As Usual, PETA is Wrong About Whaling

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As Usual, PETA is Wrong About Whaling

Protecting endangered animals is great, but ignoring history isn't.

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PETA: condemning the slaughter of virtual whales, not ya' know, the virtual humans.

It's interesting that NASA apparently still uses whale oil for some purposes, though surely not in the quantities that would have been encountered in industry of the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries.

I do feel compelled once again, however, to point out that there are strong implications in Dishonored that whales of Dunwall are not the creatures we would recognize in our world as "whales". This is not to say that there aren't still parallels between the "whaling" of the fictional world and the real one, but there is a strong degree of fictionalized distance between the two.

I want to point out an often made mistake. PETA is not for animal welfare. They are for animal rights. There is a huge difference there. Animal Welfare is the current policy of the federal government in regards to animal research. Animal rights is something more akin to civil rights, applied to animals.

PETA talk bullshit. Do you know how many animals they kill each year? There was even a case where they were caught dumping a load of dead dogs into a dumpster. They say they are for animal rights, but then say no animals should be pets and those pets are deemed worth killing as PETA consider them worthless. Worse thing is they dont believe in animal testing, but there highest member takes insulin....how is that allowed? An this is my problem with PETA and not the RSPCA. The RSPCA actually have more respect for animals welfare and rights. PETA doesnt....they are like the Pro Life group that murdered an abortion doctor, total hypercritical arseholes.

Doesn't it just make you want to play the game more knowing PETA disapproves? It's just like Fox News: If you can piss them off you must be doing something right.

Bloody PETA... doing more to harm animal welfare then Cruella De Vil... Anyone who donates to that group is a moron and should be slapped around the head. Give your money to the RSPCA or ASPCA depending on where you are.

Look I think whaling is an odious practice, hell I think my government (Australia) needs to grow a set of balls and send ou navy down to the Antarctic waters we claim and sink the damn whaling boats 'conducting research' that's how much I'm against it... but from a historical perspective it happened, like the article said it was a vital part of the economy of the times, hell I grew up in a city that was literally founded (oldest in my state btw) as a place to hunt whales, there are still whaling artefacts around for the tourists.

If you're writing or making something set in a historical time period you really should do your research, as it seems the makers of AC4 are doing, PETA is just attention whoring again, like the author said in the article whaling, as terrible as it is, is something that needs to be involved as it is a historical vital bit of information, and gaming are increasingly becoming a medium for teaching things.

How many people learned more about the Crusades in AC1 than they did in their 'history classes', even after stripping the fantastical elements out, you can slip a lot of real information into a narrative if your careful.

Personally, I think Peta refuses to view the past as anything but footnotes and stock footage for their campaigns. It explains some of their more deplorable ideas. I'm for regulation of many things concerning animals and their cultivation, but I'm a voracious eater of animal protein, and like to read into how said nomnomnom stocks are currently produced, which helps I figure that helps people in the long run develop more eco-friendly (well... as ecofriendly as it can be) methods... Besides, if we let all our pets go and the current stocks for cows and pigs go feral, then all our natural species are going to be in a world of effin hurt.

Robert Rath:
While I don't doubt its commitment to the cause of animal welfare.

First time I have ever seen you lax in your research. Because I very much doubt their commitment to animal welfare.

Callate:
It's interesting that NASA apparently still uses whale oil for some purposes, though surely not in the quantities that would have been encountered in industry of the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries.

I do feel compelled once again, however, to point out that there are strong implications in Dishonored that whales of Dunwall are not the creatures we would recognize in our world as "whales". This is not to say that there aren't still parallels between the "whaling" of the fictional world and the real one, but there is a strong degree of fictionalized distance between the two.

Actually, other than the minor differences referenced, which are most likely mutations due to whatever makes their blubber so energetic(probably the Outsider's influence), they look identical to real whales, if a bit bulkier. See attached video for an example.

OT: Excellent article, but I think you give Ubisoft way, way too much credit.

Normally my recommended approach towards groups like PETA is to not dignify them with a response, or even pay any attention to them in the first place if it can be helped, but I can make exceptions when it produces material like this article, which was very informative. Normally the hunting of animals to near-extinction is portrayed as wasteful - after all, how else could we have burned through so many so fast, right? - but it sounds like whalers were pretty efficient with their prey (not unlike the Native Americans using "every part" of the buffalo); it was just a matter of too much demand.

