The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points


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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/3/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 518 times Debate No: 66322
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing FOR whaling.

There are three conditions for acceptance of this debate. I feel they are simple, but I have been disappointed in the past.

1. Stay on topic.
2. Do not lie.

My beginning arguments are as follows:

1. The target species are NOT endangered. Minke whales are not at all endangered, fin whales are not endangered in the North Atlantic, which is where they are hunted.

2. It IS possible to kill humanely. Statistics from Norway show that 80% of whales are confirmed dead within a moment, and at least one veterinarian believes that instant insensibility is even more common.

3. Whale meat is NOT toxic. This myth is primarily based on meat from dolphin or similar species, not baleen whales. Baleen whales feed directly from the lowest levels of the food chain, and thus do not exhibit the magnification effect of toxins that is observed in dolphins.

4. Whaling provides societal benefits. The industry provides income to some 1,000 people, who would be without money if whaling were to stop. Especially in small rural communities for example in Northern Norway, whaling is a significant supplement to fishermen's incomes in the summer months, when the cod are away.


I'd like to thank my opponent for this interesting debate, and I'd like to formally accept their challenge.

1. First of all, Minke whales and finback whales are not the only ones being hunted. Japan, in blatant disregard of previous internationally-set zero quotas for sperm whales and Bryde's whales, Japan continued to hunt them. The Bryde's whales zero quota was sent in 1976 by the International Whaling Commission, but in the same 1976-1978 whaling season Japan would kill at the least 225 of them. In 1986, Japan submitted a research proposal to the IWC to take 825 minke whales and 50 sperm whales for that season. Even though this proposal was declined, Japan continued to hunt these animals anyway.

Furthermore, the finback whale is actually rated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, even in the North Atlantic. The entire species, including all of its subspecies, is endangered. Current estimates by the IWC find that there is only a population of approximately 25,000 for the Greenland/Iceland/Jan Mayen area, and only 4,000 for North and East Norway (

2. Could you please provide a link to your Norwegian source? My source ( finds that on average it takes just over 2 minutes for minke whales to die after being harpooned, and according to evidence from the Sea Shepherds they observed the death took 25 minutes and during this time the whale screamed loudly and thrashed while more shots were put into it because the initial harpoon was a poor shot (

3. Whale meat, yes, is not toxic. The Japanese eat it all the time. I will concede this point.

4. The industry provides income to a whole 1000 people? 1000 people out of seven billion worldwide is 0.0000014%, according to my calculations. Also, last I checked, Norway has a very good welfare system, as well as state healthcare. These fisherman also do, as you yourself have pointed out, have a regular income during the winter. Do we risk putting entire species into extinction at the expense of 0.0000014% of the world's population?
Debate Round No. 1


1. It is important to understand that the IWC moratorium, legally, does not apply to catches taken under scientific permit. Controversial as these permits are, they do exempt Japan from the zero-catch limit. Japan does take a number of other whales in addition to minkes, but the numbers taken are a great deal smaller than the catch of minkes. For example, according to the IWC records, since the moratorium, Japan has taken 13,298 minke whales, which dwarfs the 658 Bryde's whales, 1,089 sei whales, and 56 sperm whales taken in the 28 years of research catches since the moratorium. The ICRW does not require approval from the commission to issue research permits, only mandating that they and the research findings be submitted for review.

The North Atlantic Fin Whale, according to the IUCN [1], "European regional assessment: Near Threatened". This ranking means that this stock of whales is not endangered. The populations in the N. Atlantic are generally "either stable or increasing". It is important to regard that species are not classified as endangered only by numbers, but by the danger posed to the species of population decline or extinction.


Sea Shepherd's testimony is not to be taken without a grain of salt. And there is a substantial difference between the whaling in Norway and Japan. Norwegians use much smaller boats, at much lower speeds, and have higher quality grenades for the harpoons. Clear footage from whaling in Norway is scarce, but one video I know of is in my list of sources at the bottom. It shows how the whale is shot and killed in just a moment. And minke whales do not make audible sound, so not sure what SS is talking about when they say the whale "screamed".

4. Whaling is not the only small industry in the world. And that number is only commercial whaling workers. Thousands more are involved in some manner in indigenous communities throughout the world. How many bison farmers are there in the US? Or chestnut farmers? Or other niche industries? We must not hold whalers to a double standard. But to answer your question, no, we should not. And we already are not, because we hunt only about a tenth of a percent of the world whale population yearly. I will be quite impressed if a respected scientific authority sees this as a threat. Fishing by-catch and pollution are harming many more than the small whale hunting industry.

