Whales are the largest animals on earth. It has existed for over millions of years. They are also the largest mammals on the planet. Although they all look alike, there are many species of whales. Each time, they will only produce one offspring. According to Whale World, female whales only produce a baby whale each year, for they need to take care of the baby for the whole year (Whale World, n. d). They are gentle animals with graceful movements and live in peace, until humans started to hunt them for various reasons.
Whaling is the job of hunting whales for commercial purpose where their body parts are transferred into business products (Oxford Learner’s Pocket Dictionary, 2008). Since the 16th century, whales are found and hunted in small numbers, but the situation soon changed as they are killed in large scale with the advancement of human technology, such as the grenade harpoon (Lytle, 2008). They are mostly killed for their body parts, but in some countries such as Denmark, whales are hunted just for the sole purpose to show that they have reached adulthood and thus, continued this tradition. PETA, n. d). This has become one of the important traditions for the citizen of Denmark, and it is a very selfish reason to kill such magnificent animals. In the edge where whales might not have any hope for survival, activist came out to protect them, for their numbers were decreasing dramatically due to their limit of producing offspring each year. They worked hard so that whaling is banned in most countries and their hard work paid off. In 1986, a law between nations has been used to ban commercial whaling, which was great news for the activists (Walsh, 2010).
However, they are still worried, for the number of whales is still decreasing. To make things worse, Japan, Norway and Iceland refused to ban whaling in their countries, and they had exploit the loop in the law to continue their slaughter, which is a cruel act to end the existence of whales (RSPCA, n. d). Although whaling activities may bring some benefits to certain countries, these activities should be stopped at all cost, as whales are innocent animals which humans bear the responsibility to protect them and ensure their continued existence on this mother earth.
Few decades ago, laws were made to stop whaling, which was the moratorium back in 1986 (Walsh, 2010). However, there was an unnoticed loop in the law. It stated that whales could be hunted for the purpose of scientific research, and the whales can be processed for meat after research is done (Lin, 2011). Japan, along with Norway and Iceland jumped into the first chance they have and started to mobilize whaling fleets to areas where the whales are most active in. Activists have since protest against the act of exploitation of these countries, for it was obvious that whales were being killed for their body parts.
Oil of whales, also known as blubber, can be used to make grease. These grease are used as lubricant for motors. The blubber was also processed into candles, soap, lamp oil and such (Triefelddt, 2007). Whales’ meat was made as a main course in restaurants as well as household uses, especially in Japan, where cooking class was opened in school to teach whale meat cooking (Morikawa, 2009). Most consumers of whales’ meat believed that the meat contains high level of nutrients where the meat was in fact harming their health as the meat has high level of mercury instead of nutrients (McCury, 2008).
According to scientific research, too much mercury in our body may cause infertility (Lite, 2008). Once the meat and oil are scraped off, the bones and teeth of whales will be processed to make souvenirs for tourists (Asleson, 2011). These evidences proved that countries hunting whales are for economic reasons instead of scientific reason. In addition, during the hunting of whales, these beautiful creatures were given cruel treatment. Once the whaling fleet found a whale, they would shoot harpoon on the animal in order to hook to their body. The next step would be bringing the whale to the side of the ship before hanging it up to the ship.
In the meantime, the whale will be left to death instead of being processed immediately. Some has to suffer the pain of being cut alive after they are brought up to the ship (Hendrich, n. d). This is a mean of torturing where it is like stabbing someone with a knife and left that person to die slowly, torturing his or her mentality. However, this is not the worst form of torturing suffered by whales. In Faroe Islands, whales, mainly orcas are chased and forced to the shore where whalers waiting to cut them and left them to bleed and struggle until they fall into their death (Rogers, n. d).
These whales do not deserve any kinds of inhumane treatment where only a beast will do such behaviors. Another reason why whales should not be hunted anymore is that these gentle animals are also the creation of god just like humans. They even have a longer history in this planet than humans have (Fordyce, n. d). Since they do not have much method to protect themselves, it is up to humans to protect them, providing them a sanctuary from harm and danger. In contrast, everything we had done was driving these whales to the brink of extinction. Whaling is the main action that has done the most harm to whales.
Whaling has decreased the number of whales to a state where it is impossible for the whales to reproduce fast enough and increase their number back to a safe level (Greenpeace, n. d). Besides that, whales have similarity with humans. They are mammals, which mean that they gave birth to their offspring for continuity of their species. Once the offspring is born, they depend on their mother for food and protection (Whale facts, n. d). If the adults were killed in whaling activities, the young generation will have a small chance to survive the wild environment of the ocean.
