Japan To Join United States And Canada In Expression of Culture: Killing Whales

The Japanese have authorized the harvest of whales. This action, along with Japanese use of the cultural-tradition defense, has been attacked by many, including Greenpeace. The problem with these attacks is the total lack of consistency. Inconsistency is noting new for Greenpeace, considering the group’s co-founder resigned because of Greenpeace’s stance against nuclear energy. For example, Greenpeace lists the whaling issues to include: Norwegian, Icelandic, and Japanese whaling. Conspicuously absent from this list of condemnation is the killing of whales by aboriginal people.

Bowhead whale being slaughtered in Barrow, Alaska

Bowhead whale being slaughtered in Barrow, Alaska

 

Aboriginal whaling is the killing of whales by groups that have a tradition of whaling. These groups are from the following countries (numbers represent the number of whales killed each year): Greenland (170), United States (56), Russia (140), Canadian (130), Caribbean (400), and Indonesia (56). The species killed by these groups include, Gray, Fin, Minke, Humpback, and Bowhead.

If the argument against whaling is the scarcity of whales and the possible loss of species, the identity and cultural background of the hunter is irrelevant. Many of the attacks on whaling focus on the intelligence of the animals and the cruelty of their death. For example a post in the Greenpeace blog Defending Our Oceans, details the harvesting of a whale by the Japanese ship Kyo Maru,

 

Our eyes and hearts could not believe what we were seeing as the whale repeatedly lunged out of the water a few metres (sic) in front of our inflatable. She was trying to swim away and stay on the surface to breathe but the harpoon and vicious wound in her side was pulling her down. For a moment when she looked straight at us, I saw straight into and through her eyes and could see her mouth gaping open appearing to let out a sound. She looked at us with immense suffering and fear and I knew that she was asking; “Why is this happening? Please help me.”

It took two gunshots to her head from a crewmember onboard the hunter ship before she succumbed. The moment was filmed on camera forever and in our minds for a very long time – and I truly hope that no one ever has to view it. The merciless, violent brutality of this whale hunting is beyond comprehension. For the rest of the day I have been fighting back tears and afraid to sleep as then the silence will bring back the visual reality of this morning’s horror.

By comparison to the killing of whales by the Lamalera (people living on Lembata Island, Indonesia), the methods used by the Japanese are very humane. The Japanese use a harpoon with a grenade that severs major nerves and blood vessels in the whale and causes rapid death, which happens instantaneously or could take up to 2 minutes. By way of comparison, the method used by the Lamelera lasts,

for more than six hours, their hands gripping traditional duri flensing knives, to subdue the whale . . . far cry from the whaling fleets of Japan, whose factory boats and grenade harpoons wreak slaughter on an industrial scale. But with disappearing whale stocks and the availability of more sophisticated harpoon technology, one wonders how long this remarkable tradition will continue.

Remarkable tradition? Six hours of suffering while fishermen kill the whale with their bare hands. If Nicole from Greenpeace is correct, these whales must be saying “Why is this happening, if you are going to kill me just get it over with, don’t stab at me for hours.” It is, however, unlikely that the whales are thinking anything of the sort, nor are they taking much solace in the fact that they are being killed by aboriginal people. Death is death from the whales point of view.

Whales

 

Whaling by indigenous peoples is defended on the grounds of tradition and subsistence. In Barrow, Alaska, 25 whales are harvested each year on the basis that the “whale hunt plays a vital role in the lives of the Inuit, making up over half the meat that they eat.” According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there are 1,000 white citizens and 46 Black or African American citizens in Barrow, out of a total population of 4,581. What do these people eat? How are they able to survive without whale flesh? Evidently they have found a way.

The morality, and legality, of whaling should not depend of the size of the whaler’s ship or the sophistication of the weapon used. Whaling is either acceptable or not, make the decision and remain consistent.

Inuit whale hunters paddle an umiak made from wood and seal skins.

yojoe out

94 Responses

  1. All I know is that in the first picture, that whale looks delicious.

  2. I lived with the Inupiaq people of the North Slope of Alaska for almost a year. Most of the people up there keep their culture alive through the methods that have helped them survive for thousands of years. As a new teacher to the North Slope we were shown videos about the hunting traditions, specifically the whale hunting. They speak about a whale offering itself to the hunters. They do not take more than they can use either. In Barrow, Alaska the whale meat is not just for their community. I was stationed in a town that was 250 miles southeast of Barrow. Some of the Inupiaq there traded caribou for whale meat. This gave them a more diverse food intake during the long winter. Some of these people would not have survived the long winter without the food. The cultural significance of the hunting and sharing is what makes these people who they are. Americans already took so much away from them through sickness and religion. They are peaceful people that want to remember the ways of their ancestors. Leave them alone.

  3. Serena – Thank you for sharing your experience. But you miss the point. If the whales are endangered, it does not matter why they are killed or how important this is to a culture. If the animal is endangered, it is endangered. This classification does not depend on who wants to kill the animal. The fact that the Inuit do not take more than they can use, is noble and interesting, but does not protect the animal from death. As for the food argument, it does not hold water. How do the non-Inuit people of Barrow, AK. survive? And, why not apply your argument to the people of Japan?

