Friday, July 5, 2013
By Jonny Zwick (@jonnyzwick) There are reasons for anti-whaling supporters to stay optimistic about the prospect of abolishing the archaic industry of whaling in Iceland. Despite the estimated 21 fin whales and 20 minke whales that have been slaughtered along the coast lines of the island nation this Summer, murmurs of a possible sanctuary in the North provide hope for those opposed. The primary reason that minke whalers have been pushed north this season is the implementation of a whale sanctuary in Faxafloi Bay. Faxafloi Bay lies right outside of the capital city, Reykjavik, and is famous for it’s fruitful whale and puffin watching. Although the invisible sanctuary line doesn’t run as far as whale-watching companies hoped that it would, it has restricted whalers in their deplorable practice. The significance goes beyond the recognition from Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries that whale watching may be more economically beneficial than whaling; it greatly depletes whalers already limited areas to hunt. I use the words, “already limited” because minke whales are mostly coastal/inshore marine mammals. Whalers can’t simply ignore the sanctuary by travelling further out to sea. Well, they could, but they wouldn’t find any whales to hunt. A sanctuary in the North, where whale watching is growing at an extreme rate, should surely put this controversial industry to bed. With a slowing consumer market and a shrinking hunting zone, I would recommend minke whalers start buffering their resumes if the line is put in place.
Monday, July 1, 2013
“Imagine this. Jay, an eight-year-old boy with autism, whose behavior has always been agitated and uncooperative, is smiling and splashing in the pool. A pair of bottlenose dolphins are hovering on the surface next to him, supporting him in the water. With all the attention he’s getting, Jay is excited and in high spirits; he appears more aware and alert than ever before. Jay’s parents, who had given up hope, are elated to have finally found a treatment that works for their son. They sign up for more sessions and cannot wait to get home and tell their friends about the experience.” (Excerpted from Dolphins Are Not Healers, Aeon magazine). In this new review of dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) in Aeon Magazine (http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-and-cosmos/lori-marino-dolphins-are-not-healers/ Lori Marino tells us that while the above scenario looks benign and encouraging – looks can be deceiving! Marino discusses her work with clinical psychologist Scott Lilienfeld showing that there is no therapeutic value to swimming with dolphins. She details the history of dolphins in mythology and how these ancient beliefs have fueled modern-day pseudoscience practices like DAT. The bottom line? DAT is a form of exploitation of both dolphins and desperate parents of disabled and sick children. Buyer Beware!