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The Resumption of Whaling by Norway

A paper by Bryan Togias


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
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
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
circumstances" and 55% felt that "even regulated whaling must be abandoned"
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
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
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
Whaling Commission (IWC) was created.