    yojoe

  4. I have lived in Barrow for years, and I am not of Inupiat descent. I agree with Serena. People have hunted this animal for centuries. The entire culture, whose language is slowly being lost, and who struggles to keep culture alive and families together to experience a dying heritage, is dependent upon the whale. Most families eat muktuk year round and it supplies many dietary needs such as vitamin C and warmth from the extreme cold. The human body works harder to digest muktuk, so it raises the body’s temperature.
    Taking the whales away would kill this community. All their history, tradition, close connection with their families, sense of working together as a community, songs, quality of life would be sucked out of them. I can honestly say that they would have nothing. Many would feel despair and have the sense that there would be nothing left to live for. So you tell me what is more important, the preservation of animals or the preservation of people? It is a sad day for this generation to say that animals lives are more valuable than the people they sustain.
    Yes, many of us non-Inupiats eat muktuk, too. Gatherings occur during the whaling season to publicly thank the Lord for the harvest, and portions are shared with EVERYONE in the community, without discriminating. I feel sad and angry that those who have no idea what living in the Arctic is like want to have a say how things are done here.
    Stay in your comfy homes, drive your sassy sports cars, compare your designer clothes, put down the little man while your at it, and keep up with the Jones’s. Shop at whatever store you like, eat fruits and veggies that are not on their way out, eat a box of cereal that doesn’t cost you $10, go to your pharmacy and have unlimited choices in medicines, full and quality healthcare, eating your fast food choices from fast food restaurants, being glad it isn’t you who suffers the extreme sting of winter 60, 70, 80 degrees below zero while it lasts, comfortable without polar bears a short distance from your town, and continue to complain about the way of life thousands of miles away.
    To me, people have far more value than animals. I pray you understand one day.

  5. imagine doing this to your children, family, relative and love ones.
    are we still human?

  6. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE

  7. My husband is Inupiaq as are my children. We live a partialy subsistance life style because of the prices of EVERYTHING up here. For those of you whom believe the Bowhead whales are being endangered by the Inupiaq way of life, read “Conversations with Harry Brower Sr.” and research the Internation Whaling Commision.

    Further more, are we harming the feelings of lettuce also? Maybe we should quit eating everything that is living because it will suffer.

    My husband is a whaling Co-Captain and when he shoots the whale that is giving its life for our family, he tries his best to only have to shoot once. We do not waste ANYTHING! Everything from the whale is eaten or used for artwork, or put at the Point of Barrow for the ENDAGERED Polar Bears to eat.

    God Bless you all the wish we would stop!

  8. emily u r crazy wat u just said tells me u hate animals cause ur leting them be grusomly slautered if u think its worth killing animals 2 keep ur physco culture alive then fine but i hope u come back as a whale and r killed so u can feel the pain and torture theese poor animals go through just think about it wat if u were the whale do u think its fair that ur being grousemley slaughtered so some idiots can kill u off!!! when u agree to this stuff ur agreing to murder so ur pretty much a killer by suporting this and those people can live without whale!!! and u now animals have rights 2 just because they cant speek doesnt mean they r different they feel pain!!! so all i can say is that ur a killer i hope u wont beable to sleep tonight!!!

  9. YOU ARE SO SICK I CAN NOT BELIVE YOU DO THAT TO THESE WHALES HOW DARE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF I CAME AND FIRST CHASED YOU GOING IN FRONT OF MY BOAT AND THEN STUCK A HARPOON IN YOU!

  10. They still look delicious. I wonder if Whales make good jerkey?

  11. I would like to see how long you people, who are so against the killing of whales, lasted in an arctic winter with nothing to eat. I’m sure your attitudes would change rather quickly in the face of starvation and hypothermia.

  12. There is a huge difference between subsistence hunting and hunting for commercial gain. Of course it makes no difference to the whale who kills it but it makes a difference to the numbers killed and philosophy behind it. The numbers of bowhead whales are increasing. The subsitance hunting carried out by people who have hunted these whales for centuries and use every part of the whale, every last scrap, does not endanger the species anything like as much as the automated multi-killing of whatles performed by large companies. When it comes to who has more riights – humans or whales, I’m not sure I’d like to say, even though I’m typing this as a human, not from the depths of the blue. But if the relationship between the two species is sustainable (and allows the number of whales to return again to its natural level) then I believe the humans should be allowed to hunt – for no more than they need (which is how they have always hunted) – they are a people who waste nothing, who value everything they take, who respect the environment from which they take it – and that is why they are so different from commercial whaling fleets and why it is ok to apply different laws.

  13. they are not hunting whales because they have no food in the arctic, no one told them to go their in the first place. the reason why they are there and hunting whales is because they sell the whales in japanese fish markets. this is un humane and a disgusting act of cruelty and anyone who thinks otherwise has serios problems.

  14. Anonymous – You are correct. Killing whales is not necessary for food. As previously stated, there are a number of non-Inuits living in Alaska who seem to survive without whale meat.

  15. The Bowhead Whale ……Whales of Arctic and Subarctic waters….poplation left…maby 10,000…status VULNERABLE!!!! Eat any thing else…If they’ve got half a brain.Because of their slow swimming speed and bulky,blubber-rich body,Bowheads were,along with other large Right whale,favoured species for hunting. They were nearly EXTINCT!!!!!!! Carry on..why worry,one of these days there will be nothing left in this blue planet. and u know what…humans can eat anything els. dont give me that bull ,,,shame ..my fammily cant live..bla bla. I’ve got a saying..IF U CAN’T KILL ANY ANIMAL WITH YOUR BARE HANDS..U DONT DESERVE TO EAT IT. Come ..pissy asses,jump in the water and try and kill one of the largest animal on earth.

  16. Save the Bowhead… FOR DINNER!

  17. wahle hunting should be banned from the world
    seeing this makes u wanna cry

    the japanesse are awful ppl
    wat are u gonna do when u dumbasses kill all the damn whales hunh watch gonna eat then u basterds

  18. people should stop killing the whales because they did not do eny they to the humands!!!

