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Norwegian Whaling

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/15/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,209 times Debate No: 58990
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)



I will be arguing for (in favor of) Norwegian whaling activities. Please only accept if you are against Norwegian whaling. Opponent can start with either acceptance or opening arguments, I don't mind.


Norwegian Whaling is the hunting of the Minke Whale for the purposes of collecting the whale meat for human consumption. The commercial practice dates back to the early 1900s until the modern day. In the opening argument, I will be be showing the voters why the commercial operation of stripping the whales of their meat and blubber is done in an unethical manner and why unnecessary bloodshed and toil for these animals should be opposed. In order to defend my side sufficiently, I am required to prove as to why the Norwegian Whaling activities are not favorable and present a persuasive set of reasons as to why I believe this. If the voters believe that my points are valid, and carry substantive weight in favor of my side, then I believe I have fulfilled the burden of my stance.

1) It is unethical to injure, maim or kill any animal without infringing upon their basic animal rights.

"Animal rights is the idea that some, or all, non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives, and that their most basic interests " such as an interest in not suffering " should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings." [1]

Humans are hunting Minke whales primarily through an unethical method of "spear-drifting" in which the whale is harpooned by a weapon with a long shaft and barbed tip. The whale hunting culture is spurred by the "good taste" of the whale meat and the value of the skinned blubber; it has caused whale hunting to become very common and prevalent in Eastern Norway, and the influence of this is quickly spreading throughout the other parts of Norway (even to Iceland), where whales are hunted by large packs of men who obtain the meat and blubber through highly immoral means (puncturing its skin, extracting the blubber/meat, netting it, suffocating it on land, consciously inflicting pain upon it and maltreating it). This can be seen as a direct infringement of the animal rights that are bestowed upon the creatures since birth - we should not only impose stricter laws and fines for a violation of conduct/basic animal rights, but we should also implement stricter law enforcement to prevent future incidents in which whales are impaled and intentionally tortured (a personal rumination: I would suggest provisional license suspension followed by permanent license suspension for recidivism, in which a person or group of people are aware of the consequences of their actions but still decide to pursue illicit activities under surveillance; these criminals should be removed entirely from the fishery field, or sentenced to a high-degree of rehabilitation).

2) Whaling is a dominant and lucrative industry in Norway.

If we are able to remove the monetary incentives of harpooning whales in Norway, then we are able to completely destroy any intentional infliction of pain done out of illicit distribution of blubber and meat to wealthy investors, or any secretive whaling organizations that perform these operations behind the scenes. We are able to impose a law in which you are required to have a credible record of legal fishing, a "good" fishing history and experience and no recorded involvement with any illegal external traffickers of meat/blubber that collect and export these prized possessions to affluent collectors/investors.

3) Whale meat is not imperative to human survival.

In many countries worldwide, whale meat is not something that is absolutely "necessary" for survival, but rather an addition to their culture. Voters must consider the balance between cultural satisfaction (which has lasted an ephemeral two-hundred years) and the death and extinction of an entire species of whale. A removal of one critical link of an ecosystem/food chain will cause ruptures far greater than the dissatisfaction of one's taste palates and instead disrupt the crucial symbiosis and interactions between the various organisms and micro-organisms of that region, which have a huge dependency on each other's wellbeing - it is bound to destroy the predator-prey connection and if furthered, may damage greater regions as the lack of symbiosis and mutual benefits expands to wider areas such as Japan and much of Eastern Asia (which have already been experiencing a great decline of whale populations in recent years).

4) Whaling has been objected in the past, and has received very strong public support.

A key component as to why the whaling ban was imposed was the important fact that fishers in the 1800s were having trouble fishing for "good" fish in the oceans and thus reverted to fishing whales, which were easier to catch, carried a lot more meat, organs and skin, and was easier to sell to the many consumers across the globe for inflated prices. That year, the whale populations plummeted significantly, and the whales that were popular in that generation were becoming critically endangered and were in high jeopardy of becoming extinct. Thus, the fishing community and the superintendents decided to take immediate action to reprieve of this unethical and unjustified decision.

"In the profound conviction of the destructive effect of whaling on the fisheries along the coast of..." "...and seriously concerned for the future of themselves and the District, several hundred fishermen appeal to the Government to give the proposal for a Whale Protection Act its full support." [2]

5) Extended opposition.

