For decades, Professor Gary Francione has been arguing for an abolitionist approach to animal rights. The abolitionist approach rejects the idea that “it is morally acceptable to use animals as human resources as long as we treat them ‘humanely’ and do not inflict ‘unnecessary’ suffering on them.” And in arguing for this approach, Professor Francione suggests that efforts to exploit animals more “humanely” and “sustainably” are typically counterproductive. Why? Largely because consumers feel good about purchasing products with “humane” and “sustainable” labels, even though these products continue to wreak havoc on animals and ecosystems.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s largest fisheries sustainability program, caters to the 61% of consumers who “say they have more trust and confidence in brands that use ecolabels.” But Seaspiracy called the program out for setting its standards too low and certifying fisheries that are responsible for killing large amounts of bycatch. Now, the Guardian reports that MSC-certified fisheries may be responsible for threatening the critically endangered right whale. North Atlantic whales have been shrinking in size due to fishing gear entanglements, and “more than a tenth of the population [of North Atlantic right whales] died or were seriously injured between 2017 and 2021.” Crab and lobster pots and traps coupled with the millions of fishing lines along these whales’ migration paths from Florida to Canada continue pushing the species closer to extinction. This raises a serious question about whether any of the MSC sustainability certifications in the right whales’ range are justifiable.
According to NOAA, there are less than 400 individual North Atlantic right whales left in existence. And a whale-rescue team recently found two right whales entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Sign this petition to demand the government of Mexico protect the vaquita by fully enforcing prohibitions on illegal boats and gillnets!
Read more about whales in One Green Planet, including: new rule on critically endangered North Atlantic right whales falls short; two beluga whales brought to a sanctuary; military sonar exercise linked to beached whales; hypersonic weapons testing affecting killer whales; over 100 beached whales saved by rescuers; whales, dolphins, and porpoises face unprecedented risk of extinction; and humpback whale trapped in fishing gear.
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