Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dolphins in Taiji

In Taiji, Japan at this time of year, there is a harvest of the dolphin population. A few are collected and sent of to aquariums around the world. More are slaughtered for their meat. At other times during the year, Japanese ships head out to hunt whales, whose meat finds its way to grocery shelves around Japan in both fresh and canned form. This harvest is said to be for scientific purposes.

This post is not an argument for or against the controversial killing of living things, but rather a proposal for action that removes the necessity for struggle and the squandering of life in pursuit of personal gain. 

People who oppose these slaughters are many and vocal. Protesters stand outside Japanese embassies and around the area where the dolphins are killed in Taiji. Some post appeals in various places against the killing.

This post is not an argument for or against the controversial killing of living things, but an examination of the irrational arguments on both sides. Those who would prevent harm coming to dolphins and whales argue that the animals posses significant intelligence and emotional faculties. Those who support the killing, actively or passively, posses a variety of beliefs, completely unexamined and irrational.

The opposition makes appeals to the general public to stop the killing, hoping that, 1.) they will put some kind of pressure on politicians, 2.) will send financial support to groups who may be able to exert political pressure or monkey wrench hunts, 3.) will influence buying habits of sympathetic people, becoming an economic force that can sway businesses to exert some kind of political pressure to stop the practices.

Each of these options rely, in the end, on some kind of political action. 1.) and 3.) directly imply some kind of political action, and 3.) necessitates political action in that government will be asked to reimburse losses to businesses as a result of direct action, increasing the tax burden on the population.

These actions will be totally ineffectual without significant comprehensive change, as governments care not a whit about their populations in general (I offer the example of the Fukushima nuclear power plants as an example) much less sea creatures. Their task is to protect their existence by maintaining the status quo through violence if necessary.

I see a parallel between this issue and the annual slaughter of baby harp seals in Canada. The struggle to end this harvest, largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world, has continued since I became aware of environmental issues in the 1970's.

Governments and those who support whaling and dolphin harvests argue that Japanese people have always eaten whale/dolphin meat and that since it is a traditional food source, then it is appropriate for them to continue the hunts.

This argument is a red herring. There is no relationship to animals traditionally eaten or banned. In A.D. 675, Emperor Temmu prohibited people from eating the meat of horses, monkeys, dogs, chickens and cows. I assume that since the ruler prohibited people from eating them that it must have been a practice at the time to consume these animals for food.

I have never heard a Japanese person say that they have eaten dog, nor have I seen a place where dog meat was on sale, though people who travel abroad may consume dog meat in other countries where eating do is not taboo. The hunting of monkeys in Japan is strictly forbidden, even though they do serious damage to crops and periodically attack humans. I do not believe they eat them. However, Japanese people regularly eat all of the other animals, both raw and cooked. Eating habits can change instantly or slowly over time. "Tradition" excuses nothing.

I would prefer to see this needless suffering end, and so I propose two solutions, but this will require some difficult changes. First, I propose that the struggle to stop/ban/prohibit the hunting and killing of dolphins should end. It is not metaphysically useful to continue expending energy that reinforces an undesirable situation.

It was Neville Goddard, a New Thought lecturer of the mid 20th century, who recommended that we “assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled” if we want our dreams to become real. Feeling good is feeling God—our good feelings align us with Spirit.

Dr. Wayne Dyer
"To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them - while they last. All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease."
Eckhart Tolle

My second proposal is to stop consuming. Stop consuming as much as possible. This grotesque squandering of life is all connected with the desire to posses things at the expense of others and our earth. If you are reading this, you have access to the Internet, which makes you one of the 3-5% of the world's population who does. You can do with less. I can do with less.

dolphin photo provided by

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