Tuesday, 30 August 2011


© Copyright Nick Smith and licensed for reuse. This is not an endorsement of my post.
For those of you who remember the sperm whale which washed up on Pegwell Bay back in March, there's still time to catch the Inside Nature's Giants documentary on 4OD, in which veterinary scientist Mark Evans and comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg dissect the creature in their usual gory way. It's certainly not for the squeamish, but there's only 7 days left of it being online so you might as well watch it while it's still there.

However, am I alone in thinking that the concept behind this programme  in which they butcher dead animals on live TV  is remarkably cruel and exploitative, even if it is a post-mortem done in the name of natural biology? I remember many local people were very upset that this poor sperm whale died on Thanet's shores, so the fact that it is now the subject of a TV documentary in which it is ripped apart by scientists is rather unsettling. If a human being had been given the same treatment, there'd be a public outcry. Oh wait, in fact, there was - Gunther von Hagens came under fire for doing a live autopsy on a human corpse didn't he?!

Funny thing is, I seem to remember that when the sperm whale originally washed up on the beach, Cllr. Martin Wise was quoted on Kent Online as saying

"We can't forget that this is a beautiful animal and we want to ensure that we remove it in the most dignified way possible."

Dignified?! I've got to admit, when I eventually drop dead, the last thing I'd want is to be cut open and given a live autopsy on Channel 4. That doesn't sound very dignified to me. In fact, I'd say it's rather shameful that the Channel 4 team didn't waste any time sending a TV crew out to make mince meat of this poor creature no sooner had it washed up on the beach, or maybe I'm just being soft.

Still, the opportunity to watch the episode of Inside Nature's Giants is there, if you've got the stomach for it. It's your choice.


  1. I wish the thing hadn't come anywhere near our beaches, all I seem to read about is whale bone and a load of smelly old blubber. Move on!

  2. facinating creature, its dead corpse did not go to waste, it has contributed to incredible insight rather than just moving it out of sight. go science.