The Instigator
Anelson1994
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
Ore_Ele
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points

Whaling

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Ore_Ele
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,799 times Debate No: 17576
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (4)

 

Anelson1994

Con

Whaling is no longer an acceptable practice in the modern world. It is cruel, barbaric, unnecessary, destructive, and industrially dead. It simply has no place in the 21st century and must be condemned.
Ore_Ele

Pro

I will argue that so long as Whaling is limited to environmentally neutral (meaning that pre-cautions are taken so that whales are not hunted to extinction), it should be allowed.

As this is an open resolution (a debate about a particular topic, rather than a particular resolution), the BoP should be shared by both debaters. Since I am Pro, I will go first.

A1) Whales should be granted no more rights than other animals in the sea, such as fish, sharks, and crabs. All of which, is socially acceptable to hunt (though the term "hunt" is not used, that is what we do) as long as care is taken not to over-fish the population.

If the same cares are taken with whales (only hunted at certain times of the year, have whale spawning programs, and other limits), then they should be granted the same treatment. If they are to receive any kind of special treatment, there must be justification for that special treatment.

A2) Whale is a large source of food (as in food per unit), and so you have the potential of feeding more people through killing less animal life. As opposed to chicken, which several died, just to make that 10 piece KFC (Koopin be with us) original receipe. Allowing the hunting of a single whale can save the lives of hundreds or thousands of fish, or other small animals. So if preserving animal life is part of the goal, eatting whale is a step in the right direction.

I will start with just these and pass this on to my opponent.

Thank you,
Debate Round No. 1
Anelson1994

Con

A 1) Special treatment is typically granted to the being with superior intelligence in our global society. Cetaceans, the classification dolphins and whales belong to, have long been regarded as very, very intelligent. The sperm whale has the world's largest brain at 17 pounds, compared to our meagre 3 pound brain. [1] One could argue that the whale's brain size is relative to it's body size and therefore is not significant, however, a whale's body can be up to 50% blubber, [2] which requires no brain activity to function. This means that the whale may very well have a much bigger brain than it needs and is more intelligent than it may seem. Further study may be needed, but these figures are hard to ignore. Science has also shown that dolphins, which are so closely related to whales that they are sometimes considered one in the same, are literally just behind humans in brain power [3]. It is quite possible that the overall intelligence of some whale species is not only significant, but unmatched. This alone should be justification to grant whales special treatment over other animals, especially with the amount of cruelty with which they are killed.

When a whale is killed by whalers, it is shot with a grenade-tipped, barbed harpoon that explodes on impact. The whale is horrifically injured, gushing blood, struggling to breathe. Usually the babies are hit first because their mothers won't leave their side. As the cetacean helplessly flops around, winched tightly to the nearby harpoon ship, it can take as long as an hour to die. As it's agonized struggle continues, it is shot with a high caliber rifle repeatedly and is sometimes electrocuted to slightly speed up the process. If the whale is still not dead, it is dragged behind the vessel to drown it. This cruel practice has been documented by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the video above. Such a barbaric slaughter of any land animal (cow, chicken, pig, etc.) would never be tolerated in the world today.

A 2) You make a decent point about the amount of food a whale can provide.The Inuit nations of Alaska and Canada rely on whale meat for sustenance. For these primitive people, I find whaling regrettable but acceptable as long as they are responsible and modest with their catch. However, for developed nations like Japan, Norway, and Iceland in-which whaling is an industry, it is very unnecessary. The whaling industry in developed nations is dead in the water. In fact, a recent study revealed that only 17% of Japan's population had eaten whale meat in recent years, or had ever eaten it at all [4]. Global demand for whale meat is next to extinct and will likely never recover. Literally tons of surplus whale meat have been packed into huge, industrial-sized freezers because they are simply unwanted by the public. In 2007, Iceland suspended it's whale hunt for the season because there was such a large surplus and no demand for the meat [5]. If whaling was a necessary practice, that would not be the case. Whaling is not preserving life because no one is buying the meat anyway. Whale meat has a very foul taste and contains very high concentrations of mercury. Some of the surplus meat has been added to the school lunch system in Japan, such meat tested at one school yielded a truly shocking 16 times more mercury than advised by the Japanese Heath Ministry [4]. Mercury is the most toxic non-radioactive element known to man, causing birth defects, autism, and countless other serious aliments. This is simply not something humans should be eating. Whale meat may preserve life, but it may very well be putting human life at risk.

