Whale Meat as a Western Taboo

It’s free-range, organic and tastes like an exceptionally tender eye fillet.  I am referring to the whale meat, lightly roasted in black pepper, I enjoyed Tuesday night in Tokyo.       

 

The Japanese delegates at the conference I am attending here in Tokyo thought it unusual I was keen to try whale. 

 

“Its taboo for Westerners,” was one remark.  

 

Of course whale is not on the menu here at the New Otani Hotel, but it is available downtown.    It was a New Zealand friend, David, a computer programmer who has lived in Tokyo five years now, who took me to the restaurant that served whale.  

 

Like me he has no respect for the high profile anti-whaling positions of our respective countries or the idea that some food should be taboo.

 

The word taboo was a discovery and addition to the English language from Captain James Cook.  Visiting the Pacific island of Tonga in 1777, the Captain noted in his journal that ‘taboo’ signifies a thing is forbidden.   

 

The emergence of whale meat as taboo is a hallmark of the arbitary and religious nature of modern environmentalism.  

  

 

 

Little Whale Steaks, Tokyo, September 9, 2008

Little Whale Steaks, Tokyo, September 9, 2008

 

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97 Responses to Whale Meat as a Western Taboo

  1. Ian Mott September 12, 2008 at 9:23 am #

    So is it actually illegal to import whale meat to Australia? And if so under which head of power?

    As duly elected Chief Glutton of a band of culinary wanderers called The Restless Palates, I can foresee another addition to our list of dietary blasphemies.

  2. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 9:24 am #

    It was quite common to eat whale meat in Sweden until the moratorium.

    See my post ” It’s OK for Greens to Eat Whale Steak in Norway” on my blog!

    Many tourists are as well curious to taste it when they visist whaling nations , you know forbidden fruit….

    Myself have tried it a couple of times , but I’m a vegetarian now….

  3. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    ” Whale Steak OK for Greens in Norway ”

    http://annimal.bloggsida.se/diverse/whale-steak-ok-for-greens-in-norway

    A note here : Animal welfare activists have recently carried out protests against the Australian sheep / merano wool industry in Norway and Sweden, and in Australia you carry out protests against Norway and Iceland for cruelty against whales….

  4. NT September 12, 2008 at 9:35 am #

    How does an anti-whaling stance make environmentalism a religion? I don’t follow your ‘logic’.

    I remember a week or so ago, a very sad post about how this blog was closing and how you would have to re-create it so it was more scientific.
    Has anything actually changed?

  5. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    But the minke whale remains on the list of near-threatened species drawn up by UN agency CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which means it cannot be sold internationally

  6. jennifer September 12, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    NT, The anti-whaling stance doesn’t make environmentalism a religion per se. But the anti-whaling stance is not based on logical criteria. Such criteria would include a consideration of whether the killing is humane and whether the killing is sustainable. Furthermore, making it a taboo – something forbidden – does suggest the reason is religious.

  7. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    Since ancient times there has always been animals that have been taboo to eat . I read ” War and Peace ” ( methinks) , and the soldiers were so starved so they have to eat horse meat ( which seemed taboo)

  8. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 10:12 am #

    Anyway IMO it should be OK for the locals to eat whale meat, but a big scale commercial hunt to supply more people with whale meat would be devastating for most whale stocks…..( methinks)

    Most wildlife as whales and polar bears have been overharvested due to too optimistic population estimates

  9. Libby September 12, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    “But the anti-whaling stance is not based on logical criteria. Such criteria would include a consideration of whether the killing is humane and whether the killing is sustainable.”

    It isn’t? I would have thought it took into consideration whether it was humane and sustainable. Are you suggesting it is humane and sustainable?

    “Furthermore, making it a taboo – something forbidden – does suggest the reason is religious.”

    The term “taboo” was used here by a Japanese delegate as is opinion of western culture regarding eating whale meat. You have then chosen to go a step further and suggest this “taboo” is religious reasoning. I’m wondering about your logical criteria!

  10. jennifer September 12, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Hi Libby, Yes, I am suggesting that whaling is both humane and sustainable. And yes, I am suggesting that it is taboo for westerners to eat whale and this is based on the notion of the whale as a sacred animal within the religion of environmentalism.

  11. Mark September 12, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    We missed a massive opportunity just recently. In our multicultural society we are always encouraged to partake of the wonders of other cultures, to walk a mile in their shoes so that we can better understand people from those other cultures.
    And here we had fresh whale meat for the asking – transgender Colin/Colette. A BBQ down at Middle Harbour would have been just the ticket to help us commune with Japanese culture. Colin burgers all round. Oh… and veal for those who just couldn’t bring themselves to eat sea mammal.

  12. NT September 12, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    Jennifer. You seem to think that anyone who disagrees with your point of view is not being logical. Perhaps you could elaborate?

  13. Libby September 12, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    “You seem to think that anyone who disagrees with your point of view is not being logical.”

    Ah the irony NT.

  14. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    Jennifer,
    I know dozens of people in Greenpeace who don’t give a toss about whales , you are making generalizations here….

  15. Graeme Bird September 12, 2008 at 11:27 am #

    “NT, The anti-whaling stance doesn’t make environmentalism a religion per se. But the anti-whaling stance is not based on logical criteria. Such criteria would include a consideration of whether the killing is humane and whether the killing is sustainable.”

    Thats a good point. The Japanese are technically adept people. They ought to be able to rig up an explosive tip to their harpoons that kills the whale outright and does not give it time to suffer.

    Also from a diplomatic point of view, we ought to be pointing out that this “scientific” whaling is effectively an unprofitable and subsidised industry.

    I cannot say that a sentimental affection for big-brained mammals is entirely irrational. And we can disaggregate to some extent the total irrationality of much of the environmentalist movement with this issue.

  16. jennifer September 12, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    Hi Libby, I think I have provided explaination, I have given my two criteria -1. is the killing humane, 2. is the harvest sustainable. Are you suggesting that it is logical to not eat whale?

  17. ra September 12, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    I wonder how Indians feel about us eating cows? Just as they disagree on religious grounds so do environmentalists over the issue of whales.

  18. CK September 12, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    “Like me he has no respect for the high profile anti-whaling positions of our respective countries or the idea that some food should be taboo.”

    Oh. So are dogs and cats on the menu as well? How about people?

    Jennifer, you’re an idiot.

  19. ra September 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    No, Jen isn’t an idiot, CK, you jerk, you are. Westerners are perfectly fine eating cows, and pigs which incidentally are supposed to be quite intelligent yet which to dictate to others what animals they can eat.

    Yes, environmentalism is a religion and these people should be treated just like other religious believers.

  20. CK September 12, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    We’ll put ra on the menu as well, as clearly his intelligence doesn’t match that of pigs.

  21. ra September 12, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    Ummm
    yet wish to dictate to others what animals they can eat.

    Explain yourself, CK. What is wrong with my reasoning?

    The only dumb grub I see here is you thinking that stupid comments like putting ” people” on the menu passes for some sort of argument. What an intellectual fraud you are.

