Gray whales continue to wash up dead and emaciated, but causes remain elusive. (Photo: John Ewbank/Flickr)
“It’ll be days before the whale can be safely released, then what? What do you do next?” asks Mandy Scott, a marine mammal caretaker in a tiny fishing village in South Carolina.
“We’re out of food. We have to go to a supermarket.”
Mandy’s voice is shaky. She’s scared. She’s a volunteer with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, one of the most well-known, respected, and well-funded environmental groups in the world.
“The problem is getting a permit to collect enough data to stop the killing.”
In the past, Mandy had never even heard of a whale being killed for meat. In fact, she’d never even thought about it in a positive way. She thought about dolphins, sea turtles, all endangered marine animals.
But right now, what’s killing them all? Mandy Scott’s eyes are steely as she looks into a camera and speaks about how it feels to see one of her favorite animals in a pool of blood.
Scott, like so many other animal rights advocates in the U.S., sees the slaughter of whales for their meat and oil as a crucial part of a larger genocide. She doesn’t see a choice: “We could be eating dolphin now, or we could be eating killer whales.”
“But we are going to continue to feed,” she says. “We’re just going to continue to use the animals for their meat.”
While the world’s oceans are now on fire from overfishing, acidifying oceans, and pollution, Mandy continues to work in a small fishing town in South Carolina. She is a marine mammal caretaker, and she has a special position: one of the most dangerous jobs in the marine industry.
She has been a caretaker for seven years,