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Baby Whale Off Sydney “Put Down”

What to eat today? Easy.

Need new dress shoes. Where to buy? Easy. (Though when you factor in the environment and workers’ rights, definitely more expensive. Like close to a hundred times more.)

Whether or not to kill a baby whale? Easy. The answer is no.

And this is just the type of situation anti-animal rights people live for, as they think it’s an opportunity to point out that you’re not 100% consistent.

First of all, no one is 100% vegan or consistent, as far as I know. At least no one living in mainstream society in the developed world. We do our best to avoid causing harm and infringing on the rights of others. All others. Compromises abound, decisions must be made, priorities must be set, factors must be weighed against each other.

But for heaven’s sake, at least we have good intentions and we’re doing the best we can!

"Abandoned Baby Whale Put Down Amid Protests" in today’s Guardian reports
that the female calf whom I’m sure you’ve seen footage of (and there’s
a minute’s worth posted with the article), and who apparently thought
various yachts were her mother, was "put down."

were high as the animal was put down. National Parks and Wildlife
Service spokesman John Dengate said the calf was treated with dignity
and respect by veterinarians but added that the process of putting down
a large mammal was "distressing and harrowing". Animal welfare groups,
including the RSPCA, later said that criticism of the authorities was
unfounded and they were satisfied that everything had been done in the
calf’s best interests.

(How about that RSPCA, by the way? Misrepresenting how eggs are produced under their Freedom Food Label, endorsing veal, and quite satisfied by the killing of the baby whale.)

Of course, the calf is referred to as "it," which is
almost–almost–forgivable when we have no idea what someone’s sex is,
but unforgivable when we do know. (And for those who say we don’t call
human babies of unknown sex "it," I beg to differ. I hear it all the
time, and happen to have a handful of pregnant women of advanced
maternal age in my life, and one recently said, upon my query, "I call
it ‘it’ because what if it’s a boy and I’m calling him ‘she’ all the
time? That could affect him in later life. I’d rather use ‘it’ because
it’s not offensive." I must admit there’s a logic to that, as long as
it’s worse to call your kid inanimate rather than by the wrong sex.)

So here’s today’s question: The mother whale may have been found
(dead). But regardless, given that you don’t agree with keeping animals
in captivity (and captive marine mammals do especially poorly), except
to rehabilitate and release them, and if you don’t happen to have a
whale who could act as surrogate mom for a while (I don’t know if that
was researched), and the calf is most likely going to die without help,
what do you suggest? Do you leave her to die on her own? Do you need
more information to make your decision? If so, like what?

to lure the calf out to sea in the hope that it would have been adopted
by a passing pod of whales were unsuccessful, as it turned back and
continued its fruitless roaming between the moored vessels searching
for its mother. Hopes that it could be fed artificially were dismissed
by experts such as Curt Jenner, the managing director of western
Australia’s non-profit Centre for Whale Research, as a logistical

How do you feel now? The same? (However that was.)

What do you think? Killing a healthy sentient nonhuman is not "euthanasia," according to the definition. Was this killing acceptable? A lesser of two evils? And example of a lack of human ingenuity and compassion?

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Miroslava #

    Its a shame what Australian officials did !!! They didnt even try to feed her. They could have at least try to feed her and she could have gotten stronger and then joint some other whales…………but officials of Sydney woudnt even let people try to feed her to see wheather it works. Which makes me wonder is Australia now comunist country where people dont have a say wheather to try to help. There is a lot of smart people out there, pitty its not the officials. Ofcourse the poor baby could not have been taken to captivity, but as I said why not try to feed it and treat it with antibiotics before making a death decision………..I will never understand
    if they tried feeding and antibiotics and it didnt work well at least they tried all they could, but nobody was even aloud to try. Why?????
    Can all of you think it was for the best tell me for sure that if somebody try to feed her, that it woudnt work ???? We had lost the best opportunity to learn more about these beautifull creatures. i watch animal shows all the time, and a lots of time where all hope is lost somebody with a lots of love does something to help and it works, and its not becouse they are awfully smart, its becouse they have love in their hards and lots of dedication……..

    Australian scientist should be ashamed and the officials should be ashame even more………if its not easy and comfetable they to afraid to try…

    August 22, 2008

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