  22. Libby September 12, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    “Hi Libby, I think I have provided explaination, I have given my two criteria -1. is the killing humane, 2. is the harvest sustainable. Are you suggesting that it is logical to not eat whale?”

    I am suggesting there is no logic here.

  23. CK September 12, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    “The only dumb grub I see here is you thinking that stupid comments like putting ” people” on the menu passes for some sort of argument. ”

    No food taboos! Oh look. A baby seal!

  24. david@tokyo September 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    CK,

    Dogs and cats aren’t on the menu in Japan, but they are in Korea and China. And elephant meat is available in parts of Africa. Etc.

    I don’t know of anywhere where people are on the menu, but there are laws against killing people in most places which would largely pre-empt the possibility, and also I don’t think there is such a demand for human flesh that a viable market would actually develop for it.

    The same is certainly not true of whale meat, and I suspect not too in the case of those other animals I mentioned.

  25. NT September 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm #

    David@tokyo
    I was under the impression the market was over supplied with whale meat and that largely the Japanese don’t eat it. Am I wrong?

  26. Gordon Robertson September 12, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    jennifer said… “Such criteria would include a consideration of whether the killing is humane and whether the killing is sustainable”.

    Is there a rational behind killing animals? Isn’t it about fulfilling human pleasure more than anything these days? We don’t need animal protein to survive and there’s plenty of good protein in supermarkets at reasonable prices. Unless you live in the bush, with no other form of protein readily available, what possible rationale could there be for taking an animal’s life?

    I could understand zoophagans better if they’d just admit they eat animal protein because they are too lazy and unimaginative to find an alternative. Or, that they are too selfish to give up their own pleasure gained eating a steak, seafood or other beef. But it strikes me as a total cop out to claim it’s OK if it’s humane. Why not just admit you like it and to hell with the animals. That’s far more honest.

    Did you ever ask a cow how she felt about it? Or did you ever stand and watch pigs squealing and pissing themselves out of fear before they are killed? Or, how about the mother whale being humanely killed, leaving her pod and her brood alone? We humans are a strange lot, excusing ourselves from killing animals and justifying it on some pseudo-ethical grounds. BTW…how do you kill a whale humanely…by lethal injection?

    I did an electrical job once in a slaughter house. I dreaded having to go onto the kill floor…the smell of guts and urine was sickening enough. Later, while working in the freezer, I stopped to talk with a lad who had worked the kill floor for 20 years. In my naivete, I suggested he was probably used to it. He looked at me very gravely and said, “hell no…you never get used to that”.

    We depend on people like that guy to do our dirty work. I don’t think most of us would have the guts to kill an animal for meat, although I witness people cruelly dropping a squealing lobster into boiling water.

    I arrived at my own awareness about it over a long period of time. At first, I stopped eating meat over a bet, and I returned to it often. Through time, I began to realize I didn’t even enjoy eating meat, but I still had not arrived at the compassion level. Once you reach that level, which comes on you, rather than you looking for it, there’s no going back. You sense animals as equal beings on this Earth even though they are not blessed with the higher levels of mind we have.

    I try not to lord it over people as PETA does, hoping people will arrive at their own awareness and compassion. I don’t hassle people for eating meat even though I feel guilty that animals continue to suffer with my silence. However, I can’t idly stand by and listen to someone talk about humane slaughter being alright. It’s not…it’s a justification for cruely and selfishness.

    Eating meat these days is a habit. It has been 15 years since I last ate meat and I have no desire whatsoever to return to it. That perplexes people who wonder how I don’t hanker for a steak. My weakness was actually cheeseburgers after a good piss up. Today I prefer a plate of potatoes, with vegetables, a bit of cheese and a glass of milk to steak and lobster.

    You can make delicious casseroles, soups, stews, chili and spaghetti (with mushrooms, green peppers, etc.). There’s an infinite variety of good vegetarian dishes as anyone knows who has visited a vegetarian-based Indian restaurant.

    I know I’ll get stick for this because people who eat meat are protective about their vices. That’s OK. The animals will thank me, unless it’s a Polar Bear, which would kill me outright without the slightest thought. That’s OK too, I have no business in their territory without an elephant gun.

  27. J.Hansford. September 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm #

    Considering there is 1.4 million Minke whales…. I think there is scope for a fishery.

    Somebody above mentioned eating horse meat as taboo…. No. Plenty of poor people used to eat Horse meat… Why the Napoleonic Soldiers eshewed the idea of eating their horses, was because it is the main logistical transport of an army… Once you eat your horses you are truly beaten.

    As for Beef… IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri is a Hindu who is a vegetarian who, in a official capacity has attempted to force his religious beliefs about vegetarianism onto others by advocating meat free days….

    So Yes… there is a religiosity about the Environmental movement and the eating of meat and the killing of animals.

  28. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    Thanks Gordon Robertson for your very nice post! I totally agree with you ….I especially like your comment on farm animals ….animals can smell the fear in the air in the slaughtehouse ….I’ll make a post on this on my blog!

    I’m a vegetarian btw…..

  29. david@tokyo September 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    NT,

    You are not “wrong” for being under that impression, but you may like to think about where the information that gave you that impression came from.

    My impression, and this is based on my living here, seeing the stuff in shops as well as eating it in some restaurants, as well as following official stockpile statistics, is that there is not an “over-supply” of whale meat (note that the Japanese don’t see the production of the whale meat as being to supply the market with whale meat, that this happens is a corollary of what they are doing). The Icelandic and Norwegian whalers who are currently in the process of reinitiating trade routes with Japan most probably agree with me (even WDCS recently speculated that one Norwegian whaler was hunting whales in a remote region figuring that the high fuel costs could be offset by eventual revenue from the Japanese market – prices are higher here than they are in Norway).

    The stockpile statistics are easily accessible at my blog, so let me show you a couple of things:

    1) Stockpiles for beef, pork and whale:
    http://david-in-tokyo.blogspot.com/2008/05/beef-pork-whale-stockpiles.html
    2) Stockpile stats for whale (haven’t updated for July 2007 yet)
    http://david-in-tokyo.blogspot.com/search/label/stockpile%20figures

    As for the second thing you mentioned, “largely the Japanese don’t eat it”. Here your impression is 100% correct. What I would note is that if a year’s stock were divided up evenly, you’d be looking at between 50 and 70 grams of whale a year, per person. The three of us ate more than our fair shares on Tuesday night, and two of them aren’t even residents 🙂

  30. J.Hansford. September 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    No Gordon… I’ve killed cattle in a yard while they were eating hay and tied up alongside other cattle… The pop from the .22 slightly startled the others.. but they went right back to chewing their food.

    Animals are not humans with human capacities.

    If you are going to wax lyrical about humanity and being humane…. I’d go and support the Anti Abortion issue….

    The issue of Murdering children is a little bit more important than worrying about the anthropomophisised empathy for animal feelings.

  31. david@tokyo September 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    Gordon, I too enjoyed your post, and I personally sympathise with what you say about the “humane” thing.

    One of my favourite quotes from the world of the whaling issue is this one:

    “Humane Killing is an oxymoron” — Joanne Massiah, Antigua and Barbuda IWC representative

    But, from that point, I currently go in a different direction to you, I suppose Massiah does as well.

