Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are traditions sacred? Who will stop the dolphin and whale culls?

I read this story this morning about the annual dolphin and whale cull in Taiji, Japan.

I felt sick to my stomach.

It reminds me of the debate about ritual slaughters of goats and cattle in South Africa, where Xhosa people viewed the criticism of backyard slaughters as racist.

"Dolphin-killing may be bad for our international image, but we can't just issue an order for it to stop."

"I think we are the victims of a form of racism," said one, as we watched the pilot whales being herded out of sight to be killed. "Westerners slaughter cattle and other animals in the most inhumane ways imaginable, but no one says a word. Why is it that only Japan gets this kind of treatment?"

Sounds very familiar.

The point is that slaughter of any form is regrettable. That animals have to die that we may eat. However, if animals are brought up and slaughtered in a humane way, this at least draws from a sustainable resource in a way that minimizes stress and suffering.

The slaughter of whales and dolphins satisfies a blood lust preserved in the name of tradition, attacks threatened species, and causes massive suffering to the most intelligent animals.

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