Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sea Shepherd International: 1, Japanese Whalers: 0. The Whales? Whatever…

Your Genteel Moderator must disclose his admiration, bordering on awe, for the PR prowess of environmental campaigners. Their fierce self-righteousness, unswaying conviction, and utter disregard for inconvenient truths and facts make them the best, if not always the most effective, campaigners. Add to that their studied ‘activist chic’ style sense, Gobbelsesque flair for mythology creation, and ruthlessly provocative stunstmanship, and they are a news generation and fundraising machine extraordinaire!

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is among the ‘best’ of such campaign organisations. From the renaming of one of their ships – sent to harass the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean below Australia and New Zealand – to the allegations of being shot at by the Japanese Coast Guard, to their declaration of “Mission Accomplished” at least three weeks before the whaling fleet is scheduled to leave the killing grounds, they have had a whale of a season (the Bleeding Heart is not amused by the admittedly poor pun) creating crises and manufacturing drama on the high seas. On the other hand, if their claims are true, they have also severely limited the killing of whales by Japanese ships during the Southern Ocean season.

Whaling is entirely unnecessary, is in no way justified by the tawdry fig-leaf of ‘research’ that the Japanese government seeks to hide behind, and is repugnant to even the hardest of hearts. Why, even the Bloated Plutocrat appeared somewhat teary-eyed when drafting his remarks on this topic. Why does Japan defend and promote whaling, the rounding up and slaughtering of dolphins (e.g. the annual Taji dolphin cull), and all other manner of pointlessly cruel sea mammal slaughter ? Well, it isn’t about consumer demand.

Current demand for whale meat in Japan is abysmally low. Even in a town like Ayukawa, a coastal community with a century-old whaling tradition, officials are struggling to preserve the tradition of eating whale meat by serving it in classroom lunches. Whale nuggets stewed in ketchup was on the menu on a recent Friday.” Norimitsu Onishi, IHT 13/3/07

Most analysts believe that this obstinate insistence on killing sea mammals stems from a nexus of nationalist pride and the country’s concerns about food source security. Essentially what it boils down to is that the Japanese government opposes regulation by the international community that would diminish the country’s ability to harvest the seas, while the Japanese people, who appear to favour whaling but don’t much like whale meat, just don’t like foreigners telling them what they can and cannot eat. And, for PR at its worst - of a sort not seen since tobacco company “social cost” studies - check out Japan’s “Institute for Cetacean Research” whose motto, translated from Japanese, reads something like:

We Just F^*?ing Hate Whales, okay?”

Meanwhile, Greenpeace, Oceana, Sea Shepherd, etc., can thank the Japanese for providing the kind of spectacles that keep the focus on their issues and the donations rolling in. Environmentalists clashing with “armed Japanese Coast Guardsmen” on the high seas while interdicting whalers? This is as good as it gets for the environmentalist image without serious consequences such as the death of Greenpeace photographer, Fernando Pereira. He was killed in Auckland (NZ) harbour when the French security services mined and sank the Greenpeace flagship "Rainbow Warrior" in 1985 prior to its sailing to the French held Muroroa Atoll to protest nuclear testing there.

As previously mentioned, the Bloated Plutocrat was nearly teary over the subject. “These ‘sea shepherds’ should take a bath, shave, put on some proper clothing and get jobs, instead of sky-larking around the oceans creating a risk to navigation. These youngsters are undoubtedly more highly motivated by the chance to booze it up and engage in sexual escapades with their fellow activists than they are in saving the whales. But the Japanese are being foolish. It’s one thing to tell the hippies off about all that Kyoto Treaty nonsense they allowed to be cooked up over there, but killing Flipper? Well, that’s just not cricket.”

The Bleeding Heart had to be sedated before I could elicit comments that could, in decency, be published. “Murder. Whaling is murder. We cannot sufficiently thank the likes of Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace and others who have done so much to raise awareness about the continuation of this barbaric slaughter by the Japanese. Thousands of sentient beings are being slaughtered for no other reason than the inhumane traditions of a handful of profiteering commercial fishermen in Japan. It’s on a par with genocide, I say”.

Well as the “Steve Irwin”, Sea Shepherd’s recently renamed anti-whaling ship, wends its way back to Australia, running low on fuel, and drink no doubt, Your Genteel Moderator can only express a degree of admiration for any success in diminished whale kills that they may have had, and yet again, a sense of awe at their campaigning prowess and powers of exaggeration.

1 comment:

Pondite said...

The "nugget" of this piece is clearly the use of ketchup in Japanese school lunches: if they're using ketchup to preserve Japanese culinary traditions, methinks that the horse has left the barn already...