  32. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm #

    In short about slaughterhouses and animal fear.

    Animals , insects and fish all emit feromones when feeling danger and anxiety . This smell can be felt by their fellows , and they got an anxiety reaction…

    You can read more on this in Science , but shortly a test was done on mice . A group of mice where killed by carbon monoxides . The mice all emitted feromones so an other test group of mice could smell the fear…. the test group all got an anxiety attack….etc, etc

  33. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm #

    I have mentioned this many times , but I grew up with horses and our horses were never transported to the slaughterhouse when they had to be put down…. we gave them a bucket of oates and then the stun gun was used …. we didn’t know anything about feromones , but from experience we had witnessed that the animals could smell fear in the slaughterhouse, so we wanted to avoid this….

  34. Paul Williams September 12, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    Gordon, eating meat is not a vice, humans are adapted to a carnivorous diet.

    As for your story about the abattoir worker, I can tell you that I have spent several years working in export abattoirs, and I never met anyone like that. The “lad” who had worked for 20 years on the kill floor must have been pushing forty, by the way.

    Abattoirs are noisy, echoing places, and as such can elicit fear in animals. That they have any foreknowledge of what is about to happen to them is however, complete BS. The sheep next up on the convey to be stunned will placidly wait there until smoko is over, despite the thick layer of blood on the floor just under its nose, or the carcases hanging on the rail just ahead of it.

  35. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    ” Alarm pheromones are mysterious substances given off by animals under stress. The chemicals — no one really knows exactly what mammalian alarm pheromones look like — signal other members of a species that something bad is happening. Animals typically respond to the signals by running away, freezing (so predators won’t notice them) or attacking, Broillet says.” Science , August 2008

    Paul , I don’t know anything about sheep , but I have heard that their alarm response is freezing ( like in mulesing)????

    So that’s why they didn’t ” make a noise” in the abattoir????

  36. david@tokyo September 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    Just back on the “religion” thing.

    The whaling debate that goes does seem to indicate that for many the issue is more due to their own beliefs or faith, than reality.

    Regarding sustainability. The IWC Scientific Committee has completed “implementations” of it’s Revised Management Procedure approach for certain species of baleen whale in certain parts of the world, and this work is continuing. The next implementation that will be completed is apparently for North Atlantic fin whales, and last year the Western-North Pacific Bryde’s whale also had it’s implementation completed in 2007. There are minke whales in other areas for which implementations are already in place.

    What it means is that, if the IWC were functional, it has scientific advice available in some cases to be able to set safe (potentially non-zero) catch limits.

    The IWC some years ago explicitly told the IWC scientific committee not to consider Antarctic minke whales in a management context, which seemingly precludes a similar approach being undertaken for those whales, even if more current abundance estimates are agreed in 2009. In any case this species is certainly the world’s most abundant.

    For this reason, it seems odd that “sustainability” should still be a contentious issue in the debate about whether the IWC should permit some whaling or not. That it is, indicates to me that some anti-whaling people cling to their faith or beliefs about the sustainability of whaling despite reality, and this bears a certain similarity with religion.

  37. Gordon Robertson September 12, 2008 at 5:08 pm #

    Paul Williams said “Gordon, eating meat is not a vice, humans are adapted to a carnivorous diet”.

    My spiel was not about whether meat is a vice, or not. I don’t sermonize on the preferences of others, unless it’s something like child abuse. All I’m trying to say is that we have a good brain with the ability to be aware of the plight of animals. Through that awareness, we have the ability for compassion and to understand what an animal feels.

    We also have the ability to understand that we humans are nothing special. We fool ourselves into thinking we are special and that we are vastly different than animals, but in the overall scheme of things that is an illusion that we are capable of overcoming. The fact that most of us don’t avail ourselves of that awareness is what I am attacking.

    Recently, I offered to hold a pet lovebird in my hands while it was put to sleep. The owner couldn’t bear to do it. I thought myself pretty tough, but watching that small creature die so peacefully in my hands was something I could not contact with my limited brain. It was the saddest, most moving experience I have ever endured. Most of us never have the opportunity to contact those feelings in us, nor do we care to, it would seem.

    I was emotionally attached to the bird but I feel the same way about a sheep or a cow. It is seeing the life force drain out of a living creature that is troubling to me. Even thinking about it is the same, and I’m far from being a sensitive person.

    We humans are completely out of touch with animals yet many of us claim to love certain animals while eating others. I’m not trying to judge people who eat meat, I’m merely suggesting they try to extend their state of consciousness into awareness.

    I’m not perfect in that sense by any means. I will kill a mosquito in two seconds, or a silverfish as it scurries across the floor, yet I’ll capture a spider or moth and free it outside. I have no idea what to do about pests like mosquitos either, or wild animals that will kill a human as soon as look at him/her.

    I have a long way to go in terms of awareness. I took the step I took about eating meat because I understood I no longer needed to participate in killing animals for food or clothing. I still wear leather work boots because I can’t find a suitable replacement with steel toes and soles, and I don’t lay awake at nights worrying about it.

    If you thought I was attacking you because you eat meat, that wasn’t the case. I’m simply asking you not to justify it as something else. Become aware of what it is you are doing, and don’t hide from it. If you can carry on eating meat after that, then it’s your thing.

  38. Gordon Robertson September 12, 2008 at 5:41 pm #

    J. Hansford said “No Gordon… I’ve killed cattle in a yard while they were eating hay and tied up alongside other cattle… The pop from the .22 slightly startled the others.. but they went right back to chewing their food”.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a slaughterhouse, but the animals are held in pens and guided up chutes and ramps to the kill floor. They can smell the death I described in my earlier post and they react to it. They must know something is going on because they become restless. Pigs are very intelligent and I’m sure they detect things other animals might miss.

    With your cow, I’m sure you could sneak up on it with it being completely unaware. I’m asking why you would do that with supermarkets full of protein that is of a higher value to the human body than meat. There is a factor called the Net Protein Utilization (NPU) factor which measures the amount of protein absorbed by the human body. The highest NPU is that of an egg, at 92%. Dairy products rate higher than meat, which comes in at about 75% on average.

    The only advantage of meat, as far as utilization is concerned, is that it contains all 8 essential amino acids that a body requires to keep alive. Eggs and dairy products have those as well and soy beans, although their NPU is about 55%.

    It’s quite easy to mix foods that are low in one amino acid with those are high in it to make delicious meals. There was an excellent book written many years ago by Frances Moore Lappe called Diet For A Small Planet. Although it has come under attack by modern New Agers, it is a very good book on mixing amino acids.

    As far as taste is concerned, it’s strictly habit and conditioning. With a bit of imagination, you can make excellent non-meat dishes that are as good tasting or better than meat dishes. In fact, there is something light about non-meat dishes that doesn’t have that heavy grease associated with meat.

    I had a party when I was younger and made big pots of chili. One had meat in it and the other did not. They were both prepared by an East Indian friend and his wife. All of the vegetarian chili was eaten and half the meat-based chilli was left. Not a scientific assessment, I’ll admit.

