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Speciesism

November 13, 2020 - The Conversation

200 years ago, people discovered Antarctica – and promptly began profiting by slaughtering some of its animals to near extinction

200 years ago, people discovered Antarctica – and promptly began profiting by slaughtering some of its animals to near extinction
Fur Seal, Antarctica© Photabulous!

Two hundred years ago, on November 17, Connecticut ship captain Nathaniel Palmer spotted the Antarctic continent, one of three parties to do so in 1820. Unlike explorers Edward Bransfield and Fabian von Bellingshausen, Palmer was a sealer who quickly saw economic opportunity in the rich sealing grounds on the Antarctic Peninsula.

In the two centuries since, Antarctica has seen a range of commercial, scientific and diplomatic developments. While some countries attempted to claim territory on the continent in the first half of the 20th century, today the region is governed through the international Antarctic Treaty System.

Although the treaty claims to govern Antarctica in the interests of all “mankind,” some countries have gained greater benefits from the region than others. While mining is currently banned under the Antarctic Treaty and the days of sealing and whaling are over, Antarctica’s marine living resources are still being exploited to this day.

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The Conversation


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