The following paper is about the resumption of whaling by Norway with a focus on the American attitude towards whaling in general. Whaling is a very sensitive issue for many people, including myself. There are many people who feel that whales are highly intelligent mammals, akin to humanity in many ways. They cite the fact that whales mate for life, the size of the average whales brain, and the proof that whales communicate with one another ; all of these traits they share with us.
The anti-whaling people feel that to kill whales for their meat or oil, would be like killing people for their meat or oil. The pro whaling people don’t buy any of their reasoning. The pro whaling people feel that it is their right to use their resources any way that they want, and no one can tell them what to do. These people don’t feel that whales are intelligent or that the size of their brains has any thing to do with it. The people of Norway don’t see a problem with whaling because they were raised w ith it.
The anti-whali An international study by Milton Freeman and Stephen Kellert, published in 1992, surveyed people in 6 major countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, The United Kingdom and The United States about their attitudes towards whales and whaling. 57% of the US respondents confirmed that they “opposed the hunting of whales under any circumstances” and 55% felt that “even regulated whaling must be abandoned” (Skare 1994). Although none of the respondent groups showed a high level of knowledge on the subject, all seemed to agree on the following points.
1. The protection of whale habitats from pollution and disturbance. 2. Maintaining an “ecosystem” perspective in whale management. 3. Basing harvest levels on the most sound scientific advice available. In Norway where whale hunting was once a big industry the proponents of whaling scoff at the prospect of a world without whaling. Norway claims that whaling in their country dates back more than ten thousand years (Skare 1994) and that history, they claim, gives them the right to exploit the resources that they have available to them; what they don’t say is that those “resources” aren’t really their own to exploit.
Eric Doyle, a member of Greenpeace, an environmental watchdog group, explained to me (over the telephone) that the boundaries that countries draw up don’t mean anything to whales or even to whaling boats in some instances. Doyle, explained that because Norway is one of the very few countries that have resumed whaling ,their boats aren’t closely watched, and are often overlooked because there aren’t many of them out there (Doyle 1995). Norwegians who are involved in whaling, hunt Minke whales in the northeast Atlantic, where the whale stock is estimated to consist of approximately eighty-six thousand seven hundred minke whales (Donovan 1994).
In the late eighties Norway imposed a ban on itself that ended whaling, commercially, whaling for the purpose of scientific research, however continued with no end in sight. The History of The Regulated Whaling Industry… Whaling has always been a source of income and, whales an endless source of useful products. The meat for our diets, the oil to lubricate our cars and bicycles, the blubber to make shampoo, soap, and many other products too numerous to mention (Skare 1994). However with the invention of synthetic oils and the notion of healthy living on our minds; the average American has little interaction with whale products.
This fact has constituted the main body of the anti-whaling argument, as if to say, if the Americans can live without whaling then everyone else can too. In nineteen-twenty six, the League of Nations created a subcommittee to oversee and regulate the growing whaling industry; but it was not until nineteen forty-six that a working regulatory committee was established. At the initiative of the United States, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was adopted by the League of Nations.
The ICRW called for such a working committee, and thus the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was created. ICRW was intended to safeguard and regulate whale stocks for future generations, and also to ensure the orderly development of the growing whaling industry. The only catch (pardon the pun) is that the ICWR made it possible for any country to exempt itself from the IWC’s rules by simply filing a formal protest and abstaining from voting on referendums brought up at the yearly meetings of the IWC.
To no ones surprise, after approving the ICRW, Norway immediately filed a formal complaint and abstained from every vote the IWC held; thereby exempti “But the matter of substance is, what is the point of having a scientific committee if it’s unanimous recommendations on a matter of primary importance are treated with such contempt? ” Hammond was expressing his frustration and anger with Norway for exempting themselves from the ICRW, and with the IWC for being powerless to enforce any of it’s own rulings. Norway went ahead with its plan to whale that year and took 226 whales and an additional 69 for research.
In 1993 the catch totaled 369 animals with an unknown number (either additional or included) taken for research, and the 94′ season saw 411 animals with an additional 178 for ,you guessed it, research. Norway continues to whale against the recommendations of the IWC, Greenpeace and every other organization that tracks Cetacean population levels. At the time this paper was created there were no totals for the 1995 season, but if the numbers follow the trend of the past three seasons, the catch is guaranteed to be higher than that of the 1994 season.
That could mean the deaths of over 600 minke whales. Regardless of the side one takes, it is becoming evident that some thing must be done before this problem becomes too large to handle. Possible Solutions This debate has gone on for many years and in all likelihood will go on for many more, with no end in sight some solutions must be found in order to reach some kind of settlement or compromise. Some of these solutions might include.
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