    Someone else claimed that we are designed to eat meat. We are also designed to be exceedingly violent. I have struggled with violence all of my life, having been brought up fighting by my peers since about the age of five. I have a built-in Clint Eastwood persona, which I have to keep under constant vigilance.

    Through awareness, a person can be in touch with the root of violence, which is anger, which is the result of conflict. I read a lot of books on World War II, and I find the infantry stories appauling. There’s little you can do but fight back when people like Nazis run over your country but reading about a 1000 men dying in one battle, often unnecessarily because of the egos and stupidity of officers and politicians, raises a feeling of utter disbelief and helplessness in me. What is all the killing about?

    I have no answers but I know we are bred for it from the start just as we are bred to eat meat. I don’t think we’re designed for eating meat as much as we are bred to eat it. I have proved to myself that not only don’t I need it, I no longer want it. I mean that…I don’t have the slightest desire for it…ever. I was raised on those Scottish breakfasts, where the eggs literally float on bacon grease.

  39. Paul Williams September 12, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Sorry Gordon, when you said “I know I’ll get stick for this because people who eat meat are protective about their vices.”, I thought you were referring to meat eating. Though how you know what vices meat eaters may have, or how they feel about them, is a mystery to me.

    I don’t need to justify eating meat any more than a cat or dog does. It’s food. We have humane slaughter and animal cruelty laws, and we are rightly concerned about species that may be endangered. Beyond that, lets retain our commonsense.

  40. Gordon Robertson September 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm #

    Paul Williams said “The sheep next up on the convey to be stunned will placidly wait there until smoko is over..”

    And you have no problem with that, Paul?

    Freud wasn’t the greatest psychologist since the science began, but he was the first to get stick for suggesting we humans are operated from a deeper level of consciousness. Before Freud, people assumed they controlled their minds through will-power. That was all BS, and it still is.

    Freud proved his allegations by hypnotizing people who were hysterically deaf. Under hypnosis, they could hear fine, but when they were brought out of the trance, they went deaf again. Hysterical deafness can result from a deep emotional trauma.

    Compassion is available to all of us but we learn to override it. As you read this, your brain will have already tuned me out. You didn’t tune me out consciously, it was done at a deeper level automatically. You probably had a reaction, though, like a smirk, or a feeling of superiority, or maybe even hatred toward me for pointing that out, or maybe just a feeling you could not identify. The unconscious stuff gives you a little physical shot every so often, like a knotted stomach.

    I have done a lot of work with the unconscious, both on my own and with counsellors who specialize in hypnotherapy. It has always amazed me how I can break into tears, during hypnosis, sobbing uncontrollably, which I hate, and not realize why till a bit later. The stuff comes from deep down and the conscious explanation follows, if it is available. Sometimes the pain is so deep the explanation wont come.

    We humans are programmed to subvert our feelings from birth. There may have been a time when that was necessary. Maybe our ancestors lived in a state of urgency and were more primitive beings as far as survival was concerned. Somehow, we evolved feeling and emotions, or maybe we had them all along and supressed them. Whatever it was, we humans can easily suppress feelings about other humans and animals.

    I’m not going to even attempt to judge you since I have no idea what goes on inside you. I’d be willing to bet, however, that unless you are a raving psychopath, that you had feelings for those sheep. I’m willing to bet you tuned them out.

    I’d also be willing to bet it’s the reason you would find it impossible to quit smoking…if you wanted to. It’s not that you couldn’t get over the nicotine addiction, it’s that you couldn’t be in touch with the emotional feelings of withdrawal in such a way as to deal with them.

    I can assure you there’s something going on deep inside you that’s worth being in touch with. I hope someday you get a chance to be there. It took a tragedy in my life to get me over the hump because I was such an arrogant SOB that I thought I knew it all. I didn’t need feelings for humans or animals till I was literally dragged to my knees. Even at that, I still can’t be bothered with most humans and their arrogance.

    It took another seven years to drag me right to the bottom, but I’m glad it happened. I got to find out about the feelings inside and that I had it all wrong. I thought I was calling the shots from my conscious mind until I found out there were internal forces that were fed up with my arrogance.

    We humans remain alive despite ourselves. An automatic system keeps our hearts running and all other functions. Consciously, we don’t have to care a whit…it’s all done for us. Yet, we carry on as if we are the most important being in the universe, completely oblivious to what is really going on.

    I count myself incredibly lucky that I got the chance to see who I really was and to do something about it. I suffered for 15 years emotionally, but in the end, I got to see that little gift I refer to as awareness.

    You probably haven’t the foggiest idea of what I’m getting at.

  41. Gordon Robertson September 12, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    Paul Williams…sorry…I should have clarified what I meant by vices. I was refering to excess as opposed to meat itself. People in Canada will eat 16 ounce steaks with lobster on top of it. A human only needs 4 ounces of meat at a sitting.

    I’m not on a crusade to stop people eating meat. I could try to do that 24/7 and make very little difference. If people are going to stop, they will do it through an evolutionary process, or maybe get worse.

    I don’t think it’s the same with animals. They are driven more by a natural drive than us. As I tried to explain earlier, it was a taste thing for me. I liked the taste of a gooey cheesburger after a piss up. I have absolutely no desire for any meat now, and if it was natural, I’m sure I would feel deprived of something.

  42. Gordon Robertson September 12, 2008 at 7:02 pm #

    WARNING: don’t read this if you are squeamish or if you don’t wish to be offended.

    People have suggested in this thread that animals don’t suffer during slaughter or that they are not afraid. I’m not posting this to be ornery, or to prove a point, I simply want to get it through peoples’ minds that we humans can be scum. We entrust the slaughter of animals to low paid dimwits on many occasions and there’s no control over them.

    I have read many books on World War II, and ineveitably I come across stories on the concentration camps. I avoid the stories if I can but sometimes they are part of a story and I read them. Even though the stories about Dachau and Auschwitz are dreadful I don’t find them any more horrifying than this. There’s only so much a human brain can take in.

    http://www.britishmeat.org/slaught.html

  43. Paul Williams September 12, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    Gordon, you sound like the vanguard of the vegan proletariat!

    Two points;
    1) I did stop smoking, so you can stick that bit of condescending psychobabble bull$hit up your ar$e.
    2) Humans have a carnivorous digestive tract. We’re meat eaters.

  44. Bartman September 12, 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    Always did fancy the idea of a Greenie on the spit with a crab apple in the mouth, but invariably get stuck when it comes to the choice of sauce and side salad. Suggestions welcome.

  45. CK September 12, 2008 at 7:45 pm #

    David@2:19 pm

    “Dogs and cats aren’t on the menu in Japan, but they are in Korea and China. And elephant meat is available in parts of Africa. Etc. ”

    Precisley right. There are culturally determined culinary norms all over the place, and JM’s attempt to frame this as a ‘religious’ issue is complete and utter bullshit.

    Why not fly Andrew Bolt over to join in the phony provocation sex-party as well?

  46. david@tokyo September 12, 2008 at 8:49 pm #

    CK,

    “There are culturally determined culinary norms all over the place, and JM’s attempt to frame this as a ‘religious’ issue is complete and utter bullshit.”

