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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Denmark's Aboriginal Whaling

Denmark's bid for an increase in it's Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW) lures the IWC into setting a very dangerous precedent. The Dane's produced and made a last minute submission to the IWC technical committee giving them insufficient time to fairly assess it.

Humpback Breaching

A similar submission for the increase in quota was rejected the previous year.

Denmark's submitted documents [IWC61/11rev] Greenland Catch Limits and [IWC61/12] Background Information.

The need for Greenland's ASW in the Dane's own words is a special mix between commercial and aboriginal requirements. There are plans to sell the products locally whilst exchanging hunting and fishing tales - attempting to demonstrate the social aspects of whaling.

Further the document explains that its towns and settlements are so remote that whaling provides necessary access to food. In the same document however, they seem to be able to visit markets and even supermarkets in order to trade in the whale meat they obtain. For me this raises the question that if they have access to such markets and places of commerce "How does the hunt qualify as being aboriginal?"

The whalers already have agreed quotas for Minke and Fin whales. Now the expansion into the Humpback is requested. If accepted the lines for control are so blurred that a whole raft of controversy will no doubt flow through.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Humane Society International and the Animal Welfare Institute have stated there are concerns in regard to the proposal and that it:
  • is based on insufficient, contradictory and unvalidated data
  • would blur the distinctions between commercial and aboriginal subsistence whaling
  • provides no convincing needs statement
  • lacks a key component to assign quotas based on subsistence needs
I confess to being a little more sympathetic or perhaps conflicted about the aboriginal hunt, but the truth of it begs the question - Where do the hunters obtain their hunting tools? Many other similar questions spring to mind about if they can afford ammunition and have transport to obtain it, then the hunt becomes less than aboriginal.

The aboriginal hunt definitely becomes commercial at the point where a profit is made. And that's what we're talking about here. The profit may not be financial, it may only be barter beads for all that matters, but that demonstrates that the whale is not required to sustain the community - the profit from selling or trading the meat is!
COMMERCE - The exchange of commodities for commodities. Considered in a legal point of view, it consists in the various agreements which have for their object to facilitate the exchange of the products of the earth or industry of man, with an intent to realize a profit.

In a narrower sense, commerce signifies any reciprocal agreements between two persons by which one delivers to the other a thing, which the latter accepts and for which he pays a consideration. If the consideration be money, it is called a sale; if any other thing than money, it is called exchange or barter.
The definition of commerce is not concerned about finance, it's about the consideration made for the exchange. There is no way to demonstrate that the exchange is profitable or not, there is no need. Sale, exchange or barter it is simply defined as commerce, and therefore the whaling must be considered commercial.


Unknown said...

Sign the petition to ask the EU to reject Denmark's request.

Unknown said...

Ask the USA to reject Denmark's request.

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