Since when does empathy have to do something with money?
I explicitly stated: I do not see this issue as an economic topic least
And so you are imposing own emotional position, your belief that whales are intelligent and that killing them is barbaric and that anyone who questions your position is at best an unenlightened soul and at worst a pro-whaling shill on top of an issue that is intrinsically economic. You ask:
What is your definition of sustainability here exactly? Numbers that hover just above extinction or a percentage of the original numbers?
Sustainability in resource management has many differently worded definitions, some of which are below:
- A state or process that can be maintained indefinitely.
- The characteristic of being able to coexist with another system indefinitely, without either system being damaged
- The ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes and functions, biological diversity, and productivity over time.
- The concept of producing a biological resource under management practices that ensure replacement of the part harvested, by regrowth or reproduction, before another harvest occurs. (BC MoF Web Site Glossary)
- The use of ecosystems and their resources in a manner that satisfies current needs without compromising the needs or options of future generations.
- Sustainable development. The concept of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (from Our common future, see Brundtland Commission above). The term was originally applied to natural resource situations in a long term perspective. ...
- A goal, that aims towards preserving quality interactions with the local environment, economy and social system.
- An architectural property of a program which allows continued viability.
- To keep in existence; maintain. To supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for earth
- Economic development that takes full account of the environmental consequences of economic activity and is based on the use of resources that can be replaced or renewed and therefore are not depleted.
One thing you'll note in all those definitions is that words like "keeping at least 10%", or "hovering just above extinction" are not used. Sustainability studies and sustainable practice is about maintaining a "positive cash flow" in a resource, ensuring that the rate of removal of a resource from the existing pool does not exceed the rate of replenishment of a resource. Obviously if you are going to be trying to balance removal rate of a resource against replenishment rate of a resource, you need to actually know what the replenishment rate of the resource actually is. And that is the root question that the Japanese claim they are trying to answer with their "research whaling" activities. They claim, amongst other things, they they are estimating mortality rates within age groups, the relative importance of young vs old female whales in terms of reproductive success, the survival rate of infants. Killing random members of a population, aging them and looking at the relative proportion of the different age groups within the population is a perfectly valid method for doing this. You might not like the sound of it, but it is a method that has been used by ecologists world wide since the birth of ecology as a science.
[I'll throw in as a side bar here that while the methods being used may be valid, to date the ICR has not made huge impacts on the ecological literature. However, an oft repeated claim is that the ICR "has never published a peer-reviewed paper". This is not true.
See: Detection of heterogeneity and estimation of population characteristics from the field survey data: 1987/88 Japanese feasibility study of the southern hemisphere Minke whales. [i]Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics[/i] http://www.springerl...G1221647807.pdf
or click on this link Google Scholar for Kasamatsu (Author) in Biology
To see the output of at least one researcher from the ICR who is investigating the very question "what are the population characteristics of the southern Minke Whale population"]
If we accept that sustainable whaling, in a nut shell, means that whaling removes a number of whales low enough to allow the species to continue for the foreseeable future, and that this can be achieved via application of quotas, and we assume that we will have the wherewithal to achieve quota conformity in the whaling nations, do we then accept whaling? If not, then you're going away from the economics and science of sustainable resource harvest and going into the murkier world of public opinion and moral righteousness.
My understanding of your position, and that of many other pro-Sea Shepherd posters in this thread, is that all whaling should be stopped. That's not sustainable resource management, that's absolutism. And that puts you in a position of trying to convince others of your moral position regarding whales, ie. that they should not be exploited, sustainably or not.
On that subject, you say:
I am sure there are far more people that oppose whale hunting than that are pro hunting.
I think you may be going out on a limb there Vincent. I would agree that probably far more people within Western developed countries
oppose whaling than are pro-whaling, but I would not be so sure about the human population as a whole. As others have already observed, the majority of the world lives in a state that we would consider grinding poverty, and the fate of whales is far from their mind. I suspect that more people in the world are either pro-whaling or neutral on the issue than are anti-whaling, but I don't have any data to back that up. Equally, you don't have any data to support your position.
The thing is, if more of the world's population is pro- or neutral on whaling, then by what right do we try to tell them that their position is wrong. You can't just say "well of course our attitude is correct because we are the enlightened West", that's moral fascism. You can make the argument "if we take it all now there will be none left", but that leaves us back with the sticky problem of not really knowing how many is too many to take. Like it or not many people in the world don't share your opinion that whales are intelligent, magnificent creatures worthy of protection because of their "intrinsic value".
Getting back to Sea Shepherd, to