The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.
HOST: This is Stop Animal Cruelty on Supreme Master Television. Today we present the first in a two-part series about the vicious murdering of whales for meat. Although commercial whaling has been banned worldwide since １９８６ by the International Whaling Committee, a global body that regulates whaling, three member states, Iceland, Norway, and Japan exploit loopholes in the ban and continue the bloody hunt year after year.
Fortunately there are several international nongovernmental organizations working tirelessly to stop these killings. One of the most well-known groups is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, founded by Captain Paul Watson.
Supreme Master TV (m): Can you tell that whales feel pain, or agony, or they have prolonged pain from the killing？
Captain Paul Watson (m): I've been involved with opposing whaling operations for ４０ years and certainly the whales over the years I've seen that have been killed are in extreme agony. These are very highly intelligent, sensitive creatures and there's certainly no doubt about it. We've heard them scream. It's probably one of the cruelest slaughters of any wildlife species on the planet because it takes so long to kill a whale.
Supreme Master TV (m): And do you have a memorable experience with saving whales, or encounters with whales？
Captain Paul Watson (m): I've certainly had a lot of encounters with whales over the years and I've come to the conclusion that these are very, very, highly intelligent animals and really, I equate the killing of a whale, or a dolphin with murder.
Supreme Master TV (m): Have you had friendly experiences with the whales？
Captain Paul Watson (m): I've had a lot of experiences with whales; in the water with orcas, humpbacks, fin whales, and sperm whales over the years. One sperm whale, in １９７５, could've killed me. He was mortally wounded. And I could see recognition in his eyes and we were trying to help him and he spared my life. So I'm personally indebted to that whale for the fact that I'm still alive.
HOST: In early ２０１１ the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society made history. Their boats had been following Japan's main whaling ship the Nisshin Maru for weeks in the icy seas of Antarctica and blocking the ship's stern loading ramp to prevent harpooned whales from being placed inside the vessel.
Finally in mid-February ２０１１ Japan announced it would suspend whaling for the rest of the year.
Hearing how the Society's extraordinary whale protection efforts led to Japan's decision to cease whaling, in February ２０１１ Supreme Master Ching Hai offered to donate US$５０,０００ to the group to further its noble cause.
Despite worldwide pressure to stop, Norwegian and Icelandic whaling fleets continue their sickening pursuit of the innocent whales. The ２０１１ 『whaling quota』 set by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs for the Minke whale is １,２８６ individuals, the same number as the previous year.
NOAH - for animal rights is Norway's largest animal advocacy organization with over ２,０００ active members who live in almost every major Norwegian city. This caring group seeks to protect the lives and well-being of all animals, including our marine friends.
Audio name: Martinsen (f): NOAH's had a continuous campaign against whaling since it started. And we started in １９８９, and then Norwegian whaling was resumed after the ban in １９９３.
HOST: We asked the head of NOAH, Siri Martinsen if the Norwegian public is aware of whaling's tremendous cruelty.
Siri Martinsen (f): We have conducted some surveys which show that when Norwegians are informed about the ways that whales are killed, they do not approve of it. So, more people need to know more. But it's also a very nice development that people care more about animal welfare than they care about just making money.
HOST: One issue that NOAH faces in spreading its anti-whaling message is that the massacre of whales remains largely hidden from the public eye and thus most Norwegians do not ever see the bloodshed and extreme violence that occurs when a whale's life is taken.
Siri Martinsen (f): The whales are slaughtered at sea. And that is quite difficult to be able to watch. If you live up in the North and follow the boats from the shore, you might see some whale hunting, but not many people do that obviously. So that's one of the problems that it's very hard to visualize what whaling is about for the general public. And it's also hard for us to film.
We have filmed whaling. But you don't see the animal. You don't see the suffering. So you need to know what's going on. And then you need to think for yourself, 『How does it feel to get a grenade exploding into you and to get a harpoon into your body？』 So that's the problem, that you don't really see what's happening.
It's quite embarrassing that Norway is the only country in the world that does two things that quite a lot of people around the world disapprove of when it comes to animal welfare, both sealing and whaling. And they're both tiny industries that no one really wants the products from. There are not a lot of people who eat it (whale meat). And there is no export, or there is very little exporting (of the meat). So it's just not necessary and it's very disapproved of. And it's quite painful for the animals.
