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Catholic Perspective on International Whaling and Fishing


Cathechism of the Catholic Church
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The Seventh Commandment, Thou shall not steal, calls for us as humans to respect nature and take only what we need. Since man’s power over the inanimate is limited by concern for future generations of humans, man should not take so much from nature that there is not enough left for the future.

In the context of whaling, people are entitled to hunt whales if it is necessary for the good of mankind. Whaling and fishing to the point where fish and whale populations around the globe reach dangerous lows is not in the best interest of mankind. People must not treat whaling and fishing as industries for profit but rather as a means of getting food for oneself or one’s family so that whales and fish are not killed to the extent that species reach extinction. If whaling and fishing are seen as industries, then hunting to extremes is inevitable because the pressures put on an industry to produce profits are too powerful for human morals to stop. Species of fish and whales cannot be hunted faster than they reproduce. In the context of whaling, people are entitled to hunt whales if it is necessary for the good of mankind. Whaling and fishing to the point where fish and whale populations around the globe reach dangerous lows is not in the best interest of mankind. People must not treat whaling and fishing as industries for profit but rather as a means of getting food for oneself or one’s family so that whales and fish are not killed to the extent that species reach extinction. If whaling and fishing are seen as industries, then hunting to extremes is inevitable because the pressures put on an industry to produce profits are too powerful for human morals to stop. Species of fish and whales cannot be hunted faster than they reproduce.

There are other means of acquiring food rather than hunting down whales and fishing, and people should not rely solely on one type of food or the source of that food will be exhausted. People should strive to use all sources of food available to them so that none of these sources are eliminated by overuse. There are other means of acquiring food rather than hunting down whales and fishing, and people should not rely solely on one type of food or the source of that food will be exhausted. People should strive to use all sources of food available to them so that none of these sources are eliminated by overuse.

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As beings created by God, animals are deserving of a great deal of respect. Animals should not be viewed merely as tools to aid us in our own existence but rather as creatures of God who must be treated with fairness and kindness.

Hunting any type of animal given to us by God to the point where they are in danger of extinction shows a lack of respect for animals and therefore a lack of respect for God. We should aim to care for animals to the same extent as God cares for them. Just because we have the power to kill animals does not entitle us to wipe out entire species’, rather it demands us to protect and care for animals as God protects and cares for us.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis is the founder of the Franciscan order and is best known for his love for animals. There are many tales involving Francis talking to animals, including preaching to birds, reasoning with a wolf, and a falcon that flew around him.

external image StFrancisofAssisi.jpgSaint Francis’ Sermon to the Birds:
“My little sisters, the birds, much bounden are ye unto God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise Him, for that He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere, and hath also given you double and triple rainment; moreover He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, that your race might not perish out of the world; still more are ye beholden to Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; beyond all this, ye sow not, neither do you reap; and God feedeth you, and giveth you the streams and fountains for your drink; the mountains and valleys for your refuge and the high trees whereon to make your nests; and because ye know not how to spin or sow, God clotheth you, you and your children; wherefore your Creator loveth you much, seeing that He hath bestowed on you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praises unto God.”

Saint Anthony
Saint Anthony was a monk who lived in the time of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was greatly affected by Saint Francis after he first heard of him at the age of twenty-five. After the first Franciscan Friars he met were murdered he became a Franciscan Friar himself. It is often told that St. Anthony once preached to fish and that all the fish gathered around and listened to him.external image anthony_padua_fish2.jpg

“St. Anthony addresses the fish, 'Dearly beloved fish;' and the legend adds, that at the conclusion of the discourse, 'the fish bowed to him with profound humility, and a grave and religious countenance.' The saint then gave the fish his blessing, who scudded away to make new conversions,— the missionaries of the main."
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Since animals were created in the same way we were, it is disrespectful to ourselves and to each other to cause undue suffering towards animals. It conflicts our own dignity to treat animals poorly.

Transforming whaling and fishing into industries also conflicts with human dignity because spending money on animals is a waste because money that we have should be spent on relieving human suffering. If fishing and whaling are run as industries than all the money that goes through those industries is money that was poorly spent.

Exhausting our own food supplies by spending money on things other than relieving the suffering of other humans further develops human suffering because in that process we systematically wipe out our food supplies.

Teachings of the Bible

Noah's Ark
In Genesis 6 the story of a great flood is told:

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.
2416 Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.
2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.
In this passage God comes to the realization that men have become corrupted and show no respect towards him or his creations. He decides to start over by wiping out all of manind except for one man, Noah, who is pure of heart. He also orders Noah to take with him two of every kind of animal:external image Noahs_Ark_S.jpg

19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.
God orders Noah to take two of every kind of species with him on his ark so that they can reproduce. In this instance God gives animals the same chance for redemtion as he grants human kind. God puts a human in charge of the ship and gives a human the responsibility of caring for the animals and ensuring that they can live and reproduce. This is the same kind of responsibility that God gives to all humans on earth. It is our duty to care for the creations of God as we care for eachother. The fact that we have power over animals does not allow us to destroy them but commands us to watch over them the way Noah did.

9 This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.
To be righteous as Noah was, man must treat animals with the same respect that Noah did.

Genesis 1
20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth."
God saw water teaming with living creatures as good and he gave us the dity to maintain good in the world. God created the world as good and that good involved the seas being full of living creatures that were meant to multiply, not reach extinction as a result of man's gluttony.


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