The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans does not respond to me or the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society but one of our supporters received the response below in regard to the Narwhal slaughter. Also my rebuttal to the narwhal killer's second response is below.
DFO: Re your e-mail regarding the unfolding narwhal situation in Nunavut, Canada.
DFO: I want to assure you that Fisheries and Oceans Canada is taking this incident very seriously. Fisheries and Oceans Canada works hard to protect whales throughout the Arctic so, like anyone else, we are obviously distressed by the numbers involved. We were in contact with our Nunavut government partners in Pond Inlet as soon as these trapped narwhals were discovered and there were extensive discussions to look at options of saving the whales. We also flew our officers to the area as soon as it was possible to do so in order to assess the situation.
Captain Paul Watson: The DFO may be saying they took the situation seriously but they did not have a single officer on site when the slaughter of the Narwhals began. That is NOT taking the situation seriously. The officers arrived after the killing began so how could they have possibly assessed the situation prior to the order for execution of the whales.
DFO: There are, however, a number of issues that limited our options in response to the situation.
Captain Paul Watson: The first issue is simply a complete lack of empathy for the whales.
DFO: The major issues are location and climate. Pond Inlet is located at the northern tip of Baffin Island. Flying time to the community is approximately three hours north of Iqaluit, which is itself three hour's flying time north of Ottawa. Getting to the community with any sort of equipment would be difficult. Transportation options are extremely limited given the terrain and extreme isolation of the community. It is also currently minus 30+ plus the wind chill in the community, which presents its own challenges.
Captain Paul Watson: Canadian government Coast Guard icebreakers are equipped with helicopters and there was an icebreaker in the area so this is not an excuse for not being able to reach the area.
DFO: The option of sending an icebreaker to save the whales was looked at. Our scientists indicated, however, narwhals are particularly sensitive to noise and the engine noise from the ice breaker would stress the whales further and drive them deeper under the ice where they would drown. This would also preclude the whales from following the icebreaker out of the entrapment. Cutting a path out of the ice with other means is also impossible as open water is 50 kilometres away from the entrapment site.
Captain Paul Watson: This is the most ludicrous statement of all. Narwhals are intelligent and social animals. They would not flee beneath the ice and they would sense the opening of the ice from the ice-breakers. They would take advantage of any opening and they would use it. There is no data to back up this opinion. And besides, it would have been worth a try even if there was - a chance is always better than no chance at all. And as for stressing the animals, it is absurd to suggest that they would be stressed by a rescue operation yet not stressed by a mass execution. Social animals seeing, feeling and hearing their family slaughtered as they await the violent impact of a bullet. DFO must think we are all really stupid to believe that a rescue attempt would stress the animals more than a mass extermination.
When the DFO states that cutting a path through 50 kilometres of ice by other means is impossible, they are deflecting the option of the icebreaker. It would be an easy task for an icebreaker. They do it all the time. No expense is spared each year to break paths far longer for sealing vessels from Newfoundland and Quebec. And if it was impossible why would they state that using the icebreaker would stress the animals? They could have simply said that it was not possible.
DFO: These sort of entrapments are, unfortunately, a natural occurrence and usually happen in areas where humans do not see them. This population of narwhal is a healthy and productive one, so even with the numbers of narwhal lost in Pond Inlet, there should not be a significant effect on the overall population.
Captain Paul Watson: What a ridiculous statement to make. "This population of narwhal is a healthy and productive one." In fact this population of 500 narwhal are now very much dead and very much non productive. I've never seen a healthy and productive dead population of whales The Narwhal is an endangered species or it would be if Canada had an Endangered Species Act which it does not. Everywhere else it is considered endangered. I think 500 whales is a very significant number and there is no doubt it will have a very large impact on the overall population.
The DFO is also saying that it's okay to slaughter these whales because we as humans have discovered them. If not, they would have died. In my opinion when we as humans see an animal in distress, just as we see a human in distress, it is our responsibility as humane and caring people to rescue them. All over the world, people come to the rescue of stranded whales. Not in Canada. We kill them instead.
DFO: Unfortunately, the realities of location and climate limit our options. A difficult decision had to made as to what was the most humane way to deal with this situation and the one to allow the local Inuit to harvest the whales was seen as the best given the limited options.
Captain Paul Watson: It was the limitation of their imaginations and their empathy that limited their options. Bureaucrats always take the easy path and the easiest path is all too often the lethal option - the final solution. Besides there was political pressure from the Inuit to allow them to use the lethal option in order to "harvest" the animals for meat and their tusks, especially their tusks.
DFO: I hope this answers a couple of your questions and concerns.
Captain Paul Watson: Not even close.
A/Communications Manager, Arctic
Central and Arctic Region | Region du Centre et de l'Arctique
Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Peches et Oceans Canada
501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N6
Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada
From: Terry Audla
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 11:59 PM
To: Paul Watson
Subject: Re: Mr. Audla, this is my response.
I deny nothing that is of my culture nor will you push me in that direction. Your intolerance and incitement of hate is dangerous...world wars were fought to end your kind of single-mindedness.
Captain Watson's Rebuttal
Dear Mr. Audla,
You accuse me of hate after perpetuating the vicious act of slaughter on such gentle and intelligent creatures. That is absurd and you know it. I don't hate your culture, I despise your actions and the mass slaughter of these whales is a despicable and obscene act. How many tusks did you "harvest" from this massacre? How much money will you receive from selling these bloody trophies of cruelty? You have not said a word about the real reason you slew these Narwhals. You killed them for money and in doing so you are no different than all the other human vultures in the world that are tearing this planet apart for material gain.
I'm sure the slaughter was video taped. Release the images to prove me a liar.
World wars were fought to end my kind of singlemindedness? Really? Name me a world war that was fought to prevent people like myself from saving wildlife? There was a war to stop madmen from slaughtering people but I can't recall a war that was fought to stop people from saving lives and caring for the living Earth except for now, when the forces of greed are literally destroying life on this planet at an unprecedented rate. No Mr. Audla, no such war has ever been fought until now and it is quite obvious who is on the side of life and who is on the side of death.
Your slaughter of these Narwhals is a crime against nature and ultimately a crime against humanity. The killers of these whales pulled the triggers and unleashed a nightmarish horror against these gentle creatures that you refuse to accept or imagine.
I have no intention of pushing you anywhere nor do I have any intention of asking you to deny your culture. You are obviously a prisoner of your culture, as are we all.
I confess that I am intolerant of death, cruelty and slaughter and that kind of intolerance comes from a deep love of nature and of life and that Mr. Audla is the very opposite of hate.
I have no respect for such slaughter and there is nothing on this Earth that can ever convince me that what was done to these whales can ever be justified.
Those tusks will soon be adorning some rich prick's mantlepiece and the money will be yours. But it will be blood money and it will represent another piece of flesh hacked from the living body of the planet. At some point we will soon take too much and it will collapse all around us and being human we will look around and wonder how could this have happened? And we will blame all the other creatures and each other, and we will still not see that it is our own greed and arrogance that has brought it about.
Enjoy the fruits of your slaughter and celebrate Christmas with the justification that what was done was right. I see nothing to celebrate this Christmas and nothing to be proud of in my species. I can only mourn for the deaths of your victims.
All over the world, people rush to defend stranded dolphins and whales. Yet when these sentient beings came to you - you chose to kill them in the most barbaric manner imaginable.
Call me what you will but accusing me of hatred is absurd. I don't hate any of the men who killed those whales. I pity them for their ignorance and their brutality.
Captain Paul Watson