[1] http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov...
[2] http://whales.org.za...
[3] http://news.discovery.com...
[4] http://www.digitaljournal.com...
[5] http://www.earthweek.com...
Ore_Ele

Pro

I thank my opponent for a well done round and look forward to the rest of this debate.

1) The rights of animals.

I will take this into two prongs (I like the number two for some reason).

a) Brain size in whales is actually very small.

The average human adult is about 85 kg with a brain size of about 1.7 kg, giving it a mass to body weight ratio of 2.0% [1].
The gray whale weighs about 36 tonnes [2] with a brain size of about 3.4 kg. This gives it a 0.012% ratio (about 1/170 the size of a human's).
The sperm whale (with the largest brain of any animal, and so almost cherry picked data) comes in at about 57 tonnes [4] with a brain size of about 9 kg [5] (some sources pointed to less like 7.5 kg, but better to over guess than to under guess). This gives it a ratio of only 0.016%.
The blue whale comes in at around 180 tonnes [6] with a brain size of only 6 kg [7]. Giving it the lowest brain size ratio of whales at only 0.003%.
The bottlenose dolphine weighs about 400 kg and has a brain size of 1.65 kg [8] (about the same size as us), and this brings it in at 0.4% ratio.

This clearly shows that nothing has a similar brain to weight ratio as humans, and that whales, do not come close to the level of dolphins in that department (the closet is still less than 1/20 the ratio).

b) Brain size, or ratio, is not what grants rights. Depending on one's philosophy, the three most common granters or rights are ability to develop rational and cognative thinking, human DNA, a religious doctrine. And none of those would qualify whales for rights.

Regarding the way whalers kill whales, that is something that can be fixed through regulations, just like they do with cows and other livestock, requiring humane deaths. Placing limits on hunting times, hunting areas, and hunting methods are all things that we do with other animals that we hunt (deer, ducks, and dingos). Doing so allows us to continue hunting, while helping to preserve the species (not allowing it to be hunted to extinction) and be humane in their deaths.

2) Whale meat.

While whale meat is not very tasty to many people, taste is highly subjective. Many people do not like sushi and think that it is disgusting, while others enjoy it very much. We also know that most people never eat caviar, nor shark, yet such things are often considered delicacies for those that can afford them/enjoy them. It is curious about the demand for whale meat. Obviously if people are not buying it, whalers would not be hunting it. While this may seem like something is up, I simply look at it and see that there is plenty of wiggle room to add restrictions, which would cut the number of whales killed, while not really effecting the actual consumed supply.

Going on to the Mercury points, this is a very strong point, however, it should be understood about how dangerous mercury is and at what concentration levels. The LD50 for Mercury (dose amount that has a 50% chance of killing someone) is about 75mg/kg [9][10] meaning that an average person of 85kg can consume about 6.4 g of mercury before hitting the LD limit. This is largely because your body is not very good at absorbing Mercury through injestion [11]. Now whale meat comes in at about 100 ppm (making it the most mercury concentrated meat you can get, exotic). A simle serving is going to be around 120 grams (about 4 oz), so that one serving of whale meat would get you about 12 mg, 1/500 the amount needed to likely kill you.

This is why the FDA does not have any restrictions on mercury for every day people, only for young children and pregrent mothers. Because mercury is believed to interfere with early brain development, but even that is questionable, because of conflicting studies (though oddly enough, the primary theory of why the studies differ is because of whale meat).

[1] http://faculty.washington.edu...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.learner.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.enchantedlearning.com...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://www.youramazingbrain.org.uk...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[9] http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk...
[10] http://www.mycolleaguesareidiots.com...
[11] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Anelson1994

Con

A1) You make a decent point on this part of the issue, but I would like to point out that, relative to it's size, the shrew has the largest brain of any animal [1]. The humble shrew is far from the most intelligent in the Animal Kingdom, proving that brain size does not necessarily measure intelligence. That being said, the complexity of the brain may be more telling. Humans and primates have what are called spindle cells. Spindle cells are believed to be what allow us to love and feel emotional suffering, the thoughts and feelings that supposedly make us human. Whales, it has recently been discovered, not only have these cells, but have an estimated three times as many as we do, even with brain size considered [2]. Whales have had spindle cells twice as long as we have. Dolphins don't even have these cells, despite their remarkable intelligence. Whales have been proven to have very complex communication abilities, even a social culture. They can pass information and ideas over vast distances through a kind of SONAR. They can learn from each other, and that is culture [3]. It couldn't be more obvious to me that the whale's intelligence is remarkable. These animals deserve rights over the barbaric practice of killing them.

