So yesterday morning saw an outcry as an article detailing the annual whale hunting culture in Denmark dominated Facebook newsfeeds. Every year around 950 Long-finned pilot whales are killed, turning the sea of Faroe Islands red with blood. For the islanders, the annual killing is of great cultural importance. Some of the comments made by my Facebook friends included:
“What is wrong with the world…”
“There are some really sick people in this world”
“I am truly disgusted at how these humans can have no shame in this, they should be sent to prison!”
Well friends, hear me out.
I am in no way defending the actions of those who participate in this unnecessary act of cruelty, but what struck me as odd was that the majority of those voicing their disgust were meat eaters. If you were one of those shocked and outraged at the barbarity of the killing of these whales, then answer me this: How is this any different to what happens to your food every day?
I’ll tell you what is different about it: the sea turns red for all to see the inhumanity. Simple as that.
I am not Paul McCartney’s biggest fan, but he sums it up pretty well:
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian.”
These whales are killed out in the open as bystanders watch and a blood red sea does indeed have shock value, the failings of mankind exposed for the world to see, but the animals on your plate are more often than not killed in an equally barbaric fashion, the only difference being that this takes place behind the walls of a slaughterhouse. The Facebook fools that are my friends: you believe that this annual whale hunting culture is repulsive, right? But I’m sure you have all treated yourself to a nice wee meal at McDonald’s from time to time, no? And even if you don’t eat pish food, those of you who are not vegetarian will still enjoy dead animals as an important part of your diet.
Perhaps you fail to register the connection between acts of cruelty and the delicious taste of your Sunday roast because your meat comes on a plate looking all pretty surrounded by carrots and brussels sprouts. The inhabitants of the Faroe islands distribute the whale meat evenly between members of the local community and it has long been a large part of the Faroese diet. What they are doing is no different to what happens day in, day out in order for us to eat.
So really what it comes down to is this: I am a hypocrite for calling you a hypocrite for criticizing the Faroe Islanders’ actions because I myself eat meat. Personally I feel that it is wrong to kill helpless animals when it is not necessary for maintaining a healthy diet but I just like bacon too much and I am lazy. I am a shitebag. But actually, I am well aware of this and I am consistent. The point that I wanted to make is that the whale hunting traditions are no different to what happens in our meat industry and that really, they should come as no shock. If you will quite happily tuck into a burger, roast dinner, bacon roll, or whatever, you cannot be making statements such as “these people are sick”, “should be sent to prison” etc.
The Faroe Islanders are shitebags.
I am a shitebag.
But guess what?
You, my friend, are also a shitebag.