¿Hipocresía en alta mar?

Hace treinta años, los buques australianos, con el consentimiento del gobierno, mataban cachalotes en la costa occidental australiana. El mes pasado, Australia encabezó las protestas internacionales contra el plan de Japón de matar 50 ballenas jorobadas. Japón, bajo una presión creciente, anunció que suspendería el plan por uno o dos años. El cambio en la opinión pública sobre la caza de ballenas ha sido dramático, y no sólo en Australia.

Greenpeace inició las protestas contra Australia por la caza de ballenas, y el gobierno nombró a Sydney Frost, un juez jubilado, para que dirigiera una investigación sobre dicha práctica. Como australiano preocupado y profesor de filosofía que trabaja sobre la ética del trato que damos a los animales, presenté una ponencia.

No aduje que la caza de ballenas debía terminar porque las ballenas estuvieran en peligro. Yo sabía que muchos expertos en temas ecológicos y biólogos marinos presentarían ese argumento. En cambio, sostuve que las ballenas son mamíferos sociales con cerebros grandes, con capacidad de disfrutar de la vida y sentir dolor –no sólo dolor físico sino también, muy probablemente, angustia por la pérdida de un miembro de su grupo.

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