.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Australia continues gallop towards anti-whaling irrelevancy

Australia's behaviour surrounding matters relating to whaling has made the news twice in recent days, with one story making headline news here in Japan.

Word Conservation Congress Kerfuffle

Firstly, last week the BBC via Richard Black and various Australian media reported on events at a World Conservation Congress meeting held in Barcelona.
A unique consensus between environment groups and whaling nations ... was derailed by a last-minute Australian intervention.
That interpretation from the BBC.
Australia has been accused of bungling international whaling talks and setting back a campaign to save whales.
And that from Australia's own The Australian.

The articles note criticism from (self-proclaimed) "conservation groups", and the BBC article says that an anti-whaling country representative went so far as to describe what happened as "despicable".

The fuss was apparently surrounding the wording of a resolution, which was originally to include the words, "there is inadequate scientific information to support an assertion that controlling great whale populations can increase fisheries yields", but subsequently changed by Australia to read "that the great whales play no significant role in the current crisis affecting global fisheries". The former text was set to gain consensus adoption it seems, where as the latter and final text did not.

The "conservation groups" were complaining about Australia's change as they apparently saw the original wording as a victory - something the western media that reported the story seemed to concur with.

This begs the question that if this were the case, why would pro-sustainable use nations including Japan and Norway agree to such a text in the first place?

To my mind it seems the "conservation groups" and the media that reported the story have fallen into the trap of believing their own propaganda (excluding Richard Black who tends to be able to strike a good balance, but I think he missed part of the story here).

The original statement that the whaling nations were said to be prepared to agree with is in fact nothing spectacular. While it may at first glance seem like a vague way of saying the same thing as Australia's amended version, it's actually very different.

The statement that there is "inadequate scientific information" to draw a particular conclusion regarding a suggested hypothesis doesn't imply that the conclusion is actually false. And with regards to cetaceans and fisheries this does remain an open question.

Richard Black mentions in his article that some years back that,
the IWC's scientific committee had concluded there was no way of providing reliable advice on the impacts of cetaceans on fisheries
The IWC Scientific Committee reaffirmed this in it's 2008 report (see page 56). Again, this does not imply that cetaceans do have no impact on fisheries, only that our science isn't yet as advanced in this area to be able to say much about it reliably.

So the original wording seems to be quite compatible with the positions of the pro-sustainable use nations, that interactions between cetaceans and fisheries warrant scientific research (and indeed Japan's JARPN II programme in the western-north pacific has been being conducted in recent years for this reason, and Iceland too has been running a similar programme).

Yet the "conservation groups" who are still campaigning against whaling have attacked Australia's move at Barcelona, when Australia has to my mind done exactly what would be expected of a staunch anti-whaling nation - ignore whatever the IWC Scientific Committee says and just deny outright that there is any cetacean-fisheries interaction worth taking into consideration for the sake of maintaining one's populist anti-whaling stance.

Perhaps the criticism that Australia copped for this has something to do with their failure to back up their threats with actions since the new Rudd government came to power this time last year. Or maybe their anti-whaling allies are just getting sleepy.

Anti-Whaling Envoy Appointed

The other news that came out, perhaps in response to the criticism last week, was that Australia has finally confirmed that it has appointed former Sydney Olympics chief Sandy Hollway to it's new official anti-whaling crusader position. However, Mr Hollway himself is already sounding rather pessimistic as if to soften up the Australia public:
"I wouldn't want to hold out false hope for a cessation. I think we might be past the point where the definition of success is a complete halt."
Japan already agreed to freeze plans to start sampling Antarctic humpbacks last year with respect to the delicate situation at the IWC, and given Australia's continued behaviour I can't see them winning any additional concessions without being prepared to make some themselves.

But the reason I cover the story is to talk about the response to this news in Japan. The story was posted to the "2ch" message board site's news headline section, where it subsequently racked up a few hundred (largely critical) comments within the space of a couple of hours.

Meanwhile Yahoo! also has the story here. The Yahoo! story also includes many comments in response, and the comments there can be ranked. I'll translate off the top ranked comments, to give English readers an idea:

8: 2008/10/20 10:19
1,450 points
"This coming from the country where they massacre kangaroos..."

3: 2008/10/20 10:02
1,383 points
"I want them to understand other countries' cultures, eh."

6: 2008/10/20 10:13
1,240 points
"I want them to come here once they've gone and protested English fox hunting and Spanish bull fighting. If I were to be harsh I'd say they're creating a side show."