  19. In my opinion Inuit should be alowed to hunt whales.
    The living conditions are not so easy like in europe.
    European commercial whaling in 18th and 19 century decimated the whale stocks so dramaticly. Not the Inuit. Why should they be punished for a thing they are not responsible?!!!

  20. im a young whaler ,14, and am an inupiaq,proud of it, and iam part of a successful whaling crew. we use the whale as a food source n when we hunt it we try to make the kill as humane as possible. its part of our culture and tradition and i enjoy learning my inupiaq ways.

  21. I hope all of you against the limited hunting of whales enjoyed your Thanksgiving turkeys, your trips to the Outback etc…. The word that describes you is hypocrites. We see you sneaking around the bbq’s for a rib. Look in the mirror and tell yourself it aint so!

  22. Whales wouldn’t be endangered if we based our views on the “size of the whaler’s ship or the sophistication of the weapon used” to decide how much whaling can be permitted. The bottom line is: Whales are endangered due to commercial whaling, not the whaling by small indigenous groups.

  23. YEEEEEEH indigenous people should be able to hunt whales for food supply

  24. I am an Inupiaq Eskimo from Barrow, Alaska
    and I totally and completely disagree with what most of you are saying about our “psycho” culture.
    first of all, before you comment on a website that I’m sure many people from Barrow and people who support our culture are going to find you should at least be knowledgeable.
    I hope every single person who said that negative things about whaling is a vegetarian or you’re a complete hypocrite.
    Before Barrow was known as the northern most city in the united states and before the 1,000 white people came as shown in the 2000 census all we had was whales and other animals in the area. It’s a traditional practice in our culture. And if you went to Barrow and spoke to one of the 1,000 white people and you asked them if they have ever eaten maktak then they’d all probably say yes. If you asked a brave tourist who has come to Barrow in the Summer for our Nalukataq celebration then they would probably tell you that they’ve tried it along with seals, caribou, geese..etc. We don’t sell what we catch, we share it. Every inch of the whale that can be used, is.
    The ONLY reason our culture has survived this long is because we hunted whales.
    I am very proud of my culture

  25. i agree with robyn, being from Barrow, and what she’s saying is right.

  26. I really do think that all of u are missing the point. Not really one of u are making a difference on this hole delima. I can truly recall one that really went out of her way to trow down some facts on the table . I just want to than Nerize Venter for her PASSION and guts to support this whaling epidemic, and in the second breath want to thank Nerize Venter,she’s not only the one with the passion but one of Greenpeace members(google the name) STRUGELING to open the eyes of humans stuck in there own selfcenterd lifestyles but someone that walking around with open eyes and and a passionate sole trying to make a difference in the world. Nerize,my dear,your heart is set on the right path and what ever may come your way,don’t ever stop fighting for these incredible creatures of the ocean.
    Alliston
    WWRG BLEU PROJECTS

  27. As someone from “the city” who has never tried whale meat, I hope all the lovely people in Barrow Alaska go on about their lives and ignore the ignorant comments posted above.

    In response to the original post and the respondents who suddenly think the Japanese and Native peoples of Alaska are barbaric, who are you to judge? Get off your high horse and GO SEE for yourself how these people live and what it truly means to them. The narrow-mindedness of your whale-loving comments, while childlike and endearing, is truly a reflection of your ignorance of other cultures and your inability to see through media and cultural biases.

    Next time you take a big juicy bite into that cheese burger ask yourself how that cow was killed. I myself love cheese burgers, but will be the first to admit that it suffered a sad cruel life of early separation from its mother, a life long diet of hormones, and an early brutal death before ending up on my dinner plate.

    At least the whales live free.

  28. i think that killing our whales is horrible. you are horrible people for doing what your doing and i hope you all get whats coming to you!!!

  29. There must be distinction made between commercial and aboriginal whale hunting…I absolutely 100% detest commercial whale hunting, it has no place in the modern world and any defence of it boils down to th ‘We do it because we like it’ philosphy. People in Japan do not need to eat whale meet…this applies to people in Iceland and Norway . I cannot see any valid excuse for wiping out different species of whales (some of which we no very little about in regards to breeding habbits, numbers etc) because you like the taste of Whale meat. It has to stop!

    People who hunt small numbers of whales and use every part of the animal definetely fall under a different bracket and actaully need the whale to be sustained in the environement,,,if the Whales are all slaughtered, the japanese will just eat something else, some of these inuit cultures will suffer very badly indeed.

    In short you cannot speak of the two groups in the same breath. Killing Whales to me is something I could never accept, however I certainly would not abuse the needs of a miniscule group who will make little impact on populations…I suggest people spend more time venting their rage on the 1st world countries who kill whales for the age old disgusting reason of money.

  30. all i know is that if a bunch of tribal people want to go and stab a whale from their canoe its perfectly fair. Japanese whalers kill for science and commercial food. if you want to eat whale go catch it yourself which is what the people in alaska are doing.

  31. I don’t understand why don’t the north slopes people move south? how about the lower 48?

    If you like snow and solitude – move to North Dakota or upper Minnesota. Trust me it feels like Alaska, only with food options. And you don’t have to kill endangered species for food. Your kids can go to better schools, and you can have better heathcare facilities.

    I just don’t get it what you people are doing up there. Is there something going up there that I don’t know? My first thought was that maybe you have nude beaches up there – but with that kind of weather I really doubt it. I’m pretty sure pot is not legal either. So what’s holding you back?

  32. To all of you that are whale hunters…. I am not against you. I am against the whalers such as those that Sea Sheapard hunts…..

