Monday, September 04, 2006

Dear Japan, Norway, Iceland, Russia, and the U.S.,

Stop whaling. Seriously. I understand that some (rare) indigenous communities rely on whaling, but that doesn't make it right. Ivory is illegal now, right? It's not cool to buy tiger skins, or to kill gorillas for bushmeat, right? Sure people still do it anyway, but isn't that because they have no economic recourse? I'm going to go ahead and say that ye addressed nations do indeed have economic recourse. People could be directed to slay a less endangered species of whale, couldn't they? Times change, and it sucks, but that is not the fault of the whale.

At least most of you pretend to care, or vaguely monitor your whaling situations. You try to stay on the down low, so that the people of your fine nations don't become too riled about the dwindling number of larger whales. Because Minke whales have a more stable population, Japan and Norway have argued for a total removal of the international bans placed on whaling. Come on, dudes-- you don't eat enough fish? You gotta fuck with whales? Mmmm, blubber. What is wrong with you people?

I guess that's another letter altogether.

The D.L.


david said...

What is wrong with the harvest of whales so long as it is sustainable?

The D.L. said...

hi david,

don't worry, i'm neither eia nor greenpeace. i understand that (as posted) in rare cases it may be necessary. we'll just have to agree to disagree about commercial whaling. i am something of a soft cupcake.

incidentally, whales are not corn, and therefore cannot be harvested. they are hunted. it is a phrase of distancing, like so much of our language.


david@tokyo said...

It's quite likely that we will have to disagree, but it'd be nice to know that we understand where exactly our difference in views lies :-)

I'm always interested to hear why people think commercial whaling should be banned, even though scientists today are acknowledging that safe sustainable catch limits for abundant whale stocks can be set.

If we are going to ban whaling despite this, why don't we ban all commercial fishing as well?
1) In most cases today more is known about the status of abundant whale stocks than is known about overfished fisheries resources, and
2) the catch limits that would be set for whaling would be more conservative than those for fisheries.
That is, under the IWC's "RMP" rules for setting catch limits, not a single whale could be taken for commercial purposes for a stock of whales that is estimated to be below 54% of it's carrying capacity. If the same was the case for commercial fisheries, almost all of them would have to be shut down immediately.

Why the huge contradiction?

With whaling we actually have one of the most conservative management mechanisms in place, and yet it is not being implemented. A very bizarre situation indeed.

Incidentally, one meaning of "harvest" is the killing of animals as a source of food.

The D.L. said...

i am not sure that all scientists have reached an agreement on that, david. i am also not sure huge contradictions in commercial fishing justify whaling, but i can tell you i don't feel rosy about that either, and discourage the purchase and consumption of over-fished species.

however, i was not addressing commercial fishing. whales are a cornerstone species. they are not bred (as some fish are-- seeded, and therefore 'harvested') for consumption. humans no longer need to rely on their oil for any reason, nor do they need to rely on whales as a food source. have you seen footage of whaling? it's pretty disturbing.

i am aware that is one applicable use of the word "harvested", hence my claim that it is a phrase of distancing. in this case, ourselves and/or needs from the act of hunting.