Thursday, June 7, 2012

IWC: Break Out The Beach Towels!

Thar she blows!
At the end of this month, Panama hosts the International Whaling Commission's AGM: a tired irritable perpetually-deadlocked ritual.
It's been two and a half decades since Japan was forced to abandon commercial whaling by a 1986 IWC moratorium, but still it continues. Japan hunts for "research": its scientists have yet to conclude whether whale meat tastes better with soy sauce or ginger. But most of the meat ends up in supermarkets, restaurants and on the nation's growing stockpile of unwanted whale kebabs. Revenue funds more research to raise more revenue to fund more research...
The anti-whaling camp demands an end to the killing on humane and conservationist grounds, but neither side can score a victory KO. Rhetoric, grand-standing, walk-outs and vote-buying have replaced debate and compromise...and the killing continues.
NZ Foreign Minister Muddling McCully recently voiced hope that Japan will find a way to compromise: "I'm hopeful that at some point in the next year or two, there will be an opportunity provided by political windows for us to re-engage constructively. I just hope we'll get at some point into a space where they regard themselves as able to make the movements that're required." (WTF??!!)
Norway and Iceland also defy the moratorium, but hunt close to their shores. McCully says NZ is not focused on Japan's in-shore whaling, but insists it end its hunts in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. "I'm hopeful that Japan will at some stage come to an understanding that this is just not a practice that NZers are prepared to accept within our region." McCully hopes Japan eventually finds an economic argument against whaling, as it will need to invest in a new mother ship and other infrastructure soon.
World opinion is firmly against whaling on moral grounds, but after nearly three decades of dodging the issue, the IWC has not grasped this, the very heart of the issue. This anti-whaling position should be reflected in a binding global treaty without "scientific" loopholes, under the International Court of Law - something with teeth. It's the very least that whales deserve, not the wheelin'-and-dealin' of the IWC back-room boys on a junket to sunny Panama.
And in the meantime, on behalf of our highly effective government, McCully continues to hope...yeup, highly effective.

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