    I have learned that those who do this in Alaska do not waste the whale… That eat, they share, they only take as many whales as they need in order to do this.

    I have also learned that they waste NOTHING. The strip the whales down to the bone and then they even use that if they can.

    Who are we to say that this is wrong? I eat cows. My family hunts deer and turkeys and hogs…. is that wrong?

  33. Regardless of the level of of endangerment, taking the life of any living creature should always carry with it certain consequences. For the taker, much of it has to do with the emotional consequences of having to take the life of a living being; to acknowledge that it is not for wanton, and never should be in excess.

    Most people who do not live a nomadic life, however, have not had the experience of killing an animal with their bare hands, and are missing that emotional quality of taking life for the sustenance thereof. Those who advocate only the preservation of an endangered species should consider whether they could stand the emotional consequences of slaughtering an animal themselves, instead of having others do it for them cold-heartedly in commercial slaughterhouses from which they purchase their finely packaged grocery meat.

    Either live consistently for the killing of animals, or against it. I chose the latter. =)

  34. see you people are seriously retarted. if it were up to me i would hunt down ALL of the whales for sport. forget you people who wanna “save whales lives”

  35. spencer you a the retarted one what would you di if sombody hunted spencers for sports? u #@%*ING &*%$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. i thinkthat whales are cool but what do i know i just read the thing. im not that smart.

  37. i think this is good people should so this more often….. hahahahahahaha

  38. mmmh… balena

  39. I think the japanese are very cruel to do these things. just because of money the go around killing whales. What if someone killed humans for a living? Wouldn’t hurt? They should think more about the things they are doing, like killing whales-which are close to gone -.-

  40. theres a huge difference between hunting for survival and hunting just so u can kill them and earn money. Japanese hunt non stop for whales, many japanese still dont agree, they should take what they need, enough to sell, not over enough. It’s ok if you hunt for survival, thats different, u need to hunt to survive, but you dont need to take over enough. Think about it, if you finish hunting them all now, you will not have it ever again….wouldn’t that be harder to survive in alaska? I know that people in alaska take what they need but the japanese take over what is needed…..how would you feel if you were a whale and evryone in ur family dissapears and you were killed by getting 2 gun shots in ur head? HOW WOULD THAT FEEL? OR HOW WOULD U FEEL IF YOU SAW UR OWN CHILD/PARENT GETTING SLAUGHTERD WITH KNIFES AND WEAPONS? HOW ABOUT SEEING UR FAMILY MEMBERS DIE?

  41. Amy,

    The people of Alaska are not hunting for survival. They are Americans. No Americans are starving. They could live just fine without killing whales. So, there is no difference between people in Alaska and the Japanese. Either killing whales is wrong or it is permissible.

    And how does your argument work with the “how would you feel.” If I were a whale I would not want to be killed, and it would not matter if the person killing me was killing me for survival or for profit. Either way I am dead.

    Here is a question for you: How would you feel if you were an AIDS virus and you came home and all of your family members were being killed?

  42. Save the Bowhead why kill off the oldest living mammal and the japs are liers….

  43. THANK YOU for posting this. The purported “loss” of a cultural tradition pales in comparison to the annihilation of a species. Culture can be recorded in literature, recordings, storytelling, and any number of the myriad ways it has been for millenia in every culture of the world. The savage, visceral experience of destroying an animal over the course of several hours–particularly one so critically endangered, as well as one with cognitive and emotional richness that we are only beginning to comprehend–does not qualify as a cultural experience worth preserving. I understand that at one time it was a necessary subsistence event. Those days have long passed.

  44. Dear Indigenous People,
    Please listen to the those that are trying to educate you that whales are nearly gone. Your culture is one of respecting the animals and only taking what you need. Sadly, like many other nations have faced in history, the animals they used for sustenance were killed to extinction and mostly by others whom disrespected the animals, exploited and wasted them. You do not have to look far into history to see what happened to indigenous peoples of the US Great Plains and the buffalos. Back then there was not scientists that could monitor the herds and issue information on their extinction. Consequently. one day they were gone.
    The Plains people were forced to eat other animals or starve. They also had to adapt to use other animals for clothing and tools.
    In closing, I ask you to try and understand the people that do not understand your culture. Many get emotional and speak when they should listen. I ask that you open your hearts and minds to hear the scientists on the dire straits of the whales. Thank you.

  45. This discussion really has me amped up to try a whale-burger.

  46. This is just a bunch of bull. For those of you who criticize people for hunting whales, reflect on how you are contribute to killing our entire earth. Don’t pass judgement of things you don’t know, or you think you know, and be loud on the internet. Do your research before you open your mouth.

    This is the reason why Americans are viewed as ignorant arrogant know-it -all. This country has no culture or tradition.

  47. VoeJoe,
    You are a moron! You just stated that the people of Barrow are Americans and that no Americans are starving. I would love to know where you live, I am from Alaska living in Ohio. Caucasion, college educated, and doing well. Your arguement is weak, and could not hold water. You base everything off of assumptions with no basis of fact. The 1,000 white people that live in Barrow for the most part have been afforded opportunities that the locales have not. There is no industry in Barrow, not too many jobs. When is the last time you paid 12 dollars for a gallon of milk? Their grocery bill would be five times more than mine. so spending what little money you have on heating oil for an eight month winter is a priority. It is not their “decision” to live there, it is their way of life. Where do you live? What do you eat? I bet someone would have a problem with some aspect of your life. I do not need to eat whale, however I find it acceptable. Morality is personal while legality is not. they are very different. Whaling is right for those who do it, and also legal.

