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The Mad Agriculture Journal

Published on

November 12, 2021

Written by

Philip Taylor

Photos by

Jane Cavagnero

​​The name tells its history. It was the ‘right’ whale for killing. They move slow and float after being harpooned. The right whale is the most critically endangered whale, with less than 360 individuals known to be alive. In 2017, there was an unusual mortality event, which remains a mystery, where 32 whales were found dead. Scientists believe that deaths are outpacing births. Most deaths are due to entanglements with fishnets and vessel strikes. The plight of the Right Whale enrages me. Its story is the story of too many. 

When I was young I was mesmerized with Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd and his ragtag navy of ‘radicals’ that chase, harass, scuttle, ram and sink illegal whaling and fishing vessels on the high seas. The story of the Right Whale enlivens my rebellious sensibilities, which I have largely chosen not to follow. Perhaps, someday.

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There is a lesson from Moby Dick. “From hell’s heart I stab at thee” exclaimed Captain Ahab, as he cast his final harpoon at Moby Dick and subsequently plunged to the bottom of the sea with his whaling ship. Captain Ahab’s loathing was more obvious than the blithe hate that perfuses our inaction to save the whales. If we continue to take down the Earth’s creatures, we will go down with them. Certainly, the world will go on, but without us. The world does not revolve around us, and we would do well to honor that.

Originally published in
Mad Agriculture Journal Issue 6


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