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“The Killing Cove” and the ethics of modern food gathering

Current video, courtesy of www.Reuters.com, of Japanese fisherman capturing and killing dolphins has hit the internet.  We’ve known this has been going on for a while, but most of us haven’t had a first hand view of the event.  It’s horrific.  The calmness and ease with which these fisherman carry out their work is sociopathic.  Or is it?  This type of mass killing occurs everyday in the United States in slaughter houses and poultry factories.

The viewing was brief, as men pulled the massive tarp closed, hiding the blood and agitation of the hundreds of dolphins, and blocking out the vehemence and anger of the protesters.

Reports say that this event happens only in Taiji, a western Japanese village where fisherman have traditionally wrangled and killed dolphins not only for meat, but to sale to outside sources such as marine parks.

According to The Guardian, “More than 50 of the mammals, including a rare albino calf, were selected and removed from the pod for sale to aquariums and water parks. Together they are expected to fetch millions of dollars.”  Clearly, it’s not just the meat these fisherman are after.

We’re looking at two distinctly different issues; traditional food gathering and capitalism.  The internment of these creatures is reprehensible, just as much as slavery, and yet, millions of Americans visit marine parks every year.  However, this event sparks issues of traditional food gathering and our opinions of it.

Americans are outraged by what seems a vicious and evil act–killing helpless dolphins and their offspring.  Yet, we pay to have our meet and fish slaughtered, cleaned and delivered to our neighborhood stores.  We are not the only animals that kill for survival.  We may sympathize more with our fellow mammals because of our similar brains, or birth process, or group mentality, or the cute smile they sport, but we are all killers in some respect.  It’s the food chain–survival of the fittest.

Personally, I don’t want to watch a cow being slaughtered any more than I want to watch this video again, but I don’t hesitate downing a medium-rare burger.  Yet, it makes me sad to see these dolphins butchered, the same way I feel sad when I look into a cow’s big innocent brown eyes.  Does this make me a hypocrite?

Are we so removed from the natural process of claiming and preparing our own food that we have become overly sensitive to witnessing any type of animal slaughter?

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