In the following cited paragraph, a few aspects are described quite thoroughly; this includes: significant public backlash, whaling's negligible economic impact (it may support individual consumers of the whales' meat and blubber but has an unsubstantial collective economic impact), Barack Obama and the democratic majority of the United States of America opposes the premise of whaling in Norway, several Jewish groups have also filed complaints regarding the precepts of whaling.

"Animal rights, environmental and anti-whaling groups have commented that given Norway's economic position it is paradoxical that this is one of a very small number of countries actively engaged in, and favoring the continuation of, commercial whaling. This is despite the argued negligible contribution that whaling makes to the economy and despite opposition from around the world." [3]

"According to documents released by WikiLeaks, US president Barack Obama, who promised to oppose whaling during his presidential campaign, used diplomatic channels to put pressure on Norway during his visit for the conferment of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Several Jewish groups have also noted that while Norway bans Shechita in the name of animal rights, it still refuses to end whaling." [4]

I will be furthering my arguments in the following rounds. I'd like to greatly thanks my opponent for proposing such an interesting resolution. I am excited to await his arguments.


Debate Round No. 1


My opponent's first argument makes little sense, I must say. He says it is unethical to kill an animal without infringing on its rights. So is it ethical to kill an animal as long as you violate its rights? No matter what rights you believe we should impose on animals, humans, as predators, have a right to take the lives of those animals to sustain ourselves, but as intelligent beings, that comes with the responsibility to do so in a respectful and sustainable manner. Whaling in norway involves exclusively the North Atlantic common Minke whale, which is not at all endangered.

And your source on hunting methods is false in almost every respect. Whales have not been hunted by "spear drifting" for hundreds of years. You need to do your research. They are currently hunted by fishing boats, crewed by 4-6 men. They are shot with either a 50 or 60mm gun that fires a harpoon at the whale, tipped with an exploding penthrite grenade. NAMMCO reports that 80% of the whales are dead or unconscious instantly or within 10 seconds. This makes sense, because if a grenade explodes in your nerves or heart, you don't have much keeping you alive. If the whale is not dead within this time, it is shot in the head with a large hunting rifle. Once the whale is dead, it is hoisted onto the boat, the blubber is cut off, the meat is cut off, all tissue is frozen for transport, and the unusable carcass is dumped back into the ocean to feed other animals. They do not net whales, they do not bring it back to land while it is alive, they do not intentionally inflict pain upon it. I find this disgusting assumption insulting to Norwegian fishermen. If they simply did not care about the whale's pain, they would simply save $1000 on a harpoon grenade and use a plain steel harpoon tip.

Whaling is NOT a dominant and lucrative industry in Norway. It is a small scale business, conducted by fishermen during the summer, when the fishing is not as good for cod. No one becomes very wealthy by whaling. It is just another job to earn a living. Also, distribution of meat and blubber is NOT illicit. It is perfectly legal under norwegian law, and international law because the whale meat traded is not endangered. You have a very distorted idea of the whaling industry. It is not the international organized crime syndicate you believe it to be. There are requirements for whalers, but they all have to do with knowledge of the use of weapons and safety, and animal welfare.

Humans could survive without plenty of things. We could survive without the computer you are looking at right now, but since it improves your life, and its benefits outweigh its problems, we see ti as a good thing. Whaling improves the lives of people it feeds, and the people who make their living off of it. Without whaling, fishing communities in the North of Norway would be crippled financially. And there is no lasting damage from whaling, because the whales hunted are not endangered. No whale has ever become extinct because of whaling. Also, good weather is necessary for hunting the small minke whale. This puts the hunters at a disadvantage to the whales. You claim that whales are a critical link in the food chain, but what do the whales support? Any non-human animal that eats them can get by on something else, so if a whale dies, it does nothing but increase the numbers of its prey. This means increased fish stocks for people to harvest. With whales, the fish populations are not being destroyed, but whaling in theory increases the stocks. Plankton are the real critical link in the food chain. Lastly, Norway takes about 600 whales a year from a population of about 800,000. I don't think such a small take is going to crush the species.

Again, this statement makes no sense. Has it been objected to? Or received strong public support?