HOST: Minke whales enjoy living in icy waters and thus the frigid seas off the coast of Norway are a natural home for them. Sadly Norway's whaling ships pursue them with no mercy.
Siri Martinsen (f): The whale species which is hunted in Norway is the Minke whale. They are social beings. The calves are with the mother for a long time and also the calf may be with the mother in the season when they are hunted. Minke whales communicate with each other over far distances.
The sounds are very special. We know very little about what they mean, but obviously they have a wide range of communication between each other. And there's one particular population of Minke whales in Australia which have been studied quite a lot because they live in close proximity with humans. There are a lot of researchers and photographers who have studied them, and the whales actually come to humans and study them as well, so it's a mutual relationship of exploration. And they are very peaceful towards humans which all whale species
Siri Martinsen (f): that have been studied have proven to be. NOAH and two other organizations have cooperated with one of the photographers who studied these whales in Australia, and he took pictures of them, very close pictures of the eyes and the expression on the face and so on.
And we blew these up to natural size and had an exhibition which toured Norway with these pictures. And they were amazing pictures. You really got to know them a little bit and you see that they approached him and they actually had a relationship in the water. So there is lots going on socially between the whales and also between whales and other species like humans when we approach them.
HOST: The incredibly beautiful whale photography exhibited in Norway was the work of Bryant Austin, the founder of the US-based non-profit organization Marine Mammal Conservation Through the Arts.
His spectacular close-up images truly reveal the magnificence and splendor of these animals. Mr. Austin desires to raise global awareness about the inhumanity of whaling and that many whale species are highly endangered.
Bryant Austin (m): You look at the Gray Whale, the Western North Pacific Gray Whale, that travels through Japan and Russia, there are only １００ left and they may go extinct. The Gray Whale's one of the oldest living mammals alive today. That population could go extinct in this century, easily.
Bryant Austin (m): Whaling is the primary reason we have so few whales. In the middle of last century within the span of maybe two human generations, we decimated most large whale species anywhere from ２０ to two percent of their original population, so there are very few remaining.
Bryant Austin (m): We're the last generation who will ever be in this position to ensure that whales will be around for thousands and thousands of years to come. No future generations will have these opportunities and it's really what we do right now that's going to ensure that they will be here. Many may go extinct in this century for the first time in recorded human history if more isn't done. So it's really my hope that in my lifetime we'll be able to achieve the full scope of our mission and bring whales into our collective mind and ensure that they're a part of our lives for thousands and thousands of years to come.
HOST: What can we do to help prevent the ocean waters from turning blood red because of whale slaughtering？ To start, we can choose the organic vegan lifestyle and avoid all animal products such as whale meat. Other actions we can take include contacting government officials to ask them to quickly end the bloodbath.
Martinsen (f): It's good to write letters to politicians with signature campaigns. Just keep on. It might stop sooner than we think.
Captain Paul Watson (m): All we have to do really is to uphold international conservation law. We have all the rules, regulations and treaties we need to protect whales.
HOST: Supreme Master Ching Hai has often spoken about the urgent need to stop the killing of animals, including the noble marine beings who are here to help keep Earth in balance as well as bless humanity.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Actually, there is also very strong motivation for people to be vegan when they see the animal cruelty that occurs with their own eyes.
If they go on the massacring fishing boat or the bloody whaling boat
to witness it for themselves, I wonder how anybody could ever do this for a living？ But, of course, they have been cheated into doing that. We have all been cheated into doing the things that we should have never done, should have never even imagined.
Because our hearts are originally full of compassion and love, but we just ignore our feeling. If you ever wondered if hell exists, just go into those massacre houses or the boats that kill the whales and go to the seal- massacring areas. Go there to find hell, then you'll believe that hell will exist.
HOST: May all whaling cease now to end the immense suffering of the whales, preserve the species and ensure the wellbeing of our planet.
For more information about anti-whaling efforts
please visit the following websites: NOAH - for animal rights www.AnimalRights.no
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society www.SeaShepherd.org