Modern whaling has been improved upon many times to make it as humane as possible, but the fact of the matter is, it will never be humane. Whales are simple too big of animals to be killed quickly by any practical means. Due to their obvious intelligence, they must be protected.

2) The Japanese whaling fleet has taken hundreds fewer whales in recent years due to environmentalist obstructions, and even some of that whale meat has gone to surplus. In the past two seasons, they have taken less than half of their quota. Iceland and Norway take very few because of the low demand and, as I said before, shut down for the 2007season [4]. In Japan and Norway, whaling has been kept alive through government subsidies for quite some time [5]. It just doesn't make any sense to keep whaling, cruel or not. There is simply no reason to cause so much pain and suffering for a dead industry.

Mercury in whale meat may not kill, if it did people would not eat it. But if it effects early brain development, it should NOT be in Japanese schools [6], where many developing brains could be affected. That closes one loop-hole on an already very short list of outlets for the surplus. Whaling is simply not worth the potential damage it could do. It must be condemned as a thing of the past.

*We have also not even begun to debate the firestorm of legal issues surrounding whaling. If my opponent not wish to, that is acceptable.

[1] http://www.kk.org...
[2] http://www.newscientist.com...
[3] http://www.dailygalaxy.com...
[4] http://www.earthweek.com...
[5] http://esciencenews.com...
[6] http://www.digitaljournal.com...
Ore_Ele

Pro

A1) My opponent has back tracked across his original argument about brain size (relative to body) and rights when he said, "This means that the whale may very well have a much bigger brain than it needs and is more intelligent than it may seem. Further study may be needed, but these figures are hard to ignore," and in his next round said, "but I would like to point out that, relative to it's size, the shrew has the largest brain of any animal. The humble shrew is far from the most intelligent in the Animal Kingdom, proving that brain size does not necessarily measure intelligence."

Now my opponent suggests that rights be granted on the pressense of spindle cells. We still aren't sure what spindle cells are for, but we've found them in several animal groups, and not in all speicies of the animal groups (for example, they've only been found in 5 whales and 2 dolphins). Most whales and dolphin species do not have them. And even then, the size of them in not imporant, but their numbering and activity, of which humans posses the most and most active. None of these are good reasons to grant right for, as it would ditate that we remove the minimal rights we grant to most other animals (such as dogs and cats).

Whaling is far from "as humane as possible" as my opponent states. He even stated that we sometimes like to drag whales backwards to drown them, and shoot their babies to keep the parents in the vacinity. Is that really the best we can do? No, of course we can do better, by requiring that whalers use drugs to knock whales out, allowing the to safely get close to whales, so they can preform a head shot allowing for a zero-suffering death (even if the whale heart keeps beating for a few moments, if the brain is destroyed, no pain can be felt). That is far more humane than what is currently being done and does not require an all out ban.

C2) Government subsidies can be removed without banning the practice altogether, and their removal, by the nature of markets, would cause a decrease in whaling. But none of that suggests that placing limits and restrictions on the times one can whale, the manner in which a whale ought to be killed, and whale breeding programs would not be effective enough.

Mercury is only harmful in developmental stanges for the brain, and so it is not harmful to most people (and the vast majority of americans, zing!). Of course, kids should have an extremely limited consumption of any mercury that is not balanced with selenium (neutralizes the mercury). This does not show anything that whaling should be stopped, only that kids probably shouldn't eat it. They also shouldn't drink wine (pending their age), but it is okay for the rest of us.

The legal issues, I have no plans on bringing up because laws are completely subjective to each different nation. It is also a fallacious reason to not do something. Drunk driving being an example. You shouldn't drink and drive, not because it is against the law, but because it has extremely high risk of inflicting injury to yourself, property, and others. If the only argument is that it is illegal, than there is no argument.