    There’s a difference between cats in China, dogs in Korea, and elephants in Africa. No one is making any serious effort to prevent these people from eating these things. Yet with whales, some people are actively trying to destroy whale cuisine culture through just about any means possible, and as I mentioned above these people will ignore reality in order to put their agenda first.

    I personally don’t intend to argue about whether this is “religious” or not, but at the very least it’s an unusual situation.

  47. CK September 12, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    What? You’re seriously arguing that there is there is some sort of thriving commercial market in elephant meat in Africa, and that they aren’t a protected species?

    David, you seriously need to keep away from the whale meat. It seems to be doing something to your thought processes.

    But, all the same, good to see you refusing to engage in ‘whales=religion’ brain-fart.

  48. Travis September 12, 2008 at 10:20 pm #

    David wrote:-
    >The whaling debate that goes does seem to indicate that for many the issue is more due to their own beliefs or faith, than reality.

    and

    >indicates to me that some anti-whaling people cling to their faith or beliefs about the sustainability of whaling despite reality, and this bears a certain similarity with religion.

    Then wrote:-

    >I personally don’t intend to argue about whether this is “religious” or not

    Jen’s adamant claims about whaling being sustainable and humane further highlights her inability to listen to both sides of a debate. Her bizarre conclusion that a decision not to eat whale is based on some religious environmentalism is such an over-generalization it’s laughable and proves she has no idea or respect for how people who do not agree with whaling or choose not to eat whale think or feel.

    >Considering there is 1.4 million Minke whales…. I think there is scope for a fishery.

    Is there really J. Hansford? Are you sure about that? LOL!!

    >Animals are not humans with human capacities.

    Humans are animals. Our basic instincts are not far removed from many other organisms, including fight or flight, deception, envy, territoriality, the ability to feel pain and fear, the ability to grieve for another, fighting to survive. Religion is largely what has given humans this superiority complex over other life on earth. We have chosen to see ourselves as somehow on a higher plane and more worthy of Life. We see ourselves as God-like or in his form, and other life as being there for our use.

    Choosing not to unnecessarily consume an animal that thas been killed inhumanely does not equate to eco-religion in my books. Nor is it illogical. Choosing to seek dominance over other sentient beings, kill unnecessarily, and harvest any animal simply because it exists and you can smacks of many religious lines of thought that life on earth is there for our taking.

    >The issue of Murdering children is a little bit more important than worrying about the anthropomophisised empathy for animal feelings.

    Yawn. Some people can actually manage to feel for humans as well as non-humans. Amazing stuff!

    >For this reason, it seems odd that “sustainability” should still be a contentious issue in the debate about whether the IWC should permit some whaling or not. That it is, indicates to me that some anti-whaling people cling to their faith or beliefs about the sustainability of whaling despite reality, and this bears a certain similarity with religion.

    Depends on your perception of ‘reality’. Perhaps some people are quite aware of the human condition and realise that history usually repeats and humans are naturally greedy and devious beings?

    >Yet with whales…. and as I mentioned above these people will ignore reality in order to put their agenda first.

    There seems to be a few realities here and agendas are driven on both sides of this argument.

    Gordon,

    I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and perspectives. When people can no longer be civil and resort to swearing at you you know they have the problem. Thank you for your eloquence and compassion.

  49. Richard September 12, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    Gordon Robertson
    Thank you for your excellent series of posts.

  50. Michael September 12, 2008 at 10:38 pm #

    Eating dogs also seems to be a taboo here.

    Little did I know of the Dog Religion.

    Jennifer has really lost the plot.

  51. jennifer September 12, 2008 at 11:21 pm #

    It is interesting that Greenpeace have not launched a campaign against the eating of dog in places like the Phillipines.

  52. CK September 12, 2008 at 11:32 pm #

    Oh dear, Micheal. That is just absolutely so wrong.

    We’re only talking Whale Religion here.

    Unless, you know, we can look forward to Jennifer and David hosting the odd puppy fry-up to raise funds for the local soccer club.

    Eat what you want. It’s all the latest Jenny brain-fart go.

    Oh, and BTW David (New Zealanders. I continue to be amazed at their consistent capacity to be, well, bogan dipshits basically). Thanks for the non response re your imagined commercial elephant meat trade.

    In short, Jenbot has no argument.

  53. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 11:36 pm #

    Jennifer,
    Many people have put lots of efforts here in the whaling debate , Libby , Travis , David , George , Peter C , including also myself .

    As a former Greenpeace activist I have pointed out at least dozens of times here on the blog that Greenpeace is not an animal rights or animal welfare organisation. As a matter of fact you make David a misservice , since it seems like you don’t read his blog.

    I just pointed out to David and IceClass that Greenpeace is NOT interested in these kind of issues.

    As a matter of fact they are only interested in whaling because it draws a big public and it’s one of their oldest campaigns .

    Greenpeacer’s do eat meat as well…

  54. Ann Novek September 12, 2008 at 11:53 pm #

    As a matter of fact ( again) , it’s quite scary that you don’t know your enemy or have put some effort to understand the differences , between the philosophy between animal right organisations vs animal welfare organisations.

    It is quite well described in ” Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals”.

    No Jennifer , you have NOT put lots of work on the whaling issue…..

  55. Michael September 12, 2008 at 11:54 pm #

    Jennifer,

    I was unaware of the domestic dog being an endangered species.

    Are you angling for some PR work for the Japanese whaling industry?

    I hope so, becuase the other explanation – that you actually believe what you wrote – is scary.

    Looks like the new blog is going where the old one went – down the toilet.

  56. CK September 13, 2008 at 12:10 am #

    Shorter Jen: I just want to be Andrew Bolt. Did I mention that I’m a corporate shill?

  57. jennifer September 13, 2008 at 12:12 am #

    Michael, I was not aware that minke whales (the species the Japanese hunt) were an endangered species. Have you evidence to the contrary?

  58. jennifer September 13, 2008 at 12:17 am #

    Hi Ann, Can you explain the difference between animal rights as opposed to animal welfare organisations and how this relates to whaling? I’ve nearly finished reading ‘the last whale’ a new book by Chris Pash about the successful campaign to close down whaling at Albany. It has a foreword by Greenpeace “The last whale is a readable, accurate account of the successful campaign to end whaling in Australia, and contains important lessons to end whaling globally.” And in the book Bob Hunter, and the other campaigners, basically say that the campaign had nothing to do with whether whaling was sustainable or not … it had everything to do with the concept that whales are species.

  59. Ann Novek September 13, 2008 at 12:27 am #

    Jennifer,
    Just do a Google please , and reread my statement that Greenpeace is involved in whaling because it’s ONE OF THEIR OLDEST CAMPAIGNS, this means that campaigners like Bob Hunter , Paul Watson and Rex Weyler were involved, modern GPI whales campaigners like Frode Pleym ( from a village in northern Norway ) are NOT interested in the animal rights or welfare issue , they are interested in whaling because of the sustainability issue …..

  60. Michael September 13, 2008 at 12:37 am #

    Jennifer,

    Ever heard of CITES or the IWC?

    The IWC banned the hunting of all whales, including minkes, because of the declining numbers of even these, the smallest of the baleen whales.