Ok, firstly, the whaling ban was brought in in the late 19th century because the fishermen thought the whales would push the fish to shore and were essential to their fishing. In 1986, the IWC established a moratorium (not legally a ban) on all commercial whaling, because in the 20th century people were killing huge numbers of whales. Whales are significantly more difficult to catch than fish. Especially in the 1800's, when we only had rowboats and hand spears. Whale meat was hardly a part of the market back in the day. Whaling was conducted almost entirely for blubber, which could be rendered into whale oil. The meat was not widely eaten by people.

While Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, and other western groups don't like whaling, it doesn't mean Norway is obligated to stop. They have the right to whale if they choose to. One reason they choose to continue is that while whaling does not support very much the economy as a whole, it is very significant to smaller, local communities which the Norwegians acknowledge as mattering, while the rest of the world believes they shouldn't matter because they hunt animals that are too cute to eat. If Norway can't force the United States to abolish the death penalty, the United States can't force Norway to give up whaling.

Summary: Minke whales are not endangered, the hunt is sustainable, and we have the right to harvest them if it benefits us.
The hunt is conducted with harpoon guns and exploding grenades that provide a quick and low-pain death.
Whaling is not illegal, only disliked by the IWC.
Whaling contributes significantly to local economies.
The rights of other entities to oppose do not override Norway's right to continue.


i) In defense of my first claim, which stated that "It is unethical to injure, maim or kill any animal without infringing upon their basic animal rights," I'd like to project the fact that I was making a standpoint. In condensed form, what I am saying is, the unethical maiming and mutilation of an animal's body is a direct infringement upon its animal rights and that, given enough substantiated reasoning, I believe that the whales of Norway, primarily the Minke whales, should not be hunted indiscriminately for their meat, organs and blubber.

ii) My opponent responded to my arguments in a cogent manner, but has not expanded upon his statement which asserts that the Minke whale of Norway is not an endangered species of whale. I located a source on the web which supports his claim, but I would like to remind him to source his statistics/claims so that they show integrity and validity to the voters. The claim that he makes does not influence the validity of any of my arguments; whales are being harpooned for an unnecessary commodity in which they possess (meat, blubber) and blood is being shed for unsubstantiated reasons. The rights of these whales are being "directly" infringed upon and they are being slaughtered in masses to pander to the fisher's cultural satisfaction (which should "not" take precedence over animal life) and the monetary incentives fomented by selling the fish's organs/blubber to affluent tycoon's either so that they can be sold to other markets for inflated prices or processed to render oil for the production of soap, paint, varnish, and other accessories. Furthermore, the extremity of the immorality has continued "free from obstruction"; the baleen of a whale has been commercially used in products like corsets and umbrellas. I'd like the voter to consider how much further humanity is willing to proceed in the extreme mutilation and monetization of whales for the purposes of expanding the whaling industry and satisfying one's cultural desires/protecting one's cultural identity. Once again, I would like to emphasize the importance of the "balance" between cultural preservation and the indiscriminate mass slaughtering and harvesting of internal whale organs and blubber.

iii) The source that I provided comes from Wikipedia. I would not like to argue about the validity but instead I'd like to focus on refuting your arguments. I don't believe its proper conduct to question the credibility of my sources but nonetheless I would like to say that the sources that I have enlisted are reputable. By criticizing the integrity of my sources, you have essentially criticized the reputability of the information provided by the administrators of Wikipedia; if you are willing to go to such an extent to break down my arguments, then I don't believe that "any" source is "credible" or "reputable" to you. My opponent responds to my argument about "spear-drifting" by asserting that I have made the claimant about the fact that "spear-drifting" has been occurring for hundreds of years now, and that it is untrue. According to my source [1], spear-drifting has been in operation since the 12th century in the North Atlantic and has been in use until the modern-day, in which the technique has been adapted into open boat "spearing".

iv) I am typically against quoting my opponent in verbatim, but in this case I feel it is necessary.

My opponent has said:

"They are currently hunted by fishing boats, crewed by 4-6 men. They are shot with either a 50 or 60mm gun that fires a harpoon at the whale, tipped with an exploding penthrite grenade. NAMMCO reports that 80% of the whales are dead or unconscious instantly or within 10 seconds."