They will be hunted not only by humans, but also sharks and orcas. Currently, whales are being killed in the name of scientific research, but these researches are not effective at all. Result of these researches is inaccurate and misleading. This is because the research process is not transparent (WWF, 2005). Nobody has any idea what there are doing to the whales during processing. There are no reports or videos to show the process of research on whales to the public. In addition, whaling cost a lot of money.
To hunt whales, the whaling fleet must travel across the globe to reach the active ground of whales (Vieru. T, 2010). Not only the governments’ money is wasted, Japan was revealed that the money that should be used to help natural disaster victims was transferred by the government to fund whaling (McCurry. J, 2011). This has caused an outrage of the citizens, where they protest against the action taken by the government (Greenpeace, n. d). On the other hand, the result of the research is misleading because there are quite lot of differences between humans and whales.
Even though both humans and whales are mammals, they live in different habitat. Ocean has temperature and pressure that differ from the land (Ackerman, n. d). On one hand, humans cannot live in places with high pressure enough to crush a human easily (Harris, n. d), while whales cannot withstand high temperature on land (Jha, 2009). Another difference that separates humans with whales is that humans do not migrate according to season anymore. Whales migrate to tropical regions when they want to mate and raise them as they give birth to their offspring.
This is one of the most important parts in a whale’s life cycle as they take on a journey with thousands of miles to travel (Walker, 2009). Although there are strong prove mentioned above that indicates the banning of whaling activities must be done at once, small amount of people oppose the suggestion to ban whaling. Opponents claim that whaling is a main source of food and economy. A whale can feed up to several families for weeks, and it has been a special cuisine for some restaurants (The New York times, 2005).
The excess meat can be packaged and exported to other countries to earn foreign currency, while other body parts can be processed to make grease or souvenirs (Wildlife Extra, 2011). The whaling sector also provides job opportunities, where workers can work onboard of a whaling fleet or involved in export companies (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, 2011). Opponents think that if whaling sector is closed, many will lost their job and income, for whaling is an occupation that is passed on from generations to generations (Wohlforth, 2001).
Opponents also state that whales are important scientific research targets. Few facts about whales are known of whales because they are mysterious creatures living in deep seas. Therefore, research should be done in order to find out what are the benefits that whales can bring to humans. For example, the effects of pollutants that may affect human skin and causes disease was carried out on whale tissues and organs (McCarney, 2009). Another research was done to see whether whales feed on fishes in large amount, which eventually causes a decrease in fish population (Timaru Herald, 2009).
However, there are alternatives that opponents can take if whaling were banned. Other domestic animals can provide the meat needed for humans to gain external nutrients. Chicken meat, for example, can provide protein to humans and it is safer to be consumed. It is less oily, and it has the same nutrients provided by whale meat (Palmer, 2010). Recently, a new sector was introduced to replace the economy benefits brought by whaling, which is whale watching. Many countries such as Portugal are promoting this activity to help conserving the whales and at the same time, earn profit from it (Handler, 2007).
During mating season, tourists are taken to the outer sea by boats to let tourists have an opportunity to get close to whales and get to know more about them (Tatchell, 2002). Through whale watching, the tourism sector will be promoted, which brings not only money to the country, but also earn popularity for the countries that has whale watching. Job opportunities can also be provided by building a sanctuary area for whales, and humans can work as conservators to protect whales (Sea Shepherd, n. d). As for the scientific research target, more animals can be used to be research.
There are quite many animals, which have DNA similar to humans. Rhesus monkey was found out that it has 93% of its DNA is similar to human DNA (Choi, 2007). They can help us to differentiate humans and chimpanzees even more. This makes it a better and more suitable research target rather than whales which does not involve killing the animal. Other animals have also proven to provide cure to some human diseases. Snake venom has been researched on and proved that it may provide a cure for cancer, which is a big lifesaver to many (Hile, 2004).
In conclusion, whaling activities brought harm more than benefits to humans and whales. Whaling is just an exploitation carried out by certain countries in the name of scientific research. Not only whaling will affect the species of whales, the whole biodiversity will be affected in the end. If whaling activities are allowed to continue, whales will definitely extinct within the century. Another amazing creation of god will disappear from the surface of earth and humans will bear the responsibility for the years to come.
To avoid this situation from happening, international organizations should put on more pressure on governments such as holding awareness campaign to educate the public in order to force the governments to cooperate and take strict actions against countries that are carrying out whaling activities. Whaling activities should be banned completely, especially those in the name of scientific research in order to save the whales from extinction so that the next generations can witness these amazing creatures as living animals instead of replicas.