    The Minke is in Appendix I of CITES (July 1, 2008) –
    “Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction”.

    Given past experience, I’m sure that this evidence to the contrary will have no effect on your opinions.

  61. david@tokyo September 13, 2008 at 12:48 am #

    CK,

    What I stated was that “elephant meat is available in parts of Africa”.

    You (somehow) interpreted this as if I was suggesting that “there is there is some sort of thriving commercial market in elephant meat in Africa, and that they aren’t a protected species”.

    “Thanks for the non response re your imagined commercial elephant meat trade”, you state two hours later… I wasn’t aware that I was obliged to respond to you within such a tight time frame.

    You are an interesting addition to the crowd here.

  62. ra September 13, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    Shorter Jen: I just want to be Andrew Bolt. Did I mention that I’m a corporate shill?

    Shorter CK: Did i mention I’m cognitively impaired?

    If Jennifer is close to corporations, good for Jennifer and I hope she does a great job representing their interests.

    I hope she is also representing the interests of large corporations as large corporations (those involved in contestable markets) are a wonder of man’s creative mind. They are large because they provide excellent products and services to consumers. In short they are god like as they improve our lives.

    He’s a cheer to large corporations and all those who represent them.

    Rather than putting them down, you pathetic clown, you ought to be praying for their well being every night before you go to bed.
    idiot.

  63. david@tokyo September 13, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    Travis, something having similarities with religion does not mean it IS religion.

    It’s interesting that there’s two posters here who are having trouble with basic English.

  64. david@tokyo September 13, 2008 at 12:58 am #

    Michael,

    CITES and IWC are forums where politicians make the decisions. The decisions in theory are supposed to be consistent with scientific evidence. In practice at both CITES and the IWC this hasn’t always been the case historically.

    With regards to the minke, there was no evidence that the minke whale stock was overdepleted, and the moratorium was established in spite of scientific advice that harvests of minkes at the time were probably sustainable, and indeed the IWC scientific committee later agreed abundance estimates for 1990 putting the species at a level of some number of hundreds thousands and maybe more than a million – this was also a negatively biased estimate. Harvests were of the magnitude of 6,000 – 8,000 immediately prior to the moratorium, a quota shared between the Soviet Union and the Japanese.

  65. Ann Novek September 13, 2008 at 1:06 am #

    Jennifer,
    It was not my intention to be rude , apologies, but for almost two years I have posted comments on whaling and guest posts and the question that you posed have always popped up.

    I’m just tired to be ranting again the issue …. I had btw a VERY LONG POST about this on my blog recently , but it was deleted due to reconstuction of my blog.

    I had bought a very expensive copy of the magazine ” Philosphy Now” that covered the issue that you posed and I made a very long post about on my blog ( unfortunately I didn’t save it) .

    But VERY shortly : IFAW , is an animal welfare organisation ( they eat meat) , Sea Shepherd is an animal rights organisation( they are vegans) , Greenpeace call themselves an environmental or conservation organisation ( they eat meat) .

    Summary : The AR people call the conservation and welfare people for ” the numbers people” and they don’t care about populations , they care about individuals etc. NUFF NOW….

  66. Ann Novek September 13, 2008 at 1:08 am #

    Apologies for my spelling errors , should really reread my posts before submitting them;)

  67. jennifer September 13, 2008 at 7:57 am #

    Hi Ann, So I guess you are saying that all animals are special. And hey, I agree.

  68. CK September 13, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    Jennifer,

    Got those puppies on the grill yet?

    Really, if you want to be another Andrew Bolt, you’re seriously going to have to come up with something better than this.

  69. Travis September 13, 2008 at 8:18 am #

    >It’s interesting that there’s two posters here who are having trouble with basic English.

    LOL!!! Are you going along the tiresome path that I am someone else ( I presume CK)? I’m glad conspiracy theories interest you.

    I did not say it WAS religion. You seem to have your own difficulties with English.

    >So I guess you are saying that all animals are special. And hey, I agree.

    I’ve often wondered how Jen’s mind works. It has a very good filtering process it seems.

    Jennifer can you explain how whaling is humane?

  70. Libby September 13, 2008 at 8:29 am #

    “And in the book Bob Hunter, and the other campaigners, basically say that the campaign had nothing to do with whether whaling was sustainable or not … it had everything to do with the concept that whales are species.”

    The campaign to close Cheynes Beach was because killing sperm whales was not necessary; it was cruel; research was coming out from captive and wild populations that cetaceans were highly social and “intelligent” animals, and the concern for the future of whale stocks. I can assure you that Project Jonah were concerned about sustainability.

  71. Michael September 13, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    david,

    Jennifer wanted evidence- she’s got it.

    The reason that all whaling was banned was that despite the imposition of quotas by IWC, numbers continued to decline.

  72. Jimmock September 13, 2008 at 10:07 am #

    “Did you ever ask a cow how she felt about it?’

    No, it’s never come up. These days, we mostly talk about the design of her new methane collector unit.

    “Or did you ever stand and watch pigs squealing and pissing themselves out of fear before they are killed?”

    My pigs would never ‘piss themselves’. Occasionally, after they’ve been on the matching ‘his’ and ‘hers’ marble thrones at the end of the trough, they forget to wipe. But this never happens with Doublesoft paper.

  73. Graeme Bird September 13, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    “Shorter Jen: I just want to be Andrew Bolt. Did I mention that I’m a corporate shill?”

    Isn’t this “shorter so-and-so” leftist bad habit just idiocy? This is where the dumb left-winger doesn’t relate at all to what the other person has said and instead just makes it all up.

    Its more annoying mindlessness on the lefts part. Its like when they have no comeback so they write “yawn”. They have no shame. The brainlessness would be embarrassing to a normal human being not afflicted by the left-wing mental handicap.

    But in this case CK is an anonymous graffiti scrawler, so one supposes that its no skin off his marxist nose.

  74. Graeme Bird September 13, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    “Oh. So are dogs and cats on the menu as well? How about people?”

    Is this Steve Munn talking? A bit of a Jekyl and Hyde character this Steve Munn.

    I’ve never seen anyone quite so nasty on this blog but that it was Steve Munn.

  75. CK September 13, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    Yawn.

  76. Ann Novek September 13, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    For those interested :
    At home I have an original Greenpeace poster from their first anti whaling voyage in the North Pacific against the Russians in 1975.

    See image on my blog : ( whaling history) :

    http://annimal.bloggsida.se/diverse/early-anti-whaling-poster

  77. Jennifer September 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    Libby,

    Agreed. Research suggesting whales are very intelligent, and the importance of this to Jean-Paul Fortom Gouin drove the campaign. Indeed he financed it.

    But then you make the comment that Project Johan were concerned about sustainability. My understanding is that Project Johan were not central to this campaign? Also, I understand from recent posts from Ann that she is desperate we/I make a distinction between the whales are special issue (i.e. very intelligent) and the sustainability issue.

  78. Jennifer September 13, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    PS My reference to the campaign, is to the campaign to close whaling at Cheyne Bay, Albany, in SW Western Australia.

