Recently, articles in the Norweigan press indicated that groups within the nation are attempting to legalize the capture and killing of dolphins.
Using cultural significance as the main argument (which the Taiji town council in Japan also employs), these groups appear to be pushing for a new slaughter of small cetacean species, whom are not regulated by the International Whaling Commission as larger species such as baleen whales are. Norway filed a special objection to the global moratorium on whaling instituted in 1986, and continues to kill larger cetacean species, mostly minke whales, today.
While the attempt to start a new slaughter of dolphins in Norway may well be home grown, it may also be part of the international effort funded by Japan and supported by many extremist groups in Iceland, Canada, and Norway to make these hunting claims to fight back against conservation efforts.
Spokespeople from the World Wildlife Fund spoke out against the proposal, advocating for the precautionary principle and emphasizing that, despite claims of sustainable fishing, the population levels of target species are not well known, making these hunts potentially disastrous for populations. We now know that dolphins cannot be treated like less socially active species, where harvests are simply a case of choosing numbers.
Removal of individuals from dolphin pods not only hurts the animal killed, but also hurts the entire pod. Dolphins and many other species need their family pod intact to find food, ward off predators, and for other survival purposes. We know that dolphins mourn for lost babies and fellows of the pod. An annual kill disrupts their livelihoods.
Beyond this, however, is the argument that dolphins, nor any animal, deserves such cruel treatment at human hands. It has been proven, time and again, that humans do not need to consume animals in order to survive. It is high time that Western nations, such as Norway and including the United States, the United Kingdom, and others, reject the dependency – both physical and economic -- on killing animals.
The best way to combat issues of animal cruelty, regardless of the species, is to go vegan. A plant-based diet is also much healthier for the environment, and can be much healthier for humans as well.
Hopefully this effort to begin killing dolphins will be stopped dead in its tracks.