What’s Up With Whaling? Humans, the Unnecessary Predators of the Ocean

“Ships are expendable; the whales are not.”

– Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd.

Humpback stellwagen edit by Whit Welles is licensed under CC BY 3.0

As I scroll down my Twitter feed, it seems that almost every other post is distressing images of blood red seas, vulnerable creatures, or an idyllic tourism image which has been edited in some way to shock the viewers. Don’t visit Norway, they hunt whales. Icelandic nature is beautiful but their whaling practices are ugly.

Like most people, I’m very anti-whaling, but I just want to say for the record that we shouldn’t point fingers of blame at the Norwegian people. Most of them are just as disappointed that this practice still goes on. When I lived in Iceland, I saw far more anti-whaling information being spread in the streets than I ever did pro-whaling.  Calling all Icelandic people whale hunters is like calling all British people badger cullers, or fox hunters.

Why Does it Still Go On?

'AustralianCustoms-WhalingInTheSouthernOcean' by Customs and Border Protection Service, Commonwealth of Australia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 AU

A slow, painful and degrading death

With this is mind, with so many people against whaling, why does it still go on? As whale-watching has now become the biggest eco-tourism activity out there, it is clear that these beautiful ocean giants are far more beneficial to human populations alive rather than dead. I wouldn’t want to put a price tag on another creature, but if it meant saving them from needless slaughter, then that is what we should do.

People will pay anywhere between $50 to over $100 to see a whale in its natural habitat, and there are a lot of tours that will take enthusiastic guests out to catch a glimpse of a breaching beauty. So again my question is, why does it still go on?

Whale hunting is prominent in three countries: Japan, Norway and Iceland (and the Faroe Islands). Between them, they kill around 2,000 whales per year. Not only that, but the way these creatures are killed is slow, painful, and degrading to the animal. The whales are killed with a mere profit in mind, making the people actually doing the hunting look like money-grabbing fools.

I don’t think its just about profit. If it were, then they would know by now that they would be so much richer changing their boat into a nature sightseeing tour or something. Whalers from Japan claim they are hunting whales for scientific purposes, however many environmental groups argue that this just a cover up so that they can find a loophole to hunt legally. Besides, the scientific purposes excuse is not satisfactory in my opinion. Why would you want to research and count whale populations by slaughtering them? I’m not an expert, but surely simply tagging a whale would be the more preferable option. Better yet, why can’t humans just stay out of their business?!

“Tradition is an Explanation for Acting Without Thinking”

'Japanese Waves' by Taymaz Valley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hokusai’s Wave tainted with the spilled blood of whales

I think, on some level, commercial whale hunting is related to power, and let’s not forget the good old tradition excuse! Aside from all participating in whaling, Iceland, Norway and  Japan all share a common history. They have been doing it since as early as the 10th century, and they did it to survive. By this logic, modern day whale hunting is completely justifiable (according to them). You know what I think? I think you should all put your harpoons down and eat some vegetables. It’s 2016, you don’t need whale meat to survive.

Stop using tradition as a way to justify cruelty. It’s wrong, and brings out the very worst in people. Traditionally, black people were slaves. Does that justify slavery today? Of course it doesn’t.

I’ve been called out before for being too insensitive when getting angry about unnecessary traditions, but I kind of think that 3,000 whales’ lives are a little bit more important than offending some self-righteous humans.

Is it Going to Get Better?

'2009-02-01 Sea Shepherd crew in a Zodiac race alongside Japanese harpoon whaling vessel the Yushin Maru No 1' by John is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sea Shepherd vs. Japanese whalers

The good news is yes. I think it will. Iceland’s tourist population is rapidly on the rise, which is the country’s main source of income, so if it looks like their whaling practices will affect their tourism figures, they will definitely back track. I have high hopes that this, combined with organisational pressure, will push whaling back into the cupboard for good.

The same applies for Norway and Japan. Norway is a beautiful, desirable Scandinavian country with varied landscapes and nature. People have, and will continue to travel to the country to experience this. Would the government really jeopardise this in favour of needless hunting? I don’t think so. Japan, too, is a unique place on our planet, and they hosted 19.73 million tourists in 2015, generating 3.48 trillion yen for their economy. Think about how much more money their country would make if only they threw out their whale hunting boats.

Activists, too, are actually making a significant impact. NGO Sea Shepherd forced Japanese whalers to retreat early in 2009/10, meaning less whales died that year. In fact, Sea Shepherd has been the ocean’s saviour for the past 30 years, working tirelessly to protect all sea life from the destructive nature of humankind. Every year they combat whalers using direct approaches and stopping the action at the roots – in the oceans themselves.

Voices on social media are also making a difference. By sharing vivid images, gifs, and petitions, we are spreading the word. Our online voices are making noise, and that noise can’t be ignored.

So stand up, speak out, and support organisations like Sea Shepherd. If you do go on holiday to one of these places, make sure to boycott any company that supports whaling, or serves whale meat. If you live in one of these countries, your activism can be more direct by doing public protests, or writing letters to your government.