  79. Jennifer September 13, 2008 at 12:35 pm #

    Michael,

    On what basis are you claiming numbers are declining?

    I understand the IWC is likely to sooner or later have to accept data it has been sitting on for some time now indicating a best estimate for Minke in the Southern Hemispere at 500,000 individuals?

    Then appying their formula, the Japanese quota could increase significantly to say 10,000 minke?

  80. Gordon Robertson September 13, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    Ann Novek said…”Just do a Google please , and reread my statement that Greenpeace is involved in whaling because it’s ONE OF THEIR OLDEST CAMPAIGNS, this means that campaigners like Bob Hunter , Paul Watson…”

    I lived in Vancouver, Canada when the Greenpeace boats set out to intercept the whalers. I supported them fully in those days. Now they are too busy spreading lies about legitimate scientists who question global warming theory (see exxonsecrets.org ). A co-founder, Patrick Moore, quit Greenpeace because he saw them and the environmental movement as being based on emotion and sensationalism these days rather than on science and logic.

  81. Gordon Robertson September 13, 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    Paul Williams said…”Gordon, you sound like the vanguard of the vegan proletariat”!

    Several points for you:

    1) I’m a loner…I want nothing to do with movements, vegetarian or otherwise.

    2)Go lay your bollox about digestive tracts being designed for meat-eating on someone who is more naive. You ARE the orifice you suggested I shove my condescending whatever in.

  82. Michael September 13, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    Jennifer,

    I’m not.

    I said “was banned”, as it occured in the mid-80’s.

    What a stange post this was! Jennifer claims that some unidentified Japanese person at a conference thinks that whale meat is “Taboo for westerners”, and that is all she requires to construct a environmentalism=religion argument.

  83. Gordon Robertson September 13, 2008 at 3:08 pm #

    Travis said…”Yawn. Some people can actually manage to feel for humans as well as non-humans. Amazing stuff”!

    The thing is, Travis, we don’t feel ‘for’ anyone or anything, although I get what you mean. Compassion, love and empathy produce feelings in us after the fact, but they are not those feelings. Rather, they are a state of being.

    Most of the time, we humans live in a selfish state of inward focus, which stems from our memory. In memory, we have the structure of our identity into which we were conditioned by our parents and other authorities. However, memory must be of the past, even if the memory is only a few seconds old. So, in our normal state we are always in the past.

    Love, compassion and empathy have no time state…they are always now…and you can’t approach them from the past, through our normal state of being. You literally have to let go of all your bs to allow them to ‘be’.

    In that state of ‘here and now’, the ego and selfishness are completely gone. You don’t have to feel for anyone or anything, it’s just there. More importantly, there’s nothing to compare; there’s no difference between you and an animal. Ego and image are horrible burdens, and even though I’m still affected by them, I can now laugh at them for the nonsense they are.

    Swearing and flaming don’t bother me. Hope I didn’t let you down by taking a shot at Paul, but I’m sure he and I would have a laugh over a beer.

  84. Gordon Robertson September 13, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    Richard said …”Thank you for your excellent series of posts”.

    I appreciate your comments Richard but I realize I am just spitting into the wind. I don’t take myself all that seriously.

    I went to a talk given by Ram Dass a while back here in Vancouver. If you don’t know who he is, he is the former Richard Alpert, a former Harvard psychology professor at the time Timothy Leary was on his acid trip. He dropped out (or was forced out) and became Ram Dass.

    He took questions at the end and one guy had an urgent request. He was put out that he tried really hard to make a difference in life and his efforts were not returning dividends. Ram Dass laughed, and said, literally, “hey, man, don’t worry about it. You can try has hard as you want to make a difference and you wont change anything”. Ram Dass then told him the thing was to just try.

    Many people don’t get that at all. They think there has to be a reason for everything. People are trying to explain to me why we should eat meat. They are perplexed by the notion of just leaving animals alone.

    Maybe this is best summed up by a former girlfriend. She wanted to distance herself from me, which I was completely open to, but I asked her to talk to me first. She didn’t want to. I suggested that she’d lost her ability to try in life. She shouted at me, “it’s too hard to try”.

    That’s what it all seems to come down to my friend, it’s too hard to try. When it comes down to something as simple as live and let live, it’s too hard to get in touch with those internal processes that would enable it.

  85. david@tokyo September 13, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Michael,

    “The reason that all whaling was banned was that despite the imposition of quotas by IWC, numbers continued to decline.”

    You should provide a basis for that statement.

    The reality is that hunts for pretty much all baleen species had already been banned by the late 1970’s.

    The moratorium, when it came into effect, essentially resulted in an additional ban of two for other species, such as the Antarctic minke, which was never seriously overdepleted in the first place.

    From what you are saying, it sounds as if you believe that banning the commercial hunting of Antarctic minke whales resulted in a turn around that saw other species suddenly start to recover in numbers as well.

    Travis, sorry I skipped reading your comment. Just to let you know.

  86. david@tokyo September 13, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Travis, I changed my mind and did read your comment. I did not say you and CK are the same person, nor did I think that. But you both seemed to have trouble with basic English, or otherwise are looking to have imaginary arguments. Perhaps you guys should get together and make up imaginary arguments amongst yourselves?

  87. Libby September 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    “My understanding is that Project Johan were not central to this campaign?”

    Project Jonah were very central to the campaign, particularly here in Sydney (something I wrote in my very first correspondence with you). Friends of the Earth played a part too.

    “PS My reference to the campaign, is to the campaign to close whaling at Cheyne Bay, Albany, in SW Western Australia.”

    Yes, that’s what I was referring to.

    “They are perplexed by the notion of just leaving animals alone.”

    Wonderfully said.

  88. Ian Mott September 16, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    What an unbelievable wank from Gordon Robertson. I don’t know what herbs you put in your cooking, fella, but the Basil and Oregano that I put in mine has never made me imagine that my steak was in fear of my first bite.

    Your whole bogus philosophy is based on a failure to understand death. It is really simple. One minute you are here and the next second you are not here. End of story.

    So when cattle are killed for meat it is a case of one second they are walking down a corridor and the next second they are not. It might, technically, take four minutes for the brain to cease functioning from lack of oxygen but the cows consciousness of itself has already ended. And as it’s consciousness has already ended then it is, from that point onwards, a lump of protein and calcium.

    With whales, we have the curious, and widespread cognitive carbuncle that is capable of understanding that a chook without a head is quite dead despite the fact that it’s body might still be running about. Yet, a whale that has had a grenade explode in its head is assumed to still be alive and even conscious of its situation as it’s body twitches for exactly the same reasons that the headless chook does.

    In both cases, as with just about all forms of human killing of animals, the actual end of life takes place after an almost instantaneous, and unheralded loss of consciousness.

    To continue to demonise this kind of departure as being somehow inhumane whilst accepting a pack of Dingo’s right to spend 12 hoursing down a herd of cattle in relay until one of them drops from exhaustion and loss of blood from all the nips and tears displays an overwhelming capacity for self loathing.

    And it also betrays a highly developed capacity for ignoring the suffering of the rest of the herd who’s life consists of a sequence of extended, exhausting trauma until they become the one to make the eventual sacrifice.

