Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Whales hunting: Crimes of Ignorance and Greed

For thousands of years, people hunted dolphins and whales for different purposes. It seemed like a dark hate vendetta of humans against the quiet and peaceful giants of seas and oceans. The genocide started in immemorial times, but the true problems started about 200 years ago. The situation is not changed even today. Companies earn immensely from killing whales, and they continue to find new methods to cheat the international laws, which have the goal of protecting the biggest animals on Terra. In those conditions, the survival of whales is a responsibility for the human race.

The Rush For Whale Fat

The true Armageddon of the innocent animals started with the rush for whale oil, which is obtained by melting the fat. It was widely used for illuminating, or as an ingredient for soap and margarine manufacturing.

When large cities started to illuminate the streets during the night, the demand for whale fat increased. Whale hunting was a flourishing occupation during the 19th century. Hundreds of ships from France, England, USA and Norway were sent to find the grey whales, but also those from Greenland. Surprisingly, the larger whales were spared, because they were too resistant for the hand-launched harpoons, and too fast for the vessels of harpooners.

In the 20th century, solidification of fat was discovered. This increased the demand for whale fat, because it was possible to use it to manufacture margarine, butter, and even cheese. Currently, under the specter of worldwide hunger, a whale is used completely, and nothing is thrown away.

The meat is sterilized and conserved for consumption, while the bones and the fat are used for different oils. With hydrogenation, the unpleasant smell is eliminated, so the whale fat can be used in the cosmetics industry. From bones and cartilages, it is possible to make fertilizers and food for pets. Even the whale milk is important, as it is considered a luxury aliment.

The Harpoon that changed their faith

The situation of whales was deteriorated when the steam-propelled ships were invented. The whales-hunter ships became more sophisticated.

In 1836, the Norwegian Sven Foyn invented a new type of harpoon, with a lethal potential. Compared with the classic harpoons, this was a weapon capable of killing the massive blue whales. In 1925, the harpoon cannons were invented, sealing the faith of the largest whales forever.

The canons were capable to launch long harpoons, having an exploding instrument at the top. When the whale’s skin was penetrated, the device exploded, causing massive bleeding. The instrument was fatal for any kind of whale.

A future without whales?

This question will be answered pretty soon, if the incriminated countries will not renounce this criminal branch of industry. Along the time, several proposals were made, with the goal of protecting the remaining whales, but for some species, it was too late. 

In 1871, whales’ hunting in the Arctic Ocean was forbidden, and in 1905, partial hunting restrictions were imposed in Norway, Iceland and Svalbard Islands. The law that saved many species of whales was given in 1931, as a result of the intervention of the League of Nations. It was finalized in London, in 1937.

Despite those laws, the Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic governments have economic interests about whales, because the whale’s products are still popular and demanded in those countries. The majority of people from those countries don’t approve whales hunting, but the market still exists. In 2006, the hunting season was closed by authorities before the term, as the local whale’s meat market was already saturated.

In Japan, 5000 containers with whale meat stay in refrigerated areas, unsold and unwanted. However, the Japanese traditional whale hunters simply don’t have other perspectives. This is why they continue to hunt, and they will do so even if they can barely find buyers. As long as the laws allow them, they will continue to practice their horrifying jobs. 

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