe you just wanted to support someone who supported you, but you should be careful how you pick your friends.

      Also, "reason" is a culturally biased concept, it's ethnocentric to believe that "reason" is universal. Perhaps you mean making arguments based on evidence when you say "reason". You should just say that then. Sorry to be such a stickler, but if you want to make fact based arguments and critique those who disagree with you, then you need to make sure that you stay firmly on that ground. And to repeat: stay away from taking anti-intellectual insult spewing individuals into your camp.

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  21. Why not think more like you giving back to the environment - that is the animals, vegetations and all? People just keep taking. I am not accusing everyone is ungrateful.. but we should just time to time, give back to nature. and stop taking from them. I am not stating any stand against or for Faroe... just sharing.

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  22. Hi Elin,

    Pardon me for saying this, but i find your argument is more of stubborn (not receptive to other people opinions and reasons) and prone to be defensive towards the actions of your people.
    As i've said in other parts of yr blogs, scientific research may be flaud or not true so lets not talk about or use them for argument here.
    Yes we are carnivours and we can't stop people from eating meat. But we can choose what type of meat we consumed.

    Most people don't eat dogs and cats but some does and people do conderm them isn't it? So can you blame them to conderm your people or some other people in countries like USA ( Alaska), Some Canadians ( killing of seals), japan (killing of whales and dolphines), etc. Some of them listen and started to reduce the killing or stop completely. I watch a document of japanese being interview about whaling and most of their people especially the younger generations think that it is wrong and should be stop even though it's also their tradition. And i applaud for that.

    Someone has to stop the killing first and you might argue why should it be your people. My question to you is why not? Who knows if your peole stop killing pilot whales all other countries will also follow to stop unneccessary killing of these creatures.

    Do you support people eating elephants? If not why? Don't you feel that both elephants and pilot whales are mammals except one lives on land the other lives in the sea.

    Yes pilot whales do beach in island but the reason is still unknown. They do not swim towards the slaughter willing (as some of the bloggers claim they are stupid not intelligent animals)but are drived towards the killing spot by numerous ships and speed boats.

    If the island climate is so bad and difficult to rear livestock, it means it is not suitable for too many people to live there and the governor should do something to control the population so that people won't have to resought to killing of whales.

    The number of whales left in the sea is hard to track not like livestocks such as pigs, chicken, cows and sheeps in which they lives on land and easier to check their numbers. Did the scienctist or researchers tagged every single whales to keep track of their numbers? God knows if the pod of whales they spotted on one side of the ocean is not the same pod they saw on the other side but still counted them as addition!

    The whales themselves have lots of problems face which lead to their declines in numbers because of human activities. Their calfs are killed by killer whales or sharks and pollution in the sea may affect their birthrate, they beached to death (could be due to caused of human activities), caught in nets set by fishing ships / boats. Human over fishing causes decline in their food supply and killings of whales in your island and many other countries you have stated. I still wonder how you can still state that their numbers are sustainable. Based on research? Nah! I do not take that.

    Whales gestational periods are longr than human being and that is a fact. They took another two or three years to be reproductive again. If the killing rate is faster than they could reproduce don't you agree their numbers wil decline? Do you want to wait until a stage that they are declared endangered then stop the killings? Isn't it pathetic for human kind when we have to reach that stage before we learn how to say stop. They numbers would not be able to climb back too then it's too late just like the dodo bird and other extinct creature.

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  23. The whole world is over populated and that's a fact and need to be worked out seriously. We are taking and killings more than required. It's actually about saving the earth, conserving other creatures when we still have the means.

    If you say it is more cruel to kill just some of the pod rather than the entire pod, i would say why kill at all. Finding food is the problem of human beings, we need to search for more sustaninable way to feed ourselves rather than took it from the nature greedily and endlessly at a rate which they could not reproduce enough in the future.

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  24. Dear Elin,

    I think it is very admirable of you to make the effort to be an ambassador to your culture and create thoughtful dialogue.

    We all hold truths that are unique to each and every one of us, and through the examination of many truths, we can better inform our views.