    Humans offer animals a long, protected and well fed life, with a guarantee that their progeny survive, in exchange for a quick, painless death. And it trumps every other deal on the table.

  89. Gordon Robertson September 18, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    Ian Mott said…”…take four minutes for the brain to cease functioning from lack of oxygen but the cows consciousness of itself has already ended…”

    First of all Ian, I predicted this kind of reaction from a zoophagan. Secondly, I wasn’t talking about the cow’s consciousness, I was talking about yours. You sound like one of the more primitive types, however, and I’d be wasting my breath on you. I’ll give it a go anyway.

    One thing we have that a cow doesn’t is an ability to be in touch with our own intelligence. Even though that intelligence is available to us we seldom use it. That deficit is also called a lack of awareness.

    All I have said in any of posts is that we humans have the ability to get along without killing animals for food. Why that should get your nose out of joint is beyond me, but I have obviously hit an emotional chord in you. Instead of coming after me, why don’t you look into yourself and see where the emotion is coming from?

    Based on your argument, you’d have no problem with a stronger race coming to Earth and herding us. It would be OK as long as they treated us well before they slaughtered us and ate us. Oh, oh…wait a minute…I’m getting a preview of what you’ll say next. That’s different, isn’t it? We’re humans and cows are animals. Humans are so special. Talk about wankers…we’re a race of prima donnas to boot.

    In the universe, no one gives a hoot about your arguments, it’s only on Earth that we have that peculiar distinction between a human and an animal. We’re both animals, for God’s sake. We were blessed with a higher intelligence so it’s OK for us to slaughter certain animals en masse, simply because we’re smart and they are not.

    You have no compassion, man, and that is a serious defect. You wont see it as such because you have such a strong image of yourself that you can’t get in touch with a form of intelligence with which you were born. Unfortunately, that compassion is required in relationships with your fellow man. If you don’t have it for animals, exactly what kind of relationship do you have with humans?

    I know what it is to be a man. I work on construction sites, I swear like all get out and I can be as insensitive as any other twit. The difference with me is that I know my image is a big act. Anyone needing to talk to me about it, if I am offending them, can do so freely, as long as they are not being patronizing or authoritative. I think if anyone tried talking to you about your image problem, you’d shut down and want to fight the other guy.

    You have completely missed the subtlety of what I have been saying. We are superior beings, why do we have to behave like savages? At one time it may have been necessary, but we have the technology and food supply to leave animals alone. The only thing getting in the way is the pleasure we derive at stuffing our fat faces.

    Even if you can’t deal with that aspect of what I’m saying, how do you condone the suffering imposed on animals in slaughter houses? You make it sound simple…bang, your dead. I posted a link to what actually goes on. Pigs get tossed into scalding machines while they are still alive. Pigs traveling in freezing weather get frozen to the sides of metal trucks and have to be pried off…tearing flesh off with it. The cruelty is mind-boggling, but that’s what you avoid in your perfect dream world.

  90. Ann Novek September 18, 2008 at 7:41 pm #

    Very good comment Gordon. I remember the first time I visited a factory farm for pigs. I did this during a course for horses in the Swedish Veterinary Institute. Actually , during this time I had no interest in animal welfare issues , and the factory farm was pointed out as the best managed pig farm in Sweden.

    The stench of manure was overwhelming, even for me that is used to horse pooh. The poor animals lived in very cramped conditions and the lighs were turned off , because the animals were so distressed and did a ” cannibal” work on each other, biting each others pig” tails” .

    I will never forget these unlucky critters!

  91. Ian Mott September 19, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    Nice little wank, Gordon, but hardly credible. You may not be aware that your alien analogy already has a human dimension. Humans all over the world forego a life in the “wild” in exchange for a comfortable suburban house, full stomachs for their family, good health care and education and security from predation. In exchange for this they spend almost half their conscious life working for someone else when they would rather be doing something else. And at the end of it all they die sooner than they might have due to stress etc.

    So when we farm animals we are doing nothing much more than what we do to ourselves. The only minimal difference is that our residual protein and minerals are not utilised after our death.

    So spare us all your second rate folk psychology and your narcissistic overestimation of your “awareness”. It is only one rung up from astrology.

    And your suggestion that we don’t “need” to eat meat is just plain ignorant. Most of the meat consumed by humans is derived from the conversion of rangeland shrubs and grasses. And humans are unable to obtain the nutrients they need from this vast resource.

    The argument run by vegans, that all meat animals are fed on grains is plain bull$hit. They are only fed grain for a few months prior to sale. So the much vaunted substitution of feed grain for human consumption is illusory.

    And to replace the nutrients supplied by animals with cropped grains etc would require a major expansion of the cropped area into zones that are totally unsuitable.

    Are you really so stupid as to think that there is some vast area of land out there that no-one has bothered to cultivate yet?
    Give us a break.

  92. Ian Mott September 20, 2008 at 10:07 am #

    Ian Mott, you failed to mention that, in the real world, most of the grain that is fed to animals is grain that was grown for humans but has been downgraded. This downgrade can be due to a number of factors like excess moisture at harvest time or insufficient moisture at other times that reduces the protein content of the harvest.

    But these vegans insist on deluding themselves that a large portion of the worlds farmers are deliberately setting out to grow a crop (stock feed) that fetches a lower price.

    Sometimes some specific stock feed crops are grown as part of a rotation to maintain soil condition but, again, the notion that this can be sustainably taken out of the mix in favour of a purely human consumption crop rotation is just plain ignorance.

    But veganism was always entirely between the ears of the vegan, with zero link to reality.

  93. Lucy September 23, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    Jennifer, you’re just wrong.

  94. chris pash October 9, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    I see mention of my book, The Last Whale.
    The issues today are the same as in 1977 when anti-whaling activisits took direct action campaign against Australia’s last whaling station; cruelty and the record of the whaling industry in decimating species of whales one after the other. Yes, there was, and still is, a widespread notion that whales are ‘special’.
    But Australia’s last whalers tell me: “The whales die hard.” I believe them. They are the experts and I went out with them hunting sperm whales twice, in 1977 and 1978.
    We could debate whether Minke whales are a population from which a sustainable harvest can be taken (and I notice this whale population has been revised downwards by the IWC) but the real point is cruelty. these whales suffer and long and painful death.
    And there is nothing their deaths provide for mankind that cannot be found elsewhere. We will not stop stop hunger but rather their meat ends up in restaurants to to benefit of the better off.
    I went to a whale restaurant in Japan in 1980. There isn’t even anything special about the meat in terms of taste of consistency.
    We don’t need their meat.

  95. Danny September 29, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    I like it how western society (Especially Australians0 Criticize the Japanese for killing whales. I urge any Australian to go to the whaling museum in Eden or the one in Albany W.A and find out why Australia no longer hunts whales (As we did up until the late 70’s. The answer is quite simple . . Australia killed that many of them that it became non profitable as a commodity. So every time you hear an Australian get on their high horse and say Japan should not harvest whale because Australia doesn’t . . Take it with a pinch of salt. The only reason Australia doesn’t hunt is because they can’t make enough profit out of it!

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