save a cow, harpoon a whale

23 June 2005 at 0:15 (General)

I hate seeing people trying to pass off their concern for the whales as being environmentally or morally based. rates the average australian as needing 7.6 global hectares per person where as Japan only requires 4.8 global hectares per person. Before they criticise the the Japanese they should consider the price the environment shouts them for their lunch.

I’m fine with animal rights/liberation, but these people concentrating on whaling makes about as much sense to me as driving across town to the ‘environmental fair’ just to fill in a sunday afternoon. IMNSHO, if you have a real concern for the environmental impact of food production, strike out against the cattle market first and foremost.

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Update: I submitted an edited version of this to the Advertiser’s editorial and it was published 24/June. Not a fantastic letter, but it made the press :) yippee! I’ll upload a photo of it later tonight



  1. Deirdre said,

    Strike out against the cattle market?? Toto, you’ll do me out of a job! (The money I get paid for working on this farm comes indirectly from sale of cattle.)

    However. It’s a good point you make, and I agree with you. That Myfootprint thing is really alarming. :(

    The whale thing, though: aren’t people worried because of a threat to endangered species? (I haven’t followed the story, so maybe I’ve got this wrong.)

    I find it interesting that we all get so attached to the “feel-good” animals, and couldn’t give a stuff about the ugly ones (who might in fact be more endangered). Maybe there’s a touch of the Shapelle Corby’s about it all?

  2. Anonymous said,

    At least the pandas are safe

  3. toto said,

    I’ll openly admit that I may be bias in my criticism. For no known reason I love all things Japanese and I hold the opinion that eating fish (ω-3) is a lot healthier than cow. This may subconsciously have something to do with my stance.

    The whales they want to hunt aren’t endangered but they are close to being endangered. They say they’re going to hunt them in a sustainable manner, which is sort of believable because when they run out there won’t be any more. On the other hand, it’s sort of unbelievable because any group of human beings holds the collective IQ of an indoor plant. As a group I could see them not realising extinction means the end of whale burgers forever.

    So I’m not supporting Japan’s desire to kill whales. However, I think it’s slightly hypocritical of us to tell them off for abusing the earth. We may not be directly driving whales to extinction, but, to put it bluntly; if we continue living the way we do western culture’s indirect impact on the health of the planet and on biodiversity is going to make the extinction of whales seem rather innocent. Not even the pandas are safe.

    If we think it’s okay to pull the Japanese into line in regards to environmental impact, I don’t think it would be unreasonable for them to expect the same for us. A bit of background: They are isolated and have very little in way of natural resources so they have to import nearly all of their fuels and materials. This is expensive and bad for their economy so they truly work to get the most out of their scarce resources. If they were to pressure us into running industries and homes to their level of efficiency it would initially be economic suicide for us. A few weeks on triple j’s hack, they mentioned a community in japan that does not have rubbish collection (ie 100% recycling), meanwhile we dump more and more each year because we have the space. Japan has the strictest car emission laws in the world. While we are selling SUVs like hotcakes they are advertising in showrooms the fuel economy instead of the price.

    When our global foot print is on par with them and we are working towards sustainability with the enthusiasm they show, then perhaps we can tell them to curb their consumption. Until then we should be grateful that they are more curious when passing judgement on our selfish ways.

    (oh, and I was having a dig at cows because cattle reek of inefficiency, land clearing, soil destruction, etc. It’s nothing personal, it’s just wrong on a global level).

  4. Deirdre said,

    “…any group of human beings holds the collective IQ of an indoor plant”? :)

    You’re making a well-reasoned argument and it’s hard to find anything to disagree with, damn it. (The “damn it” is a joke, in case it’s not obvious.) I’d urge a bit of caution on some of the figures regarding cattle farming, that’s the only thing: the beef cattle in this area eat only grass, not grain; dairy cows are given grains, though. I’m also not sure what the figures for water use are based on – it seems high, but maybe it’s in relation to dairy factories or abbatoirs? Also, Australia has strict regulations about what you can feed or give cattle (antibiotics, hormones, etc), so much of the information used overseas isn’t relevant here.

    That said, feedlots are cruel, and I also think farming of animals is a form of slavery. It’s also true that some cattle farmers use herbicides and pesticides with apparent abandon (though that’s probably true of non-cattle farmers, & others too).

    The man in that second link (Howard Lyman) was in an SBS doco this week about the McDonalds libel case in the UK. It was really interesting.

  5. Anonymous said,

    Sorry to change the topic, but who buys cakes hot? The same idiots who buy 4WDs, I suppose.

    Oh, and as long as there be a thriving black market in ex-Soviet arms, and a living me, rest assured: the pandas are safe.

  6. Anonymous said,

    Farming might be slavery but at least slaves weren’t butchered and eaten!

  7. Deirdre said,

    Anon, I’ve missed something… Hot cakes? And 4WDrivers couldn’t eat them hot, they’d run off(the)road.

    And if I was a slave, I’d rather be butchered and eaten (and get the whole thing – life – over with) than have to hang around for four-score-and-ten, slaving. Not that I’m advocating getting butchered and eaten.

  8. Anonymous said,

    yes you missed this “selling SUVs like hotcakes”

  9. Deirdre said,

    Oh. Damn.

  10. Anonymous said,

    Famous! I knew The Matty when he was just a funny little Year 9. cool.

  11. R3P1N5 said,

    “Famous! I knew The Matty when he was just a funny little Year 9. cool.”

    I have known “The Matty” since the day I was born.

  12. Deirdre said,

    R3P1N5 – you should start secretly collecting bits of him now while you still can: hair, old clothes, embarrassing photos, etc. One day you’ll make a lot of money.

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