Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Whales, what's the difference?

Before I talk about whales, let me tell you about the two occasions in the last week where I have been at functions with zero provision for vegans, despite plenty of advance warning that a vegan would be there.  Not even soup made with vegetable stock.  Not even a starter that didn't involve some potentially toxic shellfish from the cheapest possible source of supply.

Not a single thing that I could eat, leaving me with the choice of embarrassing my hosts as I sat at table with an empty space in front of me or being "the bigger person" by faking an excuse to leave and dealing with the issue quietly in a more reflective morning mood - and slightly more subjective morning telephone call.

Sometimes those telephone calls can be awkward because, apparently, vegans are actually the ones to blame for not being "normal" like everyone else.

Don't get me wrong, these are not uncaring people I am mixing with. In fact, many of them are very strong supporters of my volunteer work with Sea Shepherd and there is not a single person among them who would actively support the killing of whales, dolphins, seals or any other species of marine megafauna. Passive support is, of course, another story which I will return to in future (watch this blog for details).

They also know my philosophy that knowledge is not power, knowledge is responsibility; responsibility to act.  If you are truly ethical, truly compassionate, truly caring, truly determined to contribute to making your part of our world a better place then if you had the knowledge I have about the oceans and how they are being abused, how could you not become vegan? Honestly, how could you not?

Let's talk about whales.  Especially those whales which are entitled to a life free from harm in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.  A Sanctuary in name, a sanctuary in law, a sanctuary which is being plundered year after year after year while most of the World wrings its hands and assumes it can do nothing. (Passive support for killing?  It is if you really are doing nothing more than wringing your hands!)

My friends in Sea Shepherd are not content to sit and wait.  They take action, direct action, and they have all devoted their lives to saving our most wonderful companions on this shared planet, the whales, from harm.

Others see whales - and whale meat - only in terms of financial gain.

One of the questions I have always asked is why would those who hunt but do not share in the profits which the money-men retain want to kill such magnificent creatures in the first place? There has never been a legitimate argument in reply but there is often the, "you do it so we do it too" excuse which goes along the lines of  we - i.e. Westerners - kill pigs and sheep and hens and cows and so what is the difference?


What is the difference?

I don't think there is one and I even more think knowledge is responsibility.

Sometimes it is important to be vegan by example, even if it means going hungry.  Maybe I should have stayed with the empty plate in front of me...