5: 2008/10/20 10:06
784 points
"Chinese poodle Rudd goes anti-Japan because of his failed policies"

4: 2008/10/20 10:05
780 points
"Let's ban tourists from going to Australia. Japanese should stop going to Australia".

22: 2008/10/20 10:30
449 points
"I want them to say this once they've stopped massacring kangaroos.
The Australians are the only people who kangaroo babies out of their mother's pouches, grab their legs and beat them against the ground to kill them.
They are running over kangaroos with cars for real.
I think that's more terrible than killing them for food.

Until recently, Australians were treating Aborigines as if they weren't humans because they are a coloured people. Whales more than people... that's white supremacist Australia for you.
And the reason why whale numbers decreased so much in the first place was the white people were massacring heaps of them for whale oil.

And what's more why is it that they send a special envoy to Japan only. (laugh)
Why don't you send a special envoy to Northern Europe?
Is it because the Japanese are a coloured race?"

44: 2008/10/20 11:07
337 points
"They have no consideration for the eco-system,
and this looks like nothing more than "Japan bashing".
If it were just a some profit making organizations...
But that it's a nation state is just pathetic"

14: 2008/10/20 10:23
281 points
"Well then, should Japan also appoint a kangaroo massacre problem special envoy?"
50: 2008/10/20 11:17
256 points
"Although they are happy enough killing kangaroos, to take a special view of cetaceans without rational reason is just as foolish an action as it is to think that white people are superior without rational reason.
There is no reason at all for Japan to listen to what Australia has to say"
7: 2008/10/20 10:15
236 points
"Personally I wouldn't be put out if I did not eat whale,
but what is the reason for the westerners to be so insistent about this?"

18: 2008/10/20 10:26
222 points
"Hey Australians! Don't eat Aussie Beef! Cows are cute aren't they?!"

Needless to say, I personally don't agree with all of the sentiments that you see expressed in the comments I translated above, but these comments are fairly typical of what I see when reading these discussions (can you tell that hypocrisy doesn't go down well here?). Other comments voiced surprise that Australia is more worried about people killing whales than it appears to be about it's currency crashing in the financial and economic turmoil right now.

* * *

All in all, through the recent news it seems to me that Australia is determined to continue to take actions with more consideration for domestic politics than for the future of the IWC as a serious international organization, or Australia's relevancy to it or international whaling management more generally. On that note, I will note that Japanese officials have been writing interesting things with regards to the "Safety Net" initiative, which I hope to introduce more of sometime in the not to distant future.

Labels: ,

Proof once again that the miniscule and environmentally irrelevant issue of whaling is a convenient smokescreen for certain less than ethical governments.
Time for the whaling nations to leave the IWC and allow the fashionable peddlers of manufactured controversy and packaged prejudice to find themselves another pulpit.
Either we believe in the sustainable use of the earth's resources or we don't.
This dog is done!
While I'm not anti-whaling and generally for sustainable use (unless it really threatens species), the type of comments by Japanese you show here, David, shows nothing more than nationalistic, overreacted, completely unintelligent sentiments.

Just look at the race argument and 'keep Japanese out of Australia'.

I hope it's just the internet, where people usually take to the extremes what they really think or want to say. Otherwise... I was of better opinion about Japanese people.
What part of the comments did you think were nationalistic?
Completely unintelligent?

The comment about Japanese people being banned from going to Australia seems to be a parallel with the nonsense heard from Australian about boycotting Japanese products.

The impression I get from the comments is that some Japanese people think racism has something to do with their anti-whaling stuff.

The comments also illustrate Australian double standards.
Much bad blood has flowed on both sides. Personally methinks it's good if we could get an agreement on whaling.

The only way is facts and not untruths.

" Where the art finishes the violence takes over" - A Swedish saying.

As it is now pride rules in whaling nations and fundraising among NGOs.

It is astonishing what a masse of never unheard species there exist in the world. might be good to take a look at them as well....
Whale Stew

1 (105 ton) Whale
1896 lbs Onions
7326 lbs Potatoes
1908 gallons Tomato Sauce
2276 lbs Carrots
927 lbs Celery
104 lbs Salt
76 lbs Black Pepper
52 gallons Tabasco Sauce


Place whale in pot with tomato sauce. Cook at 300 degrees for 4 hours. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Simmer 36 hours. Serves 347,161 people.


Animal abuse on Animal Planet:

Post a Comment

<< Home


June 2004   July 2004   August 2004   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   January 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   January 2010   February 2010   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   February 2011   March 2011   May 2013   June 2013  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?