Monday, June 12, 2006

Whaling to restart?

The BBC is reporting that pro-whaling nations are expected to have a majority of votes at the International Whaling Commission meeting in St Kitts & Nevis on Friday. While there probably wont be a return to full scale whaling the conservation and welfare programs could be scrapped. The argument by the pro-whaling lobby is simple.
"We think there is growing support for whaling in principle and in practice," said its secretary Rune Frovik. [of Norway's High North Alliance]

"Whales belong to the animal kingdom. In some cultures they eat frogs, others don't; Hindus don't eat beef, that's their choice, but they don't try to prohibit the rest of the world from eating it.

"And we think that you can't find anything more environmentally friendly than whale meat - this is an animal which lived in nature, we are harvesting nature's surplus and you don't have to destroy nature to do that."

You could counter that argument by saying some cultures eat dogs but I don't see Norwegians rounding up their family pets to ship their carcasses to Asia for a bit of profit. What is Norway's attitude towards imports of elephant ivory, or rhino horn, or tiger penis? Some cultures value such items, should the Norway legalize the sale of those in it's stores? Some people like snorting cocaine and injecting heroin, and the economies of some areas in countries like Afghanistan are dependent on the export of such crops? They come from plants, environmentally friendly bit of farming, would Norway therefore agree to legalize the sale and use of hard drugs?

This isn't the 1800's, you cant hunt a species to extinction without expecting some kind of international public reaction. If this goes ahead I would expect there will be consumer boycotts of produce from pro-whaling countries organized around to world. Who knows, maybe one day in the not too distant future a couple of containers of whale meat to Japan may be the number 1 export from Norway and the only people with jobs would the whalers the rest of the country is so keen to protect?

Update: Japan lost two important votes on day one of the conference. Turns out some of their supporters, Togo and Cameroon, showed up late.

1 comment:

david@tokyo said...

Um, the Norwegians aren't shipping their dogs to Asia because dog eating isn't their culture.

Norway and other whaling nations are just asking for tolerance of their culture - not for you or anyone else to adopt it yourself.

Norway's attitude to elephant and rhino products is the same as it's attitude to whales - sustainable use. There is no conservation based reason to ban sustainable utilization of animal resources.

Sustainability is the key. Killing elephants or whales is not a bad thing. Killing elephants or whales in numbers so great that these stocks of animals can't replenish themselves IS a bad thing - we've been there and done that. That's not where Norway is trying to go now.

Again for emphasis - Norway and other whaling nations only want sustainable whaling to be accepted - not unsustainable whaling.