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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Say Goodbye to the Whales, Once More

Xenocide is catching, the new craze, from Japan to Iceland. Iceland has just tossed aside the 20 year-old moratorium on international whaling, Norway and Japan expected to follow soon. The reason of Iceland's reinvigorated assault on whales?

Starvation? Unlikely as Iceland has a Human Development Index of .956 (2nd in the world), life expectancy of 80.6 years, and a per capita income of USD31,243 (Source).

Whales set to invade Iceland? Self-defence from whale jihadis. No, the war on the environment has already been won (making one victory, two losses in the wars against nouns).

Maybe, these rich, pampered Northern Europeans like to eat whales? Maybe they like the taste. Apparently not...

...there is barely a market for the catch. In 2004, just a quarter of the whale meat taken by the Icelandic whaling fleet was actually sold. The country's industrial freezers are full of unsold whale from previous seasons. A recent poll of Icelanders by anti-whalers found that only 1% of Icelanders eat whale meat once a week or more, while 82.4% of 16- to 24-year-olds never eat whale meat. Meanwhile, the international market is saturated. The Norwegians, who maintain whaling to keep their remote northern coastal communities politically sweet, failed to meet their quota of whales last year, yet still had to turn some of the catch into pet food. Meanwhile, the Japanese are reportedly handing it out to schoolchildren.

Maybe the Icelandic economy is dependent on whale hunting. Nope, also doesn't cut ice...

Polls have repeatedly shown that 70-80% of Icelanders support commercial whaling and the government has long threatened to play the nationalist card. It also claims that the industry is economically essential to the country. This, though, is nonsense. All of Iceland's whaling is done by one company, owned by one powerful family in Reykjavik who are subsidised by the Icelandic government. While the government says it is economically essential to continue whaling, there is little evidence that it supports more than a few seasonal jobs. Indeed, whale watching is far more important to the country.

So why? Because they want to, stuff the rest of us, and bring on the blubber. Japan, Norway, and Iceland are the true rogue states, they are a real, present and imminent threat to the biodiversity of this planet. What they are doing now will have effects for the rest of the planet's history, for once the whales are gone, they're not coming back.


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  • There is in fact quite a lot of room for extra supply in the Japanese market, as stockpile figures show:

    In short, prices remain relatively high, consumption has been increasing, and media here in Japan is reporting on whale meat more regularly. However, supply remains limited so some market participants are worried that too much excitement may lead to price rises.

    Iceland should be able to find markets for their meat providing they are permitted to do so by the relevant government authorities.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3:57 am  

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