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Monday, February 22, 2010

5 Reasons I Watch Whale Wars

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5 Reasons I Watch Whale Wars 
The World Is A Vampire
Some might think the reason for my fascination and dedicated to viewing The Discovery Channel's Whale Wars is based on the controversial antics of the Sea Shepard crew and the attention they draw from both sides.  Or, maybe it is my love for animals and concern for conservation?  I wish I could say my intentions are this pure and noble, but neither made my top 5 list. 

#5  Political In 1982, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) voted for a moratorium on commercial whaling.  Despite warnings from the United States and other nations which supported the IWC's moratorium, Japan continued whaling.
The Pelly Amendment
This amendment allows the President of the United States to "direct the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit the bringing or the importation into the United States of any products from the offending country for any duration as the President determines appropriate."
The Packwood Amendment
This amendment demands that economic sanctions be imposed against any foreign country that conducts fishing operations in such a manner as to "diminish the effectiveness" of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).

#4  Argument Minke whales exist in enough numbers that a return to commercial whaling of this species can be supported with catch limits.  Japan says that its whaling research over the last two decades has shown whales are a sustainable, "renewable marine food resource."  Why not hunt whales if they're not technically endangered?
Those opposed to whaling say there is no longer any reason to hunt whales in a world where petroleum has replaced whale oil, whale meat is no longer necessary for survival, and we know so much about the intelligence and complex social lives of whales.
Today, in Japan 83 percent of Japanese have admitted they have not eaten whale in a long time, or never.  As evidenced by the booming whale-watching tourist industry, millions would rather see whales alive than dead.  And the IWC continues to oppose a return to commercial whaling.

#3  Historical  Although many countries have whaled throughout history, Whale Wars focuses primarily on the Japanese, and therefore, so shall I.  Whale meat was vital in feeding the Japanese population both during and after World War II.  In 1947 whale meat was a primary source of animal protein consumed by the country. Nearly 20 years later, whale meat is found in one-quarter of the Japanese diet.
Japan's Fisheries Agency states that history is an important reason why the Japanese should be allowed to continue to hunt whales. Attempts to stop whaling are perceived by many as a threat to Japanese culture.  According to its defenders, eating whale meat is an old and impenetrable Japanese tradition. "No one has the right to criticize the food culture of another people," said Matayuki Komatsu of Japan's Fisheries Agency.

#2  Philosophical 
Japanese Culture and Pride
A sense of pride is often the first reason provided by the Japanese to explain what fuels their commitment to whaling. To some, the words and actions of those who oppose Japanese whaling are "culturally arrogant" and unnecessarily harsh.  To the Japanese "Pride," is an intrinsic part of their culture and is an acceptable reason to continue any and all historical traditions and practices despite economics, environment, resource or scientific findings.  The impression I get is that the rest of world must accept this, and to question or compromise is disrespectful. 
It is the use of 'Pride' as justification for the continuation of killing whales that first captured my interest.  This fascinates me because this battle between organizations, livelihood, country, and beliefs all stems for one of the most ancient motives in history.

Pride is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise.  Pride caused Lucifer's fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan.   As a writer, I can not help but wonder how often and in how many ways does this lesson have to appear throughout history, culture and span time, for humanity to learn or be reminded?  And it is this singular question that demands I watch, loyally, each and every episode of Whale Wars

Believe it or not, I'm no judging right from wrong, but rather observing human interaction with each other and nature.  There is something poetic about seeing the pouring of blood into the sea by a slaughtered, scientifically proven, feeling and intelligent animal by a modern weapon flung in the name of Pride.  If I close my eyes, I see the image over and over, blood, pride, culture clashes and threat of extinction.  Whatever side of the issue you stand on, a person cannot help but contemplate the symbolic message.  Or, maybe they can...  And, this leads me to my number 1 reason. 

#1  Theme Song  "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," by the Smashing Pumpkins.  The title itself says it all, but the lyrics are more profound and deeply moving.  If you are hungry for a writing assignment or suffering block, maybe you just need an exercise to get the creative mind moving, try these two phrases.

a.  "The world is a vampire"
b.  "Despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in the cage."

Now, go forth and write!  And don't forget to watch Whale Wars on the Discovery Channel.  New episodes begins this Sunday, February 28 @ 9 pm/c

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