The more we do, the faster things will change. And things need to change. For the sake of our planet’s whales.

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Image Attribution:

Humpback stellwagen edit‘ by Whit Welles is licensed under CC BY 3.0

AustralianCustoms-WhalingInTheSouthernOcean‘ by Customs and Border Protection Service, Commonwealth of Australia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 AU

Japanese Waves‘ by Taymaz Valley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

2009-02-01 Sea Shepherd crew in a Zodiac race alongside Japanese harpoon whaling vessel the Yushin Maru No 1‘ by John is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Essential Vegan Food Ideas for the Student Budget

With the end of August fast approaching  and the cooler days of September just around the corner, I can practically smell the pumpkin-spice everything. I’m joking. But I can hear the footsteps from the army of new freshman students starting their first year of college or university. WELCOME TO THE CLUB, freshers. You’re going to love it.

This post is for students who are living away from home for the first time and are unsure about what to be cooking to fit with the fast-paced college lifestyle. For student food to be its best it needs to fit three checkboxes: affordable, simple, and nutritious. Even though it may be tempting, lay off the nightly takeaway. I don’t care how many coupons you have, it’s always going to be more expensive than cooking your own foods! And when looking for cheap meals to make at home, eating a plant-based diet is always going to beat eating meat and dairy.

Veg and bean chili in a homemade tomato based sauce

Veg and bean chili in a homemade tomato based sauce

If you’re vegan already, then that’s wonderful, it’s so easy to be vegan at university! If you’re not vegan, then I definitely encourage you to consider it.  That being said, here are Highland Imp’s tried and tested essential vegan food ideas for the budget student!


Tofu Scramble. Waking up after a night out and craving a greasy fry up without the cholesterol? It can be done. Tofu scramble tastes even better than scrambled eggs. It’s really simple to make, too. Just drain the tofu, and scramble it up in a pan with a bit of cooking oil, salt, and pepper. You can add other spices too if you want. Serve with some veggie sausages, fried mushrooms and hash browns for a perfect hangover breakfast.


Porridge/Oatmeal. For the days when you have lectures and need your brain to be in gear for as long as possible. Play around with the quantity of oats you use until you find the right amount to fill you up, and cook with three times the amount of water. (eg 1 cup oats = 3 cups water). Stir continuously  over heat until it bubbles and thickens. Top it off with fruit, seeds, cereals, nut-butter, syrup…whatever you fancy!


Tomato-Based Sauces. Some of my favourite meals to eat are chilli and curry. Both of these require the same base ingredients, so I end up using tomatoes a lot when I’m cooking. It’s really simple. Start off by thinly slicing an onion and sauteing it (you can either add oil or a splash of water), until it goes brown. Add some garlic. Add the tomatoes. Depending on where you live, it might be cheap to buy fresh tomatoes, which gives a superior taste to tinned. But either is fine, fresh tomatoes take a little while to cook down, whereas tinned are ready to go straight away. Season your tomato base with salt and pepper. Voila! Great to add to any assorted veg or bean dish.


Soup. Okay, you can’t be a student without knowing how to make soup. You just can’t. Bought too much veg and some of it is starting to go funny? Make a soup. Need something you can freeze and eat over the week? Soup. Feeling a bit run-down? Soup is your best friend. It’s a great way to get your five a day and nutrition. If you make it with potatoes, it should keep you full for ages. Root veg soup is a winter favourite of mine.


Sweet Potato Fries. Want ‘junk food’ without eating junk? Homemade fries are the thing for you. Sweet potatoes are far superior to regular potatoes, but of course you can use either. Slice up as many as you want, and par boil to soften them up a bit. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to around 200 degrees C. Put the potatoes on baking paper, on a tray. Season with pepper, paprika, a little bit of salt… whatever takes your fancy! Put them in the oven for around thirty minutes, or until they look baked enough. ENJOY your healthy, nutritious fries!


Spinach and Chickpea burgers. Something vegan students need to be aware of is that frozen food marketed as being ‘meat-free’ often contains egg and milk products. So if you don’t want to be like me in my second semester of uni, trawling the freezer aisle of my local supermarket checking every label trying to find anything that I could just put in the oven and eat, then heed my advice now. Make your own. Homemade veggie burgers are always going to be less processed that the stuff they sell in shops, and will probably be cheaper, too! These burgers are the bomb, and only require five ingredients.


There are so many different foods a vegan student can eat, but I don’t want to go on all day! If anyone needs any recipe ideas to slip in to a busy university schedule, feel free to leave me a comment, or send me a message on one of my social medias. As someone who quite enjoys cooking, I’d be happy to give people meal suggestions!

Are you a student? What are your favourite kinds of meals to cook? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to share this page and subscribe to the website for new content. You can also find me on FacebookYoutubeTwitter,Instagram, Google + and Tumblr for even more!

**Special shout out to the Fox Eyed Man for his awesome vegan burger recipe! Check him out if you’re interested in vegan articles reinforced by academic, peer-reviewed sources.**