Reply to Icelandic Ambassador's Disingenuous Defence of Whale Killing
To: His Excellency Helgi Ágústsson Ambassador of Iceland to the United States
Subject: Iceland's resumption of the killing of whales
Many thanks for responding in your letter dated November 7th to the concerns of thousands of people worldwide on the decision of your government to ignore world opinion and to unilaterally embark on a campaign of whale killing.
There is no doubt that Iceland has an excellent reputation for marine conservation and sustainable fishing. As someone who lived in Iceland for a number of years, I saw and appreciated this at first hand. Sadly your decision to resume the killing of whales will greatly undermine your previous successes in this area as well as your nation's image on the international stage. This decision in one fell swoop undermines the increased efforts of many states to protect biodiversity that has been brought about by the growing numbers of individual citizens and institutions who are becoming aware of the massive damage that mankind has inflicted on the plant and the realisation that, if it is controlled immediately, it will lead ultimately to the destruction of our own species.
I fundamentally disagree with you on the content and theme of your letter which, in my view , fails to provide justification for Iceland's present stance on whale killing.
So in reply to your comments, I would like to state the following:
1. It is quite disingenuous of you in your letter to list without explanation the United States, Russia and Greenland in your list of whaling countries. None of these countries undertake large scale whaling. Rather whaling is carried out by native peoples in traditional communities for reasons of local consumption.
2. As surveys have shown, there is no demand amongst the Icelandic people for whale meat.
3. Your marine-orientated economy does not need the resumption of whale killing to continue its growth.
4. The whale is one of the most beautiful and awesome creatures on the planet. Why kill such a majestic animal? Unlike the native peoples of Alaska and Greenland, Icelanders don't need its food or blubber to survive.
6. While the world is suffering from a massive loss of wildlife, your government decides to initiate a campaign of killing one of the world's largest animals. What signal does this give to the increased numbers of peoples and governments worldwide who are facing up to the challenge of protecting biodiversity?
7. In justifying the resumption of whale killing, you list your country's long established concerns/actions on marine conservation and its sustainable management of marine resources as proof that no harm will come to the survival of the whale.
This again is disingenuous as Iceland's decision to resume whale killing will give the 'green light' to many other countries to follow suit which will seriously impact negatively whale populations worldwide. You have unlocked 'Pandora's Box'.
8. Finally, the increase in membership of the IWC over the last few years is grounds for pessimism for the majority of organisation's long-time members. These new members are almost all countries without whaling or even deep sea fishing traditions who were encouraged to join by Japan the leading exponent of the return to large scale whale killing. Political actions for the benefit of short term gains by countries such as Japan, Norway and Iceland are putting all our lives at risk in the long term.