    Nobody is perfect. We're all just people, and I think all good people struggle to find the balance of what is right and wrong in this world. I come from a semi-indigenous culture (I'm Romani and Jewish,from Canada) that has many wonderful values to offer. But we are not perfect. There are aspects of my culture that deeply trouble me, so I try to initiate respectful debate in order to seek change. It is only from within, and through respectful, philosophical debate that we can genuinely make ourselves better people.

    In Canada, I have many friends from indigenous First Nations communities. While many of them are environmentalists and animal lovers, they recognize that Western culture has grown dangerously isolated from food production.

    And this isn't necessarily an "us vs. the tree huggers" type of issue.

    For instance, near where I live, there is a very beautiful place called Clayoquot Sound, with massive old growth trees, some over a thousand years old. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, it was slated to be clearcut--gone, stripped bare.

    Many people protested peacefully. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to stop this special treasure from being destroyed. (And I'm not anti-logging. I just believe that ancient trees should not be cut, and that the industry can be more sustainable).

    Anyways, in a last-ditch attempt to save the trees from being cut, people put metal spikes in the trees. They put signs around the trees to inform the loggers that if they cut the trees, the spikes would wreck the machinery in the mills. Not a single person was assaulted or injured (although the biased media, at the time, claimed the the spikes were intended to kill the loggers, which was untrue, because the spikes were placed high up, way above saw level). The trees were saved, and are now part of a world heritage site and are revered worldwide.

    But this was different than the pilot whale hunt. Many of my Aboriginal friends--who support direct-action environmentalism--have deep respect for the respectful harvesting of animal life, including whales. One of my friends comes from a tribe--one of the ones that is involved in tree-hugging, by the way (Nuu-Chah-Nulth)--that also has recently been seeking the rights to sustainably hunt for sea otter. A lot of racist comments in newspapers ensued, to say the least.

    I used to support Sea Shepherd. I used to respect their activist approach. But their disturbing disrespect for other cultures, their racist undertones, their failure to engage in dialogue when possible, and their self-serving, mainstream media coverage has caused me to lose all respect for them. They have not acted honourably, and are not necessarily succeeding in stopping unsustainable fishing practices.

    Direct action and protest can save certain things, but in order to enact meaningful change,one must be careful and philosophical about its use.

    In conclusion, based on the impression I have gathered from many sources, I feel that the people of the Faroe Islands are hunting pilot whales sustainably. Many of my (vegetarian) friends would support your hunting of the whales as respectful, acceptable, and even important. I think you have done an excellent job in explaining your views so eloquently. You are gathering your food in a respectful indigenous tradition, unlike the industrial fishing that is actually causing the real havoc. I'm not saying you are 100% right or wrong (something that you have clearly stated yourself), but the people and culture of the Faroe Islands deserve respect.

    I support you.

    Feel free to share this post to your people, or to anybody, for that matter.

    Thank you for telling your story.

    Regards from the Pacific North West of Canada,

    Jeff

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  25. Dear Elin,

    I would just like to add that I am also very, very impressed by the thoroughness to which you have answered people's arguments. Your process of philosophising on the ethics of the pilot whale harvest is worthy of praise.

    I find that when people explain their views in great detail,answering challenging, uncomfortable questions by philosophical consideration, they come to recognize the values that they hold dear most in this world. When we allow ourselves to step back from impulse, we learn a lot about not only ourselves, but where we are going.

    I think if more people stopped to ask the hard questions like you have, the world would probably be a much more sustainable and respectful place, both socially and ecologically.

    There isn't always a right or a wrong answer, but at least when our decisions are based on a thought out process of logic, we become closer and more responsible to the outcomes and consequences of our actions.

    If I ever visit the Arctic, I will try the whale meat. Some of my family members actually lived in the Canadian Arctic with the Inuit and ate whale blubber regularly. It is wonderful that there are cultures like yours that continue to appreciate and respect the generosity of our Creator(s).

    Hopefully, more of us will from your example.

    All the best in your endeavors.