I find it worrisome that PETA is so involved in video game culture, that they have their own article tag in the Escapist.
As a side note, when did video games begin to hate you for, I don't know, playing them?

On the one hand, I would be quick to agree that PETA is wrong, and that Ubisoft would have some sensitivity for serious issues, for instance they decided not to include scalping after considering it in AC3.

On the other, it seems to me that if it's included as an actual mechanic (as in it's a thing you ca do on the side on a regular basis as opposed to a one time story event or something) then the closest analogue would be obviously be the hunting activity you do in AC3. With that in mind then it'd basically a thing that you do to collect resources.

This is because PETA was never about saving animals, except in the minds of the poor saps who signed up at the low levels. PETA is about making money. It's owner set themselves up as a non-profit organization so that she could get tax write-offs and uses the money to buy shit for herself, including a huge-ass home that she also gets as a tax write-off by declaring it a "headquarters." They euthanize 90% of the animals they save at minimum because actually finding good homes would cost them money. Their huge campaigns of late ARE purely about getting attention so that they can sucker more people into giving them money.

PETA is an evil organization.

"While I don't doubt its commitment to the cause of animal welfare,"

PETA makes me so mad, that I had to Finally register for the site, just to reply to this article, and more specifically the above quote.

PETA would rather kill your companion animals then put any effort into adopting them or saving them. They are a fanatical Cult, that kills healthy adoptable animals by the truckload. That by itself would be enough to dislike them, but it gets worse. They actively oppose shelter reform legislation that would introduce proven lifesaving alternatives to killing. But thats ok, because PETA, in the words of there own founder "Do not advocate "Right to Life" for animals" You can read all about there despicable practices and behaviors here: http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=11862

As to the rest of the article, I agree one hundred percent.

Robert Rath:
"Whale products served so many uses that it seems farcical. A young lady in the 19th century might prepare for an evening out by washing with whale oil soap and highlighting her face with cosmetics made from spermaceti - a waxy oil ladled out of the heads of sperm whales. Afterward, she'd cinch herself into a corset and a hoop skirt supported by strips of baleen, the keratin filter feeding plates whales use to catch krill. "

Those aren't actually very useful uses. The cosmetics industry is one of the biggest scams in history. Do you really want your date to be covered in whale byproducts, or in the modern era, petrochemical products? Perfumes, lipstick, deodorant, etc.: All of these substances are disgusting and should not go anywhere near a human body. Humans are already beautiful, and slathering on this crap only reduces their natural beauty. The phrase "lipstick on a pig" comes to mind. If you need to "cover up" with such products, you're probably disguising a fundamental health issue (such as diet) that should be treated rather than ignored.

Your history is also rather tilted. A young lady in the 19th Century might do such things, but only if she was a member of the upper class or aristocracy. The majority of women would have had limited or no access to such products.

There is nothing cruel or unusual about whaling. The only problem with whaling is that we are running short of supply. Once their numbers reach higher levels, we should make it legal to slaughter and consume every resource from their carcass. While some groups out there do fight for the rights of all animals (Not PETA), the fact is that there are a lot of intelligent animals that are harvested at far greater numbers than the whale.

The pig is an excellent example of a remarkably intelligent animal whose death tolls reach the millions every year, and most people don't blink an eye. The people who weep for the whales rarely defend the pig (again, there are exceptions) because the pig isn't cute and people love their bacon.

I'm fine with killing and taking from all animals, whales and pigs included! I'm just sick of the hypocrisy of the tormented whale and how cruel we are to it. We just need to pump up their numbers a bit and then we can get back to what we do best. Oh, and PETA sucks. That is all.

For anyone who still gives an ounce of credibility to the domestic terrorists that are PETA, here, have an episode of Penn & Teller: Bulls***! to fix that. Enjoy your viewing. (NSFW: Swearing and some disturbing images)

You know, PETA does more harm to their cause than the people they boycott.