  48. J Stickler – Thank you for the comment. If your argument is that people of Barrow should be able to hunt whales because they need the food, without regard to the possibility that they will kill the last whale, then why is there a problem with the Japanese also hunting whales?

  49. I love you all. You guys are great, we are different but that’s what makes us have such dialogues. I personally love all kinds of animals, but lets face it, we like to it them too.

  50. There is a lot to be said about being vegetarian…..I think its time something started to eat and hunt humans..woooooo Starting with the people who kill and eat Whales

  51. I live in Alaska, and alot of the native people that live in places like barrow kill whales to SURVIVE. Have you ever even been to these areas?? Bread is $6-7 a loaf, milk $9 a gallon, and average income in alot of these places is less than $15,000. I actually found this article to be racist, seeing that you’re trashing another group’s culture and customs, so next time if you wanna get our attention, why don’t you just jump in front of a train or something. By the way, no matter how much you guys in the lower 48 enforce your yankee laws, Alaskans will always hunt for whales, bears, moose etc.

  52. One does not need meat to survive. Your parents and your parents parents taught you eat meat. Your father taught you to hunt and to kill. Tradition means you readily accept any and all events that your family or circle have committed and are not in tune enough to stand back and view things subjectively. Just because some ancestors did what was necessary given the time and place does not mean it is needed by today’s standards. However, the more things change the more things stay the same. Kill everything and send this Earth to hell which is how the book of “human” ends anyways…sorry for the spoiler.

  53. I am so pissed at my father. He never taught me to hunt or kill. Sonofabitch said hey asshole, its 5:00 am – let’s go to work…I replied “but papa I am only 12″.

    In keeping with our family tradiition I too yell at my children and call them holes in asses and demand that they work as well. I now see that this is wrong.

    Our family will forever more shop vegan at Trader Joes and not work….until 630 am

  54. I was sitting around thinking about these posts and I thought about man’s right to hunt whale. I support man’s or any other creatures right to hunt. Although it has been argued that Native people use the whaling argument to justify their “lawless and insensitive” behavior.. I say why justify? If the Japanese, in conjunction with Natives, are able to utlize technolgy to hunt and kill– then why not? I would fully support a massive tax – like a deer license- on each whale or dolphin etc killed. We funnel these monies to conservation and sanctuary areas– so more whales can survive and later be killed–liked Deer….. it is tim e to take an old idea (hunting) and utilize new taxes (licenses). Lets roll some cold hard cash into the debate. Stop complaining and start supporting the hunting of whales and their ultimate preservation through ridiculous taxation!

  55. I was trolling this site and noticed that once again Bustard makes a good point. I disagree on the argument that the behavior is “lawless and insensitve” as does Bustard (I think..) more likely the behavior is a cultural anomaly. that could be argued as insensitive. Learned behavior, like killing whales, that serves no purpose occurs all the time in a modern world. Taxation of an activity… that is pointless.. is a good thing Yes it happens all the time. tax on sports tickets, beer and wine etc, too bad we can’t tax certain churches. Good job Bustard!

  56. Uncle Johnny helping the bustard?

  57. This is purely my opinion, take it or leave it:
    Killing whales is very wrong, especially the endangered ones. We need to get our heads out of our ass and stop killing the world around us. Just because we are the dominant species doesn’t mean that we should flaunt it and take the lives of innocent wildlife out of boredom or sport or any reason. We need to preserve all kinds of resources and animals because once they are gone, they are gone forever. Things like whaling is most likely for no real purpose. Whales, just like every other organism including humans, are individual. Things like movies and television have desensitized us about death. Every time a death occurs on television, that is the life of one individual who has had many of the same experiences you might have had. It’s the same with the killing of animals.
    Again, this is just my own personal opinion.

  58. I Really Hate whaling…. it’s just sad to me… every one has a life, i think we should live till our life is over from the age.

  59. Gee Max— way to take a stand. Live our life til it is over from the age. This is a whaling/hunting post not a geriatric whale issue. I am not pro death or pro hunting but saying only “oh let us let everything die a natural death, killing is stupid and death is bad” about as useful to the discussion as breasts are to a boar hog– USELESS!!

  60. All you animal hippies need to stop with all this killing is killing… The only person I would expect not to say this is some one who doesn’t eat shit at all. Because if you eat any kind of meat; that animal sole purpose is to go in your fat gluten belly. If you’re some kind of fucking vegan, you’re a fucking homo too… How many animals, and plant’s have been killed to put up the farms that produce your fucking plants? Farmers keep out pest like prarie dogs, birds etc. S does that give them the right to kill those animals? So just shit the fuck up. I believe these whales are endangered so they must be kept alive. I disagree with what the Japs are doing… what the fuck do they need to eat whale for, they have TONS of other food… fuck they can grow a lot of shit in their country; yet they still hunt whales in massive numbers a year… The number that the Inuits kill, is minuscule. If the Japs were forced to stop, and only aboriginals could hunt, I bet those whales would bounce back faster than a tennis ball. Oh how wrong is killing? It doesn’t make fucking sense, are we going to prevent carnivores from fucking killing other animals? Get the fuck outta here. The native people around the coast of Alaska has a great sense of pride, and do this to keep there customs alive; the white man has taken everything from them, let them keep the few things that they still know. We as Americans have always traded our cultures for what seems better things all the time… look at it now, values of marriage are all fucked up… kids being fucking sex addicts (producing porn stars, which if you ask me are nothing but whores, because they are getting paid to have sex, in order to make a a living.) So yes ban the Japs from hunting whales but leave the Natives to keep doing it… they’re barely huting any as it is… look at the numbers per year!