The NAAMCO reported that 80% of the whales are dead or unconscious within 1 minute; the statistic that you sourced is erroneous [3]. I will not contest the credibility of this source, but evidently it is a pro-whaling source that have derived many statistics without sufficient demographics or scientific inquiry; this appears to be the "only" website that cites this statistic, meaning that it was the only organization to have conducted the research and obtained this statistic. If you have ever witnessed a slaughtering firsthand, you will become aware of how much blood is shed in the process of harvesting the organs, skinning the animal for its blubber and extracting any parts that may be of monetary worth. Even if the statistic that my opponent has cited is applicable, any period of suffering is not morally right, and any period of physical torment and trauma is an unenforced infringement upon the animal's intrinsic rights. The premise of my opponent's arguments is wrongly focused on the ethicality of the whaling operation, while the main focal point of this debate is the indiscriminate killing of 1400-1500 whales annually, for the cultural thirst, the whaling industry's satisfaction and the distribution of the whale's physiological components in exchange for monetary wealth (which has a negligible economic benefit). [4] The annual number of killings is rising exponentially, and this conservative statistic does not even take into account the private and unlicensed killings that occur en masse each year.

"... if a grenade explodes in your nerves or heart, you don't have much keeping you alive. If the whale is not dead within this time, it is shot in the head with a large hunting rifle. Once the whale is dead, it is hoisted onto the boat, the blubber is cut off, the meat is cut off, all tissue is frozen for transport, and the unusable carcass is dumped back into the ocean to feed other animals."

Has it ever been morally correct to maim an animal so overtly - to throw explosives at an animal, to shoot it in its head, to suffocate it on dry land, and to feed its fresh carcasses for other animals to cannibalize upon?

"They do not net whales, they do not bring it back to land while it is alive..."

Netting whales was originally in commercial use, until harpooning became a more practical way to hunt whales - so yes, in the past, netting has been implemented.

"...they do not intentionally inflict pain upon it."

When a fisherman have complete subjugation over an animal or being, he will begin to feel that your actions are "unlicensed" and "uncontrolled" because he is engaging in an activity that is not being performed on the basis of moral or ethical considerations and thus, it is done out of other incentives (such as culture or money). The hunting of whales is most often done with a party of fishermen, and the extraction process is always reckless and very bloody. This is due to the fact that when the fishermen are doing something with high transparency and anonymity, they will try to get the most out of what they are doing, regardless of its legal standing; thus, they will be extremely brash and tactless when performing extraction and skinning of the whale. A defining example of this is the Stanford Prison Experiment .

Below, I have provided an excerpt of the results of the psychological experiment conducted by Philip Zimbardo, which has a direct association with the contention we have at hand.

"While the Stanford Prison Experiment was originally slated to last 14 days, it had to be stopped after just six days due to what was happening to the student participants. The guards became abusive and the prisoners began to show signs of extreme stress and anxiety.

While the prisoners and guards were allowed to interact in any way they wanted, the interactions were generally hostile or even dehumanizing. The guards began to behave in ways that were aggressive and abusive toward the prisoners, while the prisoners became passive and depressed. Five of the prisoners began to experience such severe negative emotions, including crying and acute anxiety, that they had to be released from the study early."

It is unfortunate that their is a character limitation that is attached to this round. I would like to end by introducing a new argument and enlisting my sources. I will finish my rebuttals in the following round.

1. New research has been exposed which lays claim to the fact that scientists have hired fishermen to harpoon whales for scientific research which deals with the migration patterns and demography of the whales. I find this to be a highly dubious claim, as harvesting the internal organs and blubber of a whale does not seem to have a direct correlation to the scientific inquiry that the scientists seem to have an interest in. "The idea of scientific whaling is dubious. The idea is that slaughtering a given number gives information on the status of populations, but it is rubbish because there are non-lethal ways to track populations. Luckily there is group called the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which confronts the whalers, rams their boats and generally gets under their skin which has proven to be successful." [2]


Debate Round No. 2


I believe that a rational human being can see past all the emotions and understand that all sentient beings have the same rights, and that if it is acceptable to kill a pig, fish, chicken, or cow, it is acceptable to kill a whale, so long as it is done in as humane a manner as possible.

Here is a source that states that minke whales are not endangered [1].

