Monday, October 23, 2006

Iceland resumes whale hunting

Defying a ban and international disapproval, Iceland resumed commercial whale hunting and killed an endangered fin whale this week.

The justification from Iceland is that minke and fin whales are abundant and they intend to pursue sustainable use of all living marine resources. This argument holds more water for minke whales which are not endangered.

World opinion is largely against Iceland, because commercial whale hunting has been banned by treaty for 20 years. Pro-whaling Japan welcomes Iceland's whale hunt.

Many factors argue against commercial whaling, including the charisma of whales, and the sad fact that some whales have not recovered from being hunted to near-extinction. In addition, whale products are no longer needed and barely wanted by anyone. But most importantly, whaling has become symbolic of reckless disregard for scientific and ethical limits to resource use.

For many people, hunting and butchering whales and selling the meat is simply wrong. It doesn't matter whether whale populations can survive the hunt.

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