  61. It’s easy blaming people on the web, you know…

  62. 99.9% of all species that have existed are now extinct. Whales will be no exception. Humans will be no exception. This problem will work itself out with or without human intervention. The whales will be eliminated and some of Inuit will starve and die. Or the Inuit are no longer allowed to hunt and then the whales will die in time from some other form of natural selection. Bottom line, nature is going to take care of this one way or another. Unfortunately both ways the Inuit lose.

  63. why dont you people in northern alaska just move. i mean that must be one of the worst places to live in the world. freezing temps, no sunlight for half the year, no trees, entertainment, everything is expensive, nothing to do. i mean serioiusly just move to the south alaska…why would u want to stay in the artic circle

  64. I hate the people in this world. There all so cruel and evil in so many ways. Mostly to animals.
    XOXOXOXO~Dragon/animalLover

    I PROTECT AND SERVE FOR ANIMALS!

  65. Well I have seen things really crazy but this win the first place of all; I have seen how the people ignore the sings of the change then they are doing and they all most never do something. I’m agree whit the “Hunt for Live” but I’m totally disagree whit “Living for Hut”. The people then do this for fun or by a job they are “out of they mind” and the don’t see what is the stupid thing then they are doing. I stilling showing my hopes maybe not so biggest but is something.

    Keep fighting for the cause.
    The 15 years old: Dylan Matias

  66. Dylan- you are an amazing young man. I hope someday to have a son as wise as you are. If he were like you I would name him after your sage musings…. and call him Ray (like the Sun!!)Gregario (middle name Tardd).

  67. Catherine- I too love animals but an overzealous Bobby in 1912 broke me of that penchant

  68. As they say in KY– that God damned Tyler boy is the only person on this whole site that has a lick of sense.

  69. If we had kept burning down all the Japanese cities in the 40′s we would not have this problem. (no nukes, just more eco-friendly bombing) The little cry babies still want their islands back though they lost- after they raped, pillaged, abuse, and ate people, now they want to hunt MORE wales. They are still sneaky little liers! How many pounds of whale meat do they need for research? Are these mainly taste tests?

    As for the cultural question- countries in Africa continue their cultural traditions of slavery, Hmong sell young girls and beat them – it is traditional, Muslims cut off hands and other parts for small crimes on a couple people’s say-so,and the Indians have an underclass, the untouchables that is around 300 million people. Hey, it’s their tradition! Leave them alone!

  70. Actually, I think it is OK for groups like the artic tribes to hunt if they are honestly keeping the culture going, and are not selling meat for profit. I think they need to base their behavior, and soul searching on the issue, on sound science. If the Japs keep hunting whales along with other greedy bastards who have no reason but profit, I think it might be wiser to let the tradition go and take even a little pressure off the whales. The fact that these wales may be 200 years old would sure give me pause before killing a big one. It would be like cutting a red wood down, even if my livelihood “depended” on it… I don’t think so.

  71. Two questions for Huh:
    Why do the “Japs” want to hunt the Welsh? For God’s sake they are only coal miners and herders.
    Can I buy a Hmong girl (to beat) on ebay or do I have to go there in person?

  72. I’m no hippy or wanna-be, but I think that whaling should be regulated like practically every other form of fishing.

    However, I completely disagree with those who have a massive problem with Japanese whaling, but have no problem with aboriginal whaling operations. I’m assuming that if the Japanese used the same methods as the aboriginal peoples, you’d have no problems with them whaling? They’ve been whaling for centuries upon centuries, so they have as much right to hunt whales as any other aboriginal people.

    Additionally, the idea that the Japanese waste a good portion of their whales, unlike the aboriginals, it ridiculous. The Japanese use practically everything off the whale for something, just like the aboriginals.

    Also, the idea that the Inupiat have to hunt whales to preserve their culture is absolutely ridiculous. If they must do it to preserve their traditions, then fine, but they must do it in a traditional way. For example, I see pictures of them in their little rowboat with really nice, commercially made jackets that I assume are much warmer than what their ancestors wore. If they’re whaling in order to preserve their traditions, then they should whale with the exact same materials, methods, and equipment of their ancestors.

    A portion of the argument used against the Japanese is that because they use modern technology, they are somehow morally inferior to the aboriginals, who use somewhat less modern tech. Is there any question that if the aboriginals had developed the same technology as the Japanese that they would not have used it?

    Finally, the idea that Europeans are solely to blame for depleting the whale population in the world and that the aboriginals played no role in this is absolutely ridiculous. Aboriginal peoples crewed many of the European ships and led Europeans to their whaling locations for centuries. They bear as much responsibility as the Europeans for the plight of the whales.

  73. its pretty obvious that the japanese and norwegian can easily survive without whale meat.

    This article is a perfect example of stupidity and ignorance.

    Let the aboriginals live how they have for years. Its not like they cruise around the world looking for whales in giant fishing boats.

    The whale consumption of the japs/norse is much much higher then aboriginal consumption.

    Geeez some people are quite impaired mentally.

  74. It is my honest opinion that half of you really need to quit surfing the internet and go back to school. Your grammar is horrible and you make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

  75. There are a few points I want to make.

    Joeyo – There IS a different between the white population and the local native population in Barrow. The Native population is the one who hunts whales, and they do not do this on a massive scale. They kill 25-30 a year to sustain their culture. Culture is just as important as anything else, ask any soldier. Also, the different between them and the Japanese is that the Japanese are hunting whales on a massive scale.

