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Hunters Just One Peril In Whales' Struggle To Survive
By Matt J. Weiss, February 8, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Canberra.yourguide.com.au
Japanese hunters are killing whales in the Southern Ocean again, generating impassioned opposition from mostly rich English-speaking countries. As in Australia, this opposition is politically bipartisan and a popular cause championed by the media.
While some environmental groups may argue that industrial whaling by Japan and the other rebel whaling countries, Norway and Iceland, is endangering the survival of target species, this is generally unsubstantiated by scientific research. The most potent and popular reason for opposition to whaling is the cruelty of the chase, of the death of the gentle giants of the deep by vicious harpoon, of their blood in the water, and the ignominious tail-first drag on to the flensing deck of an abattoir ship to be swiftly dismembered and frozen down below.

Whales are beautiful, intelligent, social animals who surely don't deserve such a vicious end. So how else can a whale die? Is there a nice way?

'Fraid not, according to several Australian whale experts. They begin by stressing how sketchy our knowledge is about how whales die in the wild because data is ad hoc, and how different species in different habitats are subject to varying mixes of threats to their survival

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