Paul Watson, Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society
The death of Tilikum was a tragedy and comparisons to the treatment and death of cows for example are disrespectful. There are those who say that grief for the death of one whale is hypocritical when we consider the deaths of billions of other animals. This is like saying we should not mourn for the death of a parent, a child or a friend because, well you know millions of people are dying of poverty and from war.
I met Tilikum once, looked into his eyes and saw his pain and I view his life as a tragedy and his death as a crime. I personally feel his death as a loss and to those who belittle this loss, you should be ashamed for your lack of empathy and your self-serving self-righteousness.
Why is it that whenever I post about the slaughter of dolphins, the killing of whales or seals, some people feel the need to distract from the tragedy by posting comparisons to the killing of cows, pigs or chickens or the treatment of dogs?
With the death of Tilikum I received a few negative comments demanding to know why Tilikumís life is more important than a cow, a pig or a chicken?
Often I get comments like, so youíre saving dolphins, what about cows, what are you doing about pigs?
Other comments pointedly accuse me of being hypocritical for eating meat because for some bizarre reason they seem to assume that I eat meat, and that assumption apparently comes from the fact that I posted about the death of a whale.
Now I donít see people going to vegan sites and saying, hey, what about the dolphins? Or you people must really hate seals and whales because youíre always posting about cows and pigs and you never mention seals or whales.
Itís all somewhat baffling.
First of all, we at Sea Shepherd do a great deal for cows, pigs and chickens. We do the most important thing that anyone can do for them. We donít eat them.
In fact our shipís cooks have published three different vegan cookbooks. No meat or fish has been served on a Sea Shepherd ship for over two decades.
Secondly we are Sea Shepherd as in ďseaĒ meaning the ďoceanĒ and I donít ever recall seeing a cow, a pig or a chicken swimming in the sea.
Our clients are marine animals.
So you will see us championing every species from plankton to the great whales.
Yes we are sympathetic to the plight of all animals but we canít do everything. Yes we support groups that protect domestic animals but we are not one of those groups.
Thatís like asking the muscular dystrophy researchers why they have not discovered a cure for AIDS.
Hell, Iíll probably be criticized for making that comparison because animals are used in medical research.
The answer to why are we not doing this, or not doing that is one word - focus.
Sea Shepherd is the only marine conservation organization that practices veganism. All of our ships are vegan.
Our ships are vegan because the meat industry is contributing to the destruction of diversity in the Ocean and we hold the position that to be an environmentalist you really should be vegan or at least vegetarian.
We were the only conservation organization to condemn the meat industry in the film Cowspiracy.
Despite that we still get the criticisms from some vegans demanding to know why we donít make domestic animals a priority.
And I have to say, just what kind of stupid is it that does not comprehend that an international marine conservation movement focuses on well, as strange as it might seem to some, - marine animals?
I also hear criticisms of other people because they are vegan for health reasons or environmental reasons. Apparently this is not a pure enough reason.
The truth is that the animals donít care about what motivates a human to not eat meat. The only concern animals have is to not be eaten.
So, the Veggie Jesuits really need to tone down their rhetoric on competitive purism.
What we do with Sea Shepherd is to offer only vegan meals on our ships. This has resulted in converting many dozens of people to become vegan. We convert through example and not through ridicule or condemnation and many non-vegan and many non-vegetarians have adopted vegan or vegetarian life-styles from their experience with Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd understands the connections between massive factory farming and the slaughter of some 65 billion animals each year and that massive meat production is the major contributor to groundwater pollution, dead zones in the Ocean and produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry. Sea Shepherd understands that some 40% of all the fish caught from the sea is fed to pigs, chickens, domestic salmon, housecats and fur farms and as such is a major contributor to the diminishment of biodiversity in the Ocean.
And for those who preach to me that cows are just as important as whales; my response is simply this. They are not.
Cows are not a natural part of the environment, nor are sheep, chickens, housecats and domestic salmon. Cats kill millions of birds each year, domestic salmon spread disease, cows and sheep destroy grasslands and displace indigenous species. Yes, people are right to be concerned about the suffering of domestic animals but this does not translate into the myth that the life of a whale, a dolphin or even a fish is equal to an individuals of a species enslaved to humanity.
The Ocean needs fish, whales and dolphins, plankton, mollusks and crustaceans. The Ocean and the planet not need cattle and sheep.
The world will be better off if we stop eating cows and pigs and other domestic animals and allow their numbers to be diminished to ecologically acceptable levels.
A world without cows is not a bad thing. A world without whales is a very bad thing. Why because whales are part of the global life support system and cows are part of the cycle of destruction. Cows produce excessive methane. Whales provide the nutrients to the phytoplankton that provides over 80% oxygen we breathe.
We need some common sense here and some lessons in ecological laws as well as in enemy identification.
The death of Tilikum was a tragedy and comparisons to the treatment and death of cows for example are disrespectful.
There are those who say that grief for the death of one whale is hypocritical when we consider the deaths of billions of other animals.
This is like saying we should not mourn for the death of a parent, a child or a friend because, well you know millions of people are dying of poverty and from war.
I met Tilikum once, looked into his eyes and saw his pain and I view his life as a tragedy and his death as a crime.
I personally feel his death as a loss and to those who belittle this loss, you should be ashamed for your lack of empathy and your self-serving self-righteousness.
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