    Everyone has to know that the Bowhead whale is not on the lowest level of endangerment. There aren’t 10-15 swimming around waiting to be killed. There are almost 25,000 worldwide, and the natives in Barrow kill 25-30 a year. They do this to get them through an excruciating winter and to sustain a culture that most American’s can’t comprehend. I don’t have a problem with the methods used by either sides, just that commercial whaling is what depleted the number to half its original size.

    And to the people who say to move, why live in North Alaska anyway? It’s because it’s their home. I’m from the Northeast, I know a cold winter. I’m well aware that I could move to Florida and be warm all the time. But it’s home. It has meaning and its somewhere that you can’t just leave behind.

    I think I addressed all the problems I had issued with, but people need to realize it’s a privilege of a native culture. When the American’s went West and killed over a hundred million Native Americans, we also killed almost the entire American buffalo population. After we decimated it, we put a ban on hunting them. But the buffalo was the sole source of food for many different native tribes in the Plains. And they suffered because of it, not having the ability and the knowledge to provide other sources of food to their entire tribes. Just some relative information.

  76. Does anyone know a company that specializes in whale controversy? Based on all the comments here (including my stupid ones) – this seems to be the only topic anyone really gives a crap about and I want to make money on all your “caring” about this issue. Please all you pro and anti whaling folks tell me how you spend money to support your cause because you are some passionate mother f’ers. God bless you– you dedicated socially aware folks.

    Too bad no one cares about white basketball because there is money to be made in the “hooded” uniform industry.

  77. Historically, it was the United States who exploited whale. For US, whale was nothing but the source of oil, Whale fat was used for lamp before the invention of electronic lamp. They captured whale in a massive scale, took fat (known as blabber) out of them, and dumped the rests in the sea. US’s commercialized massive whaling in the past is the culprit of endangered whale. It is the same scenario for endangered buffalo. White people exploited buffalo for leather and other goods. For the aboriginal inhabitants, buffalo was a source of food, and they utilized the remains for other purposes. For Japanese people (particularly the inhabitants living near the shore), whale was a source of food, and they again utilized the remains. Back then, there was an equilibrium in ecosystem.
    Nevertheless, it does not mean that whale hunting cultures catch as much whale as they want today. Meanwhile, absolute ban on whaling is unnecessary. Both sides just need to find a balance between protecting whale population from extinction and respect for traditional whaling. Don’t get panic. Those people less familiar with the background of whaling and related issues should not get angry simply because some people catch whale.

  78. I hate whales

  79. Wow,
    If I have ever been embarrassed by the ignorance of the American people this has been one of the worst. After reading through this blog it is apparent to me how many selfish ignorant people there are out there. While I appreciate the fact that you care about animals, which I my self do as well, YOU are missing the point. It seems as though many comments have fallen on deaf ears because of the disregard for cultural beliefs and sustainability. Reminds me somewhat of Native American struggles…Thank you William and New Yorker for bringing some realism and balance into this discussion. But to the person who asked ‘why not move?’, are you really that pathetic and self absorbed? Your are a waste of space and air.

  80. you monter u are distroying our planet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  81. u monter u are distroying our planet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  82. Yojoe, It’s funny how you selectively reply to only the weakest comments! Honestly, can you not see the difference between commercial and small-scale whaling?

    There are two parts to this debate:
    1) Whether or not it is humane to “murder” whales
    &
    2) Whether or not the international community should be doing more to protect this endangered species

    In my response to #1, I think it is generally okay to kill animals for food, as long as this killing does not permanently eliminate the species. If you eat meat and selectively choose to protect whales and not all other animals then you are a hypocrite. What is the difference between the “murder” of a chicken and the “murder” of a whale, from an animal rights standpoint?

    However, when the killing of a particular animal for food is wiping out the entire species then it is not permissible, which brings me to my next point.

    In response to #2, yes the international community should be doing more to prevent whales from going extinct prematurely. However, the reason whales are going extinct is because of COMMERCIAL whaling, not whaling by aboriginals. In order to restore the wild whale population to a stable level, COMMERCIAL whaling should be targeted because of its large impact on the whale population. Small scale whaling has such a small impact on the number of wild whales that stopping aboriginal whaling would do nothing to save the whales.

    I would be saddened if whales went extinct. But if you really want to save the whales, focus your energy on the large countries that practice commercial whaling.

    But if you are more interested in protecting the animal rights of whales then I suggest you become a vegetarian. If you are already a vegetarian, then I suggest that you start living in a self-sustainable hut so you can minimize your impact on the environment, which is killing animals everyday.

  83. i cant believe have they killing the whales just to have money.Their ignorant they only care about their money and the progress of their country.

  84. u monter u mother of bitch

  85. yu monkey i saw yu suckin teta

  86. You anti whaling people are entitled to your opinion. The fact remains that whaling is no different than killing and eating anything else. The natives of Barrow have every right to kill and eat whales. The should not have to look to the US government for permission to hunt. And for those of you that romanticize how the poor whale must feel when they are slaughtered…grow up. Worry about something worthwhile like that idiot in the white house gutting our health care system an burdening your great grandchildren with debt.

  87. I live in alaska…
    I don’t know why people think we have nothing. we have trees and not all of alaska is in dark half the year. I moved here three years ago and I love it here. People can’t just up and move from somewhere you where born and raised, it takes money and with half of america out of work the lower 48 is not much of an option. I don’t want to lose all the whale in the world either, but I being an american native, hunt and eat what I kill. I agree with the people saying it is inhumane to kill whales (have you whatched that movie super size me)? and what they do to kill the chickens? What about fisherman…I bet most of you eat shrimp or crabs…have you ever seen them kill crabs or shrimp? About vegatarians, don’t talk about those poor helpless animals that poeple kill because, you guys are eating only the stuff that cleans the air… when yes we eat them too. But those poor helpless animals…Get over it. what about those poor helpless plant you eat? it is a part of life. Soon people will be saying don’t throw a stick it could kill some little bug. By The Way Alaska has trees ALOT OF TREES! I think that before people say something is bad they should come see what i going on, what the culture is and the enviroment, quit thinking poeple still live igloos all over alaska. Also, don’t expect people to up and change they’re culture because you have stopped eating meat, and decided the whole world is out to get the whales.
    I love alaska.

