Ethical issues in whale and small cetacean management

Environmental Ethics 2 (3):241-279 (1980)
Three main ethical issues involved in the management of whales and small cetaceans are examined: ethical values concerning extinction and their implications for consumptive management regimes, the humaneness of current and feasible future harvesting techniques, and the ethical propriety of killing cetaceans for various uses. I argue that objections to human-caused extinction are primarily ethical, and that the ethical discussion must be expanded to include greater consideration of acceptable risks and problems associated with extinction due to human-caused genetic selection. Whaling methods are objectively described including death times for whales. I show that the debate on humaneness is not about the facts of the hunt, but about the appropriate standard for judging whether or not a technique ishumane. Economic and ecological arguments which attempt to preempt the ethical questions are discussed and dismissed as specious. Arguments which attempt to distinguish ethically human relations with cetaceans from relations with other wildlife species are reviewed critically
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DOI 10.5840/enviroethics19802339
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