Whaling is many times more humane than the factory farms most of the west's meat comes from. One may call it cruel to shoot an animal with a large gun, but I consider it cruel to lock the animal up his whole life, in a dark, filthy pen or cage, being fed artificial chemical hormone-infused feed, and then kill him with a small gun. We each may pick the life animals would prefer. They die either way, what matters is the quality of life. The quickness of death is not much different between farming, big game hunting, and whaling.

Whaling video:



How many bison farmers are there in the US?
Well, I don't have the number off the top of my head, but *farming* is a lot different than *hunting* a wild animal. These animals are bred to be slaughtered, whereas wild animals are simply captured and slaughtered.

Whaling isn't a niche industry. There's plenty of other fish in the sea, so to speak. Especially since we hunt it primarily for its meat.

We only hunt about a tenth of a percent of the world whale population? [citation needed] 1/10 is still a lot larger than 0.0000014% of the human global population. Can you provide an estimate of how many "indigenous" populations are allowed to/actively hunt these creatures?

But most of our seafood is also wild-caught, not farmed. These harpoons are tipped with grenades. Literal grenades. Explosions. Kaboom! Gore everywhere. And if it misfires, it's going to take multiple shots or a lot longer for the whale to die.
I never suggested locking whales up in special farms to harvest their meat. My position here is that we should not be hunting these creatures.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent implies that the killing of domesticated animals in a farm is morally different than killing a wild animal in the wild. We must examine this point to determine if it is valid, and to do so we must look at the experience of the animal. In both cases, the animal dies. So what is different in the two cases? The animal's life prior to death. I find it difficult to comprehend why an animal would find it more pleasant to grow up on a factory farm than in the wild, where he would naturally live.
No one is considering the farming of whales, so the only feasible way of taking them is in the natural environment: a better place to live.

The percent value of the hunted whales in comparison to the percent of human hunters is always going to be higher. This is the case with virtually every form of hunting, as there is little chance, for example, that more than one hunter is required to shoot a single deer. The exception to this is whaling, in which more than one crew member is indeed required to hunt one whale. But they invariably hunt more whales in a season than there are crew on a boat.
My opponent's comparison here may be factually true, but it is statistically irrelevant, because regardless of the numbers of whales and whalers, the hunt is ecologically sustainable, as is understood by scientific whale authorities, such as the IWC and NAMMCO.

There are approximately five populations throughout the world that hunt whales under IWC regulation: Alaskans, Canadians, Greenlanders, Russians, Indonesians, and the people of St. Vincent & Grenadines.

My opponent describes the harpoon grenades that are used to hunt large whales. One must realize that these grenades are quite expensive, and there is no real reason to use them instead of a plain steel harpoon, except for the reason of animal welfare. I have yet to see footage of a whaling shot that results in "gore everywhere". In Norway, Iceland, and Greenland. the grenade explodes inside the whale, for maximal organ damage and quick death. This technology has been highly successful, leading to 80% of Norwegian shot whales dying instantaneously. To give an analogy, being shot with a plain steel ("cold") harpoon is akin to a stabbing, while the exploding grenades are more akin to a gunshot. I believe we can be in agreement that the harpoon grenades are better in regards to animal welfare.


But why do we need to hunt whales? Why is it so vitally important? It may be important to less than a tenth of a percent of the world's human population, but that's one tenth of a percent! Whale meat isn't essential to the seafood we fish from the sea each year. Neither is Japan's so-called "research."

80% of Norwegian whales. And what about the other 20%? Cruel, slow, painful deaths? Multiple harpoon shots? And what about the Japanese whalers? They're under less regulation than the Norwegians have in place, and they have been known to step out of international regulation. What about these whalers from Russia? Indonesia? Do they have the same safeguards as the Norwegians? Do they care as much for the animal's welfare?

The fact is, hunting whale meat is a luxury we don't need to take the risk with. Whales are endangered. Countries violate international treaties to hunt them. Why do we risk extinction for just some whale meat?
Debate Round No. 3


We do not "need" to hunt whales. That being said, we don't "need" to kill cows, pigs, chickens, etc. There are indeed other sources of food. We choose the food we eat, and with that comes the right to harvest the animals we wish to eat. And if the Norwegians, Japanese, Icelanders, Greenlanders, Faroese, etc. wish to eat whale meat, what right does the west have to tell them it is not okay, while destroying thousands of square miles of wildlife habitat to make room for cattle ranches, and raising millions of cattle in poor conditions to be killed? Whaling does not destroy habitat. It never has, and it never will. The whales are born and grow up in the best conditions the world has to offer them, and like the animals that are made into America's big macs, they are then killed and eaten.