  88. HI Guys and Girls,

    Barrow is not the issue, 25 to 30 whales annually is so little in comparison to the millions of cows, pigs, ducks, lambs..you name it… we eat all year round in Australia! In terms of lives lost, think of it this way.. 30 opposed to millions… which is more inhumane? All animals feel the same regardless of size, shape and geographical location.

    Look, I understand that the population of whales is in decline however, why are you attacking a culture that has such an insignificant impact whilst Japan, Iceland and Norway are hunting in the thousands annually!

    * INTERESTING FACT: it takes a chicken 30 days to reach sexual maturity due to the amount of steroids in their food. Chickens are slaughtered by the thousands daily! Reflect upon their quality of life.

  89. you people in the lower 48, go live there for a few years. its the culture they belong too. its sad to see such ignoance from such intelligent people??? dont judge people that you have no you have no knoeledge of.

  90. I think we really need to get something straight here. There is a mammoth difference from subsistance whale hunting and commercial whale hunting.

    In the Arctic, the native people live and substidize from whale. They don’t sell it to the Japanese, they don’t do it for any sort of monetary gain ( except for trading for other substidized stuffs to other inland native villages). It is something they have practiced for over ten thousand years.

    Most people cannot understand what life is like in the deep interior of Alaska. Nearly all the villages do not have any sort of road access, making western commodities, such as milk, eggs, filtered water, etc. very expencive and sometimes very hard to come by. If they were not able to hunt to whale, they would have to somehow make up 60% of what they eat. Most of those people don’t have jobs. How are they going to be able to afford that extra 60% when the price of a gallon of filtered water is $7.00!

    One of the comments stated here was “Why don’t they just go back to where they came from, then they wouldn’t have to eat whate.” Well, that IS where they are from. That is there history and heritage. It is a whole other world up there. You have to experience it to really understand why hunting whale is so important to them. The nearest agricultural land is over 1000 miles away. There are no roads. They live in extremely harsh weather. If you take whaling away from them, The government would have to substidize even more money to these people so they can buy their $12.00 a lb hamberger meat.

    On top of all this, their bodies have adapted over thousands of years to live on the diet they live on. If they try to live on the same western diet the rest of the country eats, they are much more proned to very high levels of obesity, diabetes, and several other medical problems.

    So for the Inuit people, Whaling is much more than just culture. It is monetary and health reasons as well. Not to mention that our already debted government would be forking over millions of dollars to substidize whale hunting for western culture foods and also to pay all the medical bills from the health problems caused from a western diet.

    This subject is a lot more complex than what most people understand. In fact, there is no way of understanding unless you’ve in fact lived ther for a while.

  91. First of all, I would like to say it was a pleasure living in Barrow. I learned a lot about the cultures and way of life. This is how the people live to survive. Not everyone could afford that $10 Gal of Milk or that $6 loaf of bread or EVEN that one $20 T-Bone steak. Was I happy when I witnessed the slaughtering of the Whales? No, and I was actually saddened, but this is how I felt when I was in the Philippines when they slaughtered a cow or a pig. It’s a big thing in Barrow, the whole town talks about how many they caught and who’s house they should go to to get some Muktuk. All meat is shared within the community. Boy how that would be awesome if we did it with Cows or pigs and everyone share the meat without paying for it.

    I’ve not only lived in Barrow, but Kotzebue and Bethel as well. Every culture is different and loved learning about them. I’m not native, but I am Filipina and like to thank Bush Alaska for showing and teaching me your ways.

  92. People like lynn A, is right, why is it ok for us Americans to kill cows, birds, deer, turkey, chicken, and so many more but the people of Barrow can’t kill what they been killing for centuries. The point is we are not the ones in need for food they are, they struggle for food and medic care everyday. People it’s there culture to feed off of whales, just like the lions feeds off on zebra’s and the buffalo’s. I understand how yell feel about the endangered species. But ask yourself this are we endangering the species that we are killing for are fast food restaurant? Don’t get me wrong I’m very happy that I can walk or drive For a double cheese burger, But can the people from barrow do that NO!.. and it’s funny that we kill animals and throw them to waste.

    I never lived in barrow and I already understand what these people are saying, times is hard for us humans and for the other species out there.

  93. I believe that animals were put on this earth for humans to consume. How is it any different for one animal to eat another as a way of surviving, than for humans to eat those same animals. Those of you that think it is inhumane to kill and use animals need to realize that humans are above animals.

    On another note, if you are going to call someone a murderer or bash them, LEARN TO SPELL, as well as learning proper grammar. Don’t try to text on a message/comment board.

  94. personally i dont really think it cares if it dies, its to feed people. if they didnt they would be taking up a large amount of food that we dont have now to barely feed 7billion people in the world. If somethings dead its dead. sure they hurt alot and panicked on the way but once there dead they dont know what happened. they are gone. everything is. like honestly, if you got shot in the arm you’d be like this hurts but if you got shot in the head you wouldnt even know or have time. you wouldnt have time to even process what just happened. it doesnt matter cause you cant do anythign once your dead.

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