BOOK REVIEW: A Whale For The Killing

A Whale For The Killing

In the wake of the Tilikum/Sea World tragedy, I decided to pick up this classic book of humanity’s relationship to the whales. This important book serves as a reminder that there were once—not so long ago–no “dolphin safe” labels, no Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, no everyone-and-her-brother wanting to be a marine biologist, no worldwide communications needed to mobilize people on behalf of animals. There was, for generations, very little controversy regarding how whales should be treated—they were lamp oil, whalebone corsets, and dog food—period. After reading Mowat’s harrowing descriptions of the global commercial slaughter of whales, you will be amazed that we have any left at all.

Readers will share the author’s roller coaster of emotions as he recounts the true story of a mammoth Fin Whale who was trapped in a shallow bay in the author’s adopted hometown in Newfoundland. The local yahoos almost immediately began using her for target practice. Mowat found great frustration in trying to get his neighbors and even local law enforcement to intervene. Although the living, pregnant animal offered a precious opportunity to study a species that was at the time barely understood, Mowat could not even get scientists sufficiently roused to the animal’s defense.

This is a sad story about what happens when we place the fate of vulnerable animals with cruel human beings. It also stands as a stark reminder of why we need strong laws that protect whales, not whaling interests.

(review originally appeared at


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Orlando Rodrigez
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 18:05:32

    Thanks for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of info in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.


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