    Yours truly,

    Jeff

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  26. I have to say that I am really glad that I have come across this blog. I am completely and totally anti whaling in any way however find it really admirable that you discussed the issue in this open manner.

    As an outsider to your culture I do find it very hard to witness the pilot whale killing and do not understand the necessity of this tradition.

    Many countries have abandoned valued traditions when they realized the harm and cruelty of them like India's tradition of burning a widow alive with her dead husband, slavery, China's binding of women's feet and female circumcision. As humans we are supposed to evolve, grow, learn and progress.

    My main argument against the pilot whale hunts is that due to the continuing increase in mercury and other toxins in the oceans that are then imbedded in the pilot whale meat it is simply dangerous and irrational to keep this tradition up. I sincerely hope that the pilot whale meat has some kind of warning or information on it that informs the people who are looking to consume it as to the possible hazards it may contain.
    As humans living on the same planet we are all connected and affected by each others actions. The pilot whale hunt may be seen to be of benefit to local people but it is distressing to the rest of the world who knows about it and watches it.

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  27. Good job.

    I'm a vegetarian, but even so, those people who are against the Faroese whaling really get on my nerves. They don't care about the millions of animals being killed here in America (where I am) everyday, but are getting all wound up about a few whales across the world. If you're killing animals, I think it SHOULD be bloody. You should have to face it, and not just buy a sealed plastic container at the store while casting stones at someone else's culture.

    The whales get to live good lives in the sea, and are not stuck in a tiny can't-even-turn-around factory farm cage. The people are facing the death and gore face-on. It's there culture, their heritage, their traditions. As far as meat goes, it gets SO much worse than the Faroese whaling.

    The whole toxins things does worry me a little, but hey: People smoke, even thought it kills. It's up to every place to chose what their food laws will be. Families can chose what they will let their kids eats themselves; PEOPLE can make their own dissensions. People have THE RIGHT to make their own choices.

    Good job. Good luck. I've never been to the Faroe Islands, but all the pictures I've ever seen of them are beyond beautiful.

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  28. Elin, I have just listened to your music. What a load of poorly written rubbish. It's not even suitable for the xfactor, in fact I played it to my a&r associates and we all had a good laugh. So, while you present your opinions as fact in the best way you are capable of, because you have ingested to much whale meet it must have affected your self awareness.

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    Replies
    1. If you have seen her other blogs, you would notice that Elin don't eat whale meat because she don't like the taste. And what's more, Elin already said that she don't support the hunt unconditionally, she's just telling the truth to the others. And BTW, why are you commenting about her music when the page itself is not related to music at all?!

      Delete
    2. Yeah, that is really convincing! Attacking Elin personally! Says much more about your level of intelligence than it says about Elin.

      Delete
  29. Hi Elin

    Thank you for such a reasoned and comprehensive review of the issues surrounding whaling in the Faroes.

    You did miss one point which to me is the main reason against the grinds. While it is now widely known that the consumption of whale meat can be detrimental to your health, few people think about the effects such toxicity is having on the whales themselves. It is affecting their reproductive success and life expectancy among other things. As there is a big likelihood that this problem will increase in the future I believe that a precautionary approach should be taken. In short, even though the grind appears to be sustainable, whales are facing an ever increasing number of anthropogenic threats. While whaling is one the less significant factors on that list, it is also the easiest one to change.

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  30. Hey girl.
    You are one brave woman.
    You must know that through the ignorance of others you can never justify things.
    All types of creatures will always die to satisfy mankind.
    I am unable to differentiate between a whale, a pig or a human.
    To me a life is a life.
    It is hoped that they lived well and die quickly.

    Slaughter houses in the civilized world see horrible atrocities.
    I eat meat. I am however aware that a creature was murdered to satisfy my lust.
    It's a shame more people don't see it as it is.

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  31. Been thinking about it all day.

    One whale will feed hundreds of people. More.
    That is one life.
    How many chickens would we have to kill to feed the same amount of people?

    Fellow cohabitants of planet Earth, if you have a problem with this, you do have a problem.

