the imapcts and (potential impacts) of modern day whaling

From: Greg Early (
Date: Wed Oct 22 2003 - 10:34:22 EDT

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    The flat out answer to the first question is that we just do not know. We know some whale populations were quite reduced by whaling and that some have recovered and some have not. To make matters even more complicated, there has recently been a controversy started over how many whales existed before whaling began. The use of genetic techniques should make for better estimates, but so far those estimates are all over the place. (see

    The second questions is really an ethical question that focuses on the ???value??? of whales and the ???value??? of the research that can be done by killing them. Animal researchers in other fields have to deal with these questions as well, but it is a little easier if you are trying to balance the value of a rat verses a cure for cancer. In this case, there are strong feelings about the worth of whales (some people feel that they should be ranked with primates, some people see them as giant ocean going cows ??? depends on the culture) and questions about the value of the research that can be done (some people feel that as good or better research can be done without killing the whales??? some do not). Personally I think it could be justified if the research was important however I am not sure that the ???science??? that is presently done is justification enough.

    (ps put these two questions and answers together and it makes it harder to argue with Iceland ... complicated eh???)


    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Oct 21, 2003 12:00 PM
    Subject: the imapcts and (potential impacts) of modern day whaling

    Hi there im a first year university student studying biology in leeds UK and
    wondered if you could help me answer a couple of questions on the potential
    disturbance to marine ecosystems caused by a future large scale whaling
    operation -

    1) to what imapct did whaling in the past - or in the present have on the
    marine environment?
    2) In your opinion can 'scientific research' ever justify the killing of these
    amazing animals? for instance, Iceland continue to argue that in order to
    conserve more whales in the future and help to create a balanced marine
    ecoystem in terms of conservation and exploitation, whales are needed to be
    killed to help understand the 'science'

    Look forward to hearing from you
    Sam Parry

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