The other 20% my opponent brings up are not necessarily dying very slowly, it only means they are not dead instantly, just like that. But the animal is generally winched quickly back to the boat, and shot with a very large rifle to the head. Again, whaling must be compared to other forms of meat production in regards to humane kills. Holding it to a higher standard is arbitrary and meaningless. Take for example deer hunters. Most deer are killed instantly or very quickly. But sometimes, as is the case with any kind of hunting or fishing, the animal does not die instantly, and may be shot again to relieve pain.
Criticizing whaling for not maintaining an impossible 100% instant death rate is a significant double standard in comparison to alternatives.
However, I maintain that even in the longest death times, a whale only experiences less than a day of pain, in comparison to a lifetime of misery attained by modern farmed animals.

My opponent brings up other whaling groups, so I feel it appropriate to discuss them. The Japanese do not have the same instant death rate as the Norwegians for a number of reasons, among them the rougher sea conditions, faster boats, taller boats, and inferior quality of harpoon grenades. I feel that there is an obligation for the Japanese to improve their practices, yes. The whalers in Russia and Indonesia are aboriginal groups, and thus do not utilize the same killing method as commercial whalers do. They will generally use hand held harpoons and lances instead of a harpoon cannon. This leads to a longer time to death. However, aboriginal hunting techniques of many animals, such as hunting of big game in Africa, tend to have longer death times due to the older methods and weapons. Whaling must not be held to a double standard, but I do agree that continual improvement of the hunting methods to improve animal welfare would be in order.

Whale meat is not a luxury. It is a reasonably priced, good quality meat that is sometimes eaten in whaling nations. The hunted whales are not endangered, and hunting of endangered species has essentially been phased out. Norway hunts exclusively minke, Iceland hunts fin and minke, and Japan, starting next year, is hunting only minke in the antarctic.

No treaties are violated in whaling. The ICRW article 5 specifically allows whaling nations to object to any provision of any decision by the IWC and thus not be legally bound by it. Therefore, Iceland and Norway are indisputably whaling legally. Article 8 specifically allows the taking of whales for scientific research, so Japan's whaling is also legal.

The ICJ has ruled that Japan's program in the Antarctic did not fulfill this provision, however, it also ruled that the whaling would once again be legal with a revised research program, which has been formulated in preparation for the winter 2015 season.

We do not risk extinction for whale meat. Even according to Sea Shepherd, there are at least 800,000 minke whales in the oceans. We hunt, say, 1,000 per year. This means that, essentially, unless only 1 in more than 400 female minke whales gives birth per year, the population is unlikely to see any whaling-related decline.


smlburridge forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Concluding Arguments:

Minke whales and Fin whales are not in any danger of extinction, and comprise virtually all the commercial whaling market.

It is possible to kill whales humanely, and is proven the norm in Norway and Faroe Islands.

Whaling provides jobs to about a thousand, and work/money to thousands more, maintaining ships, processing/transporting meat, etc.

It is more environmentally destructive, per kilogram of meat produced, to raise livestock on land than to hunt whales in the sea.

Whaling must not be held to a double standard of profitability, animal welfare, and other aspects that say, hunting in the US does not fulfill. Relatively few Americans hunt game, but this is not seen by the US government as grounds to ban it.

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, and good day. :)


smlburridge forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by paulbrevik 1 year ago
A bit, yes, but I just find it easier when I can assume the opponent is at least presenting things that are true, if not completely sound arguments.
Posted by Conservative101 1 year ago
"Do not lie."

Kinda hard to enforce this rule, don't you think?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Pro. Con forfeited two rounds by the end of the debate which is rarely acceptable conduct in any debate setting. S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar throughout. Arguments - Pro. Both built compelling cases, but it was Pro that remained standing by the end due to Con failing to present any rebuttals to his last two rounds of argumentation. Because Pro was left standing unchallenged, he wins arguments. Sources - Tie. Both utilized sources in this debate, and both were well applied, for this the sources balance out due to neither really standing out more than the other. Great debate guys!