How many other people have noticed that PETA will say completely false, or mostly false, statements to make them seem like a big organization, but because they desensitize us to the actual problems that they are trying to champion.

Firstly, your history is a little bit selective: the only people who tended to directly benefit from whale products in the past were the rich aristocratic classes who could afford to purchase them. Whalebone corsets and whale-derived cosmetics were the property only of the wealthiest ladies of the era. Likewise, very few houses could afford to be entirely lit by whale-oil lamps. For the working classes, who made up the majority of the population, such items were unaffordable luxuries.

Secondly, while we can look back pragmatically and say that whaling had its place in the industrialisation of western society, the sad fact is that the more and more we learn about whales, the more our rapid decimations of their population seems like a crime against nature. These are highly intelligent animals, possibly second only to humans in terms of cognitive ability. Not only have they developed advanced forms of sonar communication that allow them to communicate with each other over vast distances, certain species have developed complex songs that are repeated and slowly changed over time. Moreover, science is proving with ever greater certainty that certain whale species exhibit self-awareness, and may be capable of higher forms of cognition than we had ever though possible.

No matter how you feel about PETA, or whether whaling helped industrialise the West, whaling was wrong, just as slavery and apartheid were wrong. Wales never posed a threat to us. We had no need to venture into their territory and start killing them off in such huge numbers. That we did is one of the great shames of humanity as a species.

I would hope that Ubisoft will shine a light on the horrible ethics of whaling, but I doubt it. An annual series is not exactly the sort of place developers go to in order to write commentary on the nature of whaling, and if Ubisoft turn it into anything more than an 'action-packed thrill ride', I'll be surprised.

tkioz:
Bloody PETA... doing more to harm animal welfare then Cruella De Vil... Anyone who donates to that group is a moron and should be slapped around the head. Give your money to the RSPCA or ASPCA depending on where you are.

Look I think whaling is an odious practice, hell I think my government (Australia) needs to grow a set of balls and send ou navy down to the Antarctic waters we claim and sink the damn whaling boats 'conducting research' that's how much I'm against it... but from a historical perspective it happened, like the article said it was a vital part of the economy of the times, hell I grew up in a city that was literally founded (oldest in my state btw) as a place to hunt whales, there are still whaling artefacts around for the tourists.

If you're writing or making something set in a historical time period you really should do your research, as it seems the makers of AC4 are doing, PETA is just attention whoring again, like the author said in the article whaling, as terrible as it is, is something that needs to be involved as it is a historical vital bit of information, and gaming are increasingly becoming a medium for teaching things.

How many people learned more about the Crusades in AC1 than they did in their 'history classes', even after stripping the fantastical elements out, you can slip a lot of real information into a narrative if your careful.

Amen to sending the navy after them, the new Canberra carriers would do the job nicely (using aircraft to find offending ships then either guiding warships to intercept or sinking it themselves.

if anything wouldnt a game/dlc that portrays whaling realistically thats nasty, brutal and vicious that shows the whales screaming in pain and suffering make it more likely people would support banning whaling in real life the same way a reenactment works in a documentary?

RicoADF:

tkioz:
Bloody PETA... doing more to harm animal welfare then Cruella De Vil... Anyone who donates to that group is a moron and should be slapped around the head. Give your money to the RSPCA or ASPCA depending on where you are.

Look I think whaling is an odious practice, hell I think my government (Australia) needs to grow a set of balls and send ou navy down to the Antarctic waters we claim and sink the damn whaling boats 'conducting research' that's how much I'm against it... but from a historical perspective it happened, like the article said it was a vital part of the economy of the times, hell I grew up in a city that was literally founded (oldest in my state btw) as a place to hunt whales, there are still whaling artefacts around for the tourists.

If you're writing or making something set in a historical time period you really should do your research, as it seems the makers of AC4 are doing, PETA is just attention whoring again, like the author said in the article whaling, as terrible as it is, is something that needs to be involved as it is a historical vital bit of information, and gaming are increasingly becoming a medium for teaching things.

How many people learned more about the Crusades in AC1 than they did in their 'history classes', even after stripping the fantastical elements out, you can slip a lot of real information into a narrative if your careful.

Amen to sending the navy after them, the new Canberra carriers would do the job nicely (using aircraft to find offending ships then either guiding warships to intercept or sinking it themselves.

