Thursday 3 December 2015

The bloodlust of modern-day hunters is a disaster for the planet

People queue up to kill Norways’s wolves and bears, while Japan continues its whale slaughter. Despite the noble claims, there’s no justification for hunting as entertainment

It is one of the world’s less lovely lotteries. Just under 12,000 people – the vast majority men – have registered for the chance to kill 16 wolves in the Norwegian hunting season, ostensibly to protect the nation’s livestock. Wild bears suffer the same onerous odds, with 10,000 humans going in pursuit of 18 animals. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Japanese whaling fleet launches into its own new season, in an operation subsidised by its government. Today its whaling fleet sails for Antarctica, defying a UN resolution that their “scientific research” is nothing of the kind.

At least a Norwegian wolf or bear might die swiftly. In another telling and terrible formulation, the “time to death” rate for a whale into whose body explosive harpoons have been shot can exceed three hours in some cases. Norway also continues to hunt whales, as does Iceland where, according to Vanessa Williams-Grey of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation charity, nearly 1,000 endangered fin whales have been killed since the country resumed hunting them in 2006. This season’s hunt ended in October, with a total of 184 fin and minke whales killed. In the Faroe Islands, the cull of pilot whales continues. This summer, 250 pilot whales were driven ashore and slaughtered on the islands’ shores.

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