That being said, we shall proceed to the final round.

Thank you,
Debate Round No. 3
Anelson1994

Con

A1) There is still much to be learned about the complexity of whale and dolphin brains. Whales are notoriously difficult to study and it may be years or even decades before we know the truth about their intelligence. But the fact that humpback whales do in fact posses spindle cells (and three times as many as we do) should at least grant humpback whales protection from whaling due to their obvious intelligence, considering nearly all scientists agree that spindle cells are in fact for intelligence and emotional purposes. I am also not saying that rights should be given soley to animals with spindle cells, just that animals that have them should have at least the same rights as dogs and cats and such.

I apologize for my ignorance to the humanity of whaling. It is not the best we could do and I was foolish to think so. However, Japan has long claimed that it's hunt is "as humane as possible" [1], and yet they continue to commit such atrocities all over the world. They are clearly not interested in being humane and I sincerely doubt that any laws will change that due to the laws already being broken.

"Notwithstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10, catch limits for the killing for commercial purposes of whales from all stocks for the 1986 coastal and the 1985/86 pelagic seasons and thereafter shall be zero. This provision will be kept under review, based upon the best scientific advice, and by 1990 at the latest the Commission will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the effects of this decision on whale stocks and consider modification of this provision and the establishment of other catch limits." -- International Whaling Commission schedule, paragraph 10 e, 1982.

All commercial whaling is illegal. Whaling has been illegal since 1986 and has remained so to the present day. You see, all whaling conducted today is done under 'scientific permits' issued to Japan, Iceland, and Norway at the request of each nation. They conduct 'research' whaling for the betterment of whale 'research' and thereby add 'research' to the scientific community. However, they also sell the meat unused in 'research' to fund their 'research' so they can continue to conduct 'research.' It's all a charade. Iceland and Norway have gone as far as flat-out admitting that they whale for commercial purposes [3]. Japan still maintains that it's whaling is for research purposes only but that claim is almost universally considered a lie. Most of Japan's whaling takes place in the Southern Ocean within Australian and New Zealand Territorial waters (and also in a whale sanctuary), Australia is so certain that this 'research' is an abomination that they are taking Japan to court in The Hague to try and stop their crimes [4]. The Institute of Cetacean Research, the company that conducts Japan's whaling has stated that they are "...conducting vital research into whale populations, social structures and diet." I do not need to tell you that none of those research criteria would require them to kill over 1000 whales per year. They are killing whales for profit, the research ploy is nothing but a gross loop-hole to continue something that is illegal.

[1] http://www.theage.com.au...
[2] http://iwcoffice.org...
[3] http://news.discovery.com...
[4] http://www.theaustralian.com.au...
Ore_Ele

Pro

I thank my opponent for this interesting and rather unique debate.

First, I will respond to my opponent's forth round comments, followed by a summary.

Even if we do grant Whales the same rights as cats and dogs, we allow people of other cultures to eat cats and dogs in their own lands. And other cultures think that it is horrible to eat cows, or pigs, yet we continue to eat cows and pigs.

As for the IWC, it should be noted that it is not a legal entity which passes legally binding laws. As stated in their Catch Limit section, "As Norway has lodged objections to the relevant items in the Schedule, [strong]it has exercised its right to set national catch limits[/strong] for its coastal whaling operations for minke whales. The Commission passed a Resolution calling on Norway to halt all whaling activities under its jurisdiction."

Now, the other nations are free to setup sanctions against Norway (and Japan for that matter) to pressure them to stop, but that is up to them individually.

Now, going back to Nations creating laws, obviously creating laws by themselves is impotent if they are not enforced. That becomes the biggest thing, to enforce those laws. Since the market is so low to begin with, simply cutting the subsidies and moderate enforcement of the laws would likely solve most of the issues, be it from keeping an appointed Quality Control individual on board to make sure the whales are indeed killed humanely and to code, or to simply offering whistle-blowers sufficient protection from backlash.

In conclusion, we can see that while current whaling practices are outdated, inhumane, and un-necessarily violent, an out-right global ban is not the best option as there is no reason that the whales should be given global rights over every other non-human animal.

Thank you,
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
Debate - "A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward."

Resolution - "A formal expression of opinion..."