And risk a massive international incident that may lead to war. Great Idea. I hate whaling as much as the next guy, but sinking the ships won't solve anything in the long term.

MrMan999:

RicoADF:

tkioz:
Bloody PETA... doing more to harm animal welfare then Cruella De Vil... Anyone who donates to that group is a moron and should be slapped around the head. Give your money to the RSPCA or ASPCA depending on where you are.

Look I think whaling is an odious practice, hell I think my government (Australia) needs to grow a set of balls and send ou navy down to the Antarctic waters we claim and sink the damn whaling boats 'conducting research' that's how much I'm against it... but from a historical perspective it happened, like the article said it was a vital part of the economy of the times, hell I grew up in a city that was literally founded (oldest in my state btw) as a place to hunt whales, there are still whaling artefacts around for the tourists.

If you're writing or making something set in a historical time period you really should do your research, as it seems the makers of AC4 are doing, PETA is just attention whoring again, like the author said in the article whaling, as terrible as it is, is something that needs to be involved as it is a historical vital bit of information, and gaming are increasingly becoming a medium for teaching things.

How many people learned more about the Crusades in AC1 than they did in their 'history classes', even after stripping the fantastical elements out, you can slip a lot of real information into a narrative if your careful.

Amen to sending the navy after them, the new Canberra carriers would do the job nicely (using aircraft to find offending ships then either guiding warships to intercept or sinking it themselves.

And risk a massive international incident that may lead to war. Great Idea. I hate whaling as much as the next guy, but sinking the ships won't solve anything in the long term.

They would be ordered to surrender etc, sinking would be if they tried to run. By entering our waters and refusing to surrender, the ship would under international law be a legit target. Same way the US sinks drug boats coming from south America.

RicoADF:

MrMan999:

RicoADF:

Amen to sending the navy after them, the new Canberra carriers would do the job nicely (using aircraft to find offending ships then either guiding warships to intercept or sinking it themselves.

And risk a massive international incident that may lead to war. Great Idea. I hate whaling as much as the next guy, but sinking the ships won't solve anything in the long term.

They would be ordered to surrender etc, sinking would be if they tried to run. By entering our waters and refusing to surrender, the ship would under international law be a legit target. Same way the US sinks drug boats coming from south America.

And the whaling ships operate around Antartica, which is (with the exception of McMurdo) almost entirely unclaimed and therefore is not covered by any countries whaling laws.

MrMan999:

RicoADF:

MrMan999:

And risk a massive international incident that may lead to war. Great Idea. I hate whaling as much as the next guy, but sinking the ships won't solve anything in the long term.

They would be ordered to surrender etc, sinking would be if they tried to run. By entering our waters and refusing to surrender, the ship would under international law be a legit target. Same way the US sinks drug boats coming from south America.

And the whaling ships operate around Antartica, which is (with the exception of McMurdo) almost entirely unclaimed and therefore is not covered by any countries whaling laws.

I was referring to any that enter Australian waters. International water is free game sadly. In the end the government hasn't got the backbone to even do that.

Captcha - Too bad. indeed it is.

RicoADF:

MrMan999:

RicoADF:

They would be ordered to surrender etc, sinking would be if they tried to run. By entering our waters and refusing to surrender, the ship would under international law be a legit target. Same way the US sinks drug boats coming from south America.

And the whaling ships operate around Antartica, which is (with the exception of McMurdo) almost entirely unclaimed and therefore is not covered by any countries whaling laws.

I was referring to any that enter Australian waters. International water is free game sadly. In the end the government hasn't got the backbone to even do that.

Captcha - Too bad. indeed it is.

Thats different then. But that would only encourage any Japanese shipping to avoid Australia like the plague.

Norix596:
PETA: condemning the slaughter of virtual whales, not ya' know, the virtual humans.

There's not necessarily anything wrong with lobbying groups focusing on one specific area over another. Look at what feminist lobbying groups have done for women and continue doing for women, even today in Western societies. It's good to have minority voices in a democracy. It stops the overwhelming masses from disregarding the plight of those who would otherwise be ignored. Then it's up to government, as a democratically elected body, to decide what balance to strike between different interests. After all, if all everyone ever talked about was humans, animals would never be given any attention at all.