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  32. la complejidad de esta situación no debe impedir ver su atrocidad y por tanto buscar otras alternativas en este siglo XXI. ni tampoco buscar comparaciones para justificar su permanencia.
    He visto un video en el que se aprecia muy bien los restos en el fondo del mar.
    ustedes no lo han visto???.
    Sean mas reflexivos y consecuentes consigo mismos, por favor!!!!

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  33. I am afraid I have not seen the remains at the bottom of the sea.
    The situation however is really not that complex.
    We, like many other inhabitants of this planet eat meat.

    The small minority of vegitarians who are vegitarian through principal have a valid point to complain.
    However not a practical one.
    The rest of us meat eaters have no right to complain at all.

    We justify it by having unseen people murder for us.
    We are human. We kill for food.
    We kill for money. We kill humans for money. Don't mention oil.
    We overall are not that nice.
    I am not trying to justify the slaughter of any creature.
    I am saying please accept who we are and what we are.

    Stop hypocrisy first, then address issues that you feel passionate about.

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  34. Qué desánimo y que tristeza leer esta conclusiones.
    Es tiempo de mirar por la conservación de este planeta en todos los aspectos, este también !!!.
    Qué futuro les vamos a dejar a nuestros hijos !!!

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  35. I agree with you Pepe. It is very sad.
    Little is going to be done to save the planet while someone can make money raping it.
    Like you, I dread to think what we leave to our children.

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  36. "It is not up to others to decide, what is necessary for the Faroese and what is not."
    Excuse me, lady, but actually, it is. If you were eating people there on Faroe, I suppose, world would had a right to say that you`re behaving a freakin` bizzare as well as it says it now about whaling. Whales and dolphins are the most intelligent species amonst higher animals, and if the main argument or yours is "Who are you all to decide for Faroe", then all your lettering fail to prove any of your points here.

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  37. People of the Faroe islands.
    Stop eating people immediately.
    It will give you really really bad press.
    Whatever you do, don't mention Syria.

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  38. Wow! First of all, I would like to say to you, Elin, that I admire and respect you for writing about what you believe in and that you are passionate about your culture. Even though I disagree with you whole-heartedly, it is important for people to be able to listen to both sides of an arguement in order to respectfully debate and discuss an issue. It is to me so irritating to see such disrespecful, immature and sometimes foul things people write on these kind of blogs. I am currently writing a university paper on the whaling of the Long Finned Pilot Whales in the Faroe Islands. It is a requirement to keep it neutral meaning I have to write supporting both sides. It has been difficult to say the least finding anything supporting the whaling industry in the Islands, so I would like to thank you for your information. However, as I must be able to back up what I write with references, it would have been nice if some of the people here could have actually referenced their support of it instead of just spewing out their opinions in such a disgusting manner. Of course I don't mean everyone, but they know who they are. I would also like to thank Summer Day for giving me so many governmental references and information to back me up. Unfortunately I have pages full of why it shouldn't be done. Now I have to try and fill pages supporting. Anyway, good luck to you and your blog!! It was a interesting and informative read.

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  39. Can I just point out that the mass inhumane slaughter of ANY animal is cruel and detestable and it is not 'unrealistic' to stop eating all meats... its called vegetarianism... You may not have heard of this before coming from such a backwards, out of touch community who make out like they are cut off from the rest of the world therefore making it necessary to carry out mass murder of these beautiful defenceless creatures. Your arguments are weak and the Good will override Evil in the end. We will keep fighting until your practices are outlawed, See you at the shoreline soon!!!

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  40. Anonymous.
    I love the passion you seem to have, it is a life force I feed off.
    Sometimes however it can lack a certain something.
    It appears you come from a much larger land mass.
    No doubt you have outraged your government into stopping mass slaughter in your own country.
    Good for you. I am seriously impressed.
    Having achieved that, you have my blessing to pick on the little islands.
    Way to go.

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  41. The repeated argument that The Faroe Island population is the only onces to know the truth is not acceptable. Lack of respect for other people and highly etnocentric. Then the population should also not interfere with other peoples life.

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  42. Exactly.
    I promise you...
    Not one person from the Faroe Island will try and tell you what to do.

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