You don't have to have a formal espression of opinion in order to have a formal discussion on a particular topic.

Normally when you have a resolution, you debate that resolution, and not the inherent topic at hand. This can often leave it open to semantics and other meaningless tricks.

There is a difference between "Government should cut spending by $1 trillion" and "Government should cut spending." One is a fixed resolution, the other is open (some might even say, not a resolution at all).

A resolution is only needed when you are arguing alone a fine line (which programs to cut), but if you're arguing two different ends which a large gap between them, a fine line in the middle is not needed (like the nuclear energy debate) for the debate because we're never going to be arguing for just an inch to our side of the line.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Suppose you like baseball in which the batter is free to run in either direction and a run is scored if you reach second base? That may or may not be fun, but it isn't baseball. Similarly, you may like debates without resolutions, but they are not debates. For this one, I imagined what the resolution might have been, because it's impossible to judge without some resolution. However, any opponent can say "there is no resolution" and you then lose.
Posted by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
I tend to like resolution free debates, that are about an overall idea rather than a particular resolution. I may make it harder to judge, since each voter needs to place their own value system, but it is more in line with real life.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
The whale's large brain is generally regarded as devoted to processing sonar signals, not to what would be generally thought of as "intelligence" devoted to reasoning or other human-like characteristics. I think it is a valid point that humans do value animals in accord with how human-like they seem to be. Worms and lizards don't have a chance compared to kittens and apes. Con didn't oint this out in the debate, but Pro didn't argue human-like characteristics, just an abstract concept of intelligence unappreciated in whales.

I tend to like any debate that is not about religion, gay rights, or abortion, but this one really needed a resolution.
Posted by Nisselue 3 years ago
Nisselue
In Norway we use harpoons with grenades on them, wait for the whale to get up for some air, aiming for the head, then a lot of time will be used to make sure they hit correctly. Then the whale will die by blood loss. When the shell hits the whale it will loose consciousness, it wont feel a thing if it is done correctly. Norway is pretty stringent on how we treat our animals so we have a lot of laws to protect them. Iceland is pretty much the same as Norway in everything so i believe they try to be as humane as possible too.
Posted by ApostateAbe 3 years ago
ApostateAbe
Ore_Ele, you are right, and I don't know how I missed that big list of sources.
Posted by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
I fully accept saying that Con had better sources, but it isn't accurate to say that I had "no sources." I presented my sources in R2, and did the rest of the argument based from those sources and the ones my opponent provided. However, I can accept that I probably should have re-linked each round.
Posted by LeafRod 3 years ago
LeafRod
This site needs more whale.
Posted by Greyparrot 3 years ago
Greyparrot
And tasty
Posted by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
He created a debate and left within the minute... strange. But I'd actually like to debate this. It is a fresh difference from the norm of religion, abortion, and gay marriage.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Anelson1994Ore_EleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This is a tough one, because both sides make valid points and neither side paid much attention to what the resolution might be. A major factor in my evaluation was that Co granted that Inuits ought to be able to hunt whales, for reasons of tradition rather than because the food is needed for survival. Okay, so why are Inuit traditions to be honored and not, say, Japanese whaling traditions? Something inherently barbaric could never be allowed.
Vote Placed by Double_R 3 years ago
Double_R
Anelson1994Ore_EleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con made his case very well but placed a large burden on himself that he never quite affirmed. His strongest argument was that of the intelligence and emotional level of whales but did not devote enough space to make this argument conclusive and Pro showed that there were holes in it. This concludes that there is some more work needed to be done but until we know for sure there is no reason to condemn it.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 3 years ago
ApostateAbe
Anelson1994Ore_EleTied
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct and arguments go to Pro for Con's shoddy resolution ("no place in the 21st century") and the fact that he conceded the resolution in Round 2: "For these primitive people, I find whaling regrettable but acceptable..."
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 3 years ago
Man-is-good
Anelson1994Ore_EleTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a good debate, and both sides did well to defend their views...Con and Pro were close in spelling and grammar, though Pro made a few spelling mistakes in round three, thereby giving Pro a point for spelling and grammar. Pro however did note some of the weaknesses in Con's arguments, such as the fact that intelligence does not necessarily equate to rights, or the potential harm of an all-ban on whaling. I congratulate Con for his case here; he shows great promise.