RJ Dalton:
This is because PETA was never about saving animals, except in the minds of the poor saps who signed up at the low levels. PETA is about making money. It's owner set themselves up as a non-profit organization so that she could get tax write-offs and uses the money to buy shit for herself, including a huge-ass home that she also gets as a tax write-off by declaring it a "headquarters." They euthanize 90% of the animals they save at minimum because actually finding good homes would cost them money. Their huge campaigns of late ARE purely about getting attention so that they can sucker more people into giving them money.

PETA is an evil organization.

Welcome to the darker side of "non-profit". Have you seen what pay-offs Amnesty International CEOs have been getting lately?

PETA, can you please focus more on the animals that are being killed rather than the things that we employ as gameplay mechanics?

Sincerely,

Sane people

Might be one of the best articles I've read on this site. Bravo!
Honestly I've got some stupidly mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, in my academic years I wrote a paper on whaling today from an ethnographic point, and I kind of despise the Japanese position; on the other, PETA's being really dumb here. They're fictional whales, and it's not going to sway people towards whaling, especially in the context you give it. In this game I might hesitate to whale, but that's...well, that's just because I'm a very modern human playing a game set in a different time. PETA needs to figure that out, and they need to realize that planting a stereotype on gamers and condemning this is a waste of even their time.

Hey PETA, if we're going to ignore entire sections of history just because we don't agree with it, why stop with animals?

For example, I think books such as To Kill A Mockingbird should all be burnt due to their encouraging the oppression of African-American. Then, we'll just completely forget about the Holocaust, because that was quite an embarrassing moment of history for everyone, now wasn't it? Wouldn't want all those nasty racist thoughts from the past plaguing us now, eh?

Forget about the World Wars, the Great Depression, all sorts of awful, awful things that had happened because, you know, admitting their damn existence is just begging for more, and hey presto! It's sunshine and lollipops for everyone!

Why are people (and this article) talking about Whaling in AC4, as if it's a confirmed feature in the game? As far as I understand it, PETA was jumping on a chance to condemn a popular game franchise for attention reasons and their complaint was almost entirely based on a screen shot where a whale can be seen in the background, swimming around happily, not being hunted to its death, probably since pirate ships weren't bloody equipped to hunt whales.

MrMan999:

RicoADF:

MrMan999:

And risk a massive international incident that may lead to war. Great Idea. I hate whaling as much as the next guy, but sinking the ships won't solve anything in the long term.

They would be ordered to surrender etc, sinking would be if they tried to run. By entering our waters and refusing to surrender, the ship would under international law be a legit target. Same way the US sinks drug boats coming from south America.

And the whaling ships operate around Antartica, which is (with the exception of McMurdo) almost entirely unclaimed and therefore is not covered by any countries whaling laws.

Actually a HUGE chunk of it and it's waters belong to Australia, though Japan doesn't recognise it. Traditionally the only way to prove you own something is to defend it... so let's let the defence begin. According to recent poles a VAST majority of Australians are violently against Japanese whaling, and if they are in OUR waters we should make that point CLEAR.

tkioz:

MrMan999:

RicoADF:

They would be ordered to surrender etc, sinking would be if they tried to run. By entering our waters and refusing to surrender, the ship would under international law be a legit target. Same way the US sinks drug boats coming from south America.

And the whaling ships operate around Antartica, which is (with the exception of McMurdo) almost entirely unclaimed and therefore is not covered by any countries whaling laws.

Actually a HUGE chunk of it and it's waters belong to Australia, though Japan doesn't recognise it. Traditionally the only way to prove you own something is to defend it... so let's let the defence begin. According to recent poles a VAST majority of Australians are violently against Japanese whaling, and if they are in OUR waters we should make that point CLEAR.

I genuinely did not know that. Have at it then.

as far as I'm concerned PETA are just another nutty extremeist group with a "slightly" more socially acceptible "goal"

tkioz:
I grew up in a city that was literally founded (oldest in my state btw) as a place to hunt whales, there are still whaling artefacts around for the tourists.

completley random guess but...
its not Albany is it?

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