My opponent's source does not state that "spear drift whaling" is currently practiced. It would involve a whale being stabbed from a small boat with a spear, and waiting for it to die and wash up on the beach for processing. This is not practiced anymore. This source even describes the current method, which for some reason my opponent neglected to include in his argument.
"Modern minke whaling is conducted by many small to medium sized fishing boats in spring and summer seasons. These vessels are equipped with a 50mm or 60mm harpoon cannon and penthrite grenade tipped harpoons designed to explode inside the whale. Each harpoon is connected to a nylon line and through a system of springs to a winch. The boats search known whaling grounds surrounding the coast of Norway at 4-6 knots watching for signs of feeding whales or flocks of birds eating krill. When a whale is spotted the gunner attempts to shoot the whale in its side, near the thorax, as the animal surfaces to blow. If the whale does not appear to die immediately the animal is hauled up to the boat where whalers with rifles will attempt to finish the animal with a shot to the head. When the dead minke whale is alongside of the boat a wire or rope is secured to the tail and the animal is pulled onto the deck through a gate on the gunwale. The whale is butchered at sea and the meat and blubber is then packed in ice and stored on the boat to be processed later on shore." [2]

My opponent's source states exactly what he has claimed to be false.
" The results for the 1,667 minke whales caught in the three seasons (2000-2002) are shown in Fig. 2. The statistical analysis showed an IDR of about 80 % with no statistically significant difference between the three seasons. The results also showed that the whales died instantaneously or very quickly when the grenade hits and detonates centrally in the thorax or near the central nervous system."[3] "IDR" stands for "Instantaneous death rate". This statistic is found even on the anti-whaling IWC's website. [4] I don't see how the amount of blood that is drained from a dead whale is relevant. No matter how bloody a butcher's job is, the animals are not in pain when they are dead, so... yeah. And the organs are not harvested, it is only meat and blubber. The rest is thrown into the sea and the fish eat it. If my opponent holds the opinion that any killing of animals for any use is morally wrong, then I can never win this debate, and I can only argue that whaling is no worse than any other killing of animals for food. But please know that there is not much farming to be done in Norway, so a lot of nutrition for people comes from fish and meat.

My opponent states that 1400-1500 whales are killed annually, yet the IWC recommended quota is 1,286 and hunters generally only take half that amount. The money from the hunt does not have a "negligible economic benefit" for the communities in which it takes place. [5] For the national economy as a whole, yes. But a society is a society, no matter how small. The number of killings is rising by maybe a hundred fifty whales or so. Hardly an exponential growth pattern. [6]

There are no "private and unlicensed killings" that you talk about and I will be impressed if you find anyone other than sea shepherd who is willing to say there are.

The more overt a kill is, the less suffering there is. The whale feels less pain with a harpoon grenade than if we used say, a screwdriver. No one "throws explosives" at a whale. It is shot with a very accurate gun. No one "suffocates it on dry land", and they only dispose of the whale's bones and unusable connective tissue because these cannot be consumed by people. Only fish will eat them in the ocean. And if a fish eats a dead whale, it is not cannibalism.

Netting whales is not practiced anymore and so is completely irrelevant to this debate because today, whaling does not involve nets.

Psychological studies are virtually impossible to apply to situations unlike those in the study. They are hardly even real science. And while abusing prisoners can make the guard feel superior, there is no benefit to watching an animal slowly die. The whalers are dedicated to reviving the hunt to establish it as an industry again, and logging humane kills benefits that cause. And it is not anonymous. The hunts are all recorded by a monitoring device and inspectors all manage the activity. [5]

Scientific whaling is currently only practiced by Japan. Therefore it is irrelevant here.



I'd like to thanks my opponent for accepting my request to postpone this debate until a later debate.

I will in fact be in Europe in less than a week and I will not have my computer (or an internet connection) for the next few days.

Voters, please abstain.

Thanks once again.
Debate Round No. 3


Antimatter forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Antimatter forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by DeletedUser 7 years ago
I am not sure how to simply delete a debate. But if my opponent cannot post his arguments, I will be civil and do the same.
Posted by Antimatter 7 years ago
I will be absent for the next few weeks and I will not be able to post my following arguments. I have, thus far, had a very intriguing debate with my opponent paulbrevik, and would like to make a pardoning request. I would like to ask him personally, if it would be possible to disband this debate until further notice, and resume it at a later time - perhaps I can instigate the next debate on the same resolution? I am asking this to my opponent, so he has all power over whether or not he chooses to accept or decline my request, depending on how he sees fit.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: As per the request of the debaters, I'm leaving this debate nulled. To them both: There's no way to delete a debate on your own. You *CAN* ask the moderators, airmax1227 and/or Ore_Ele to do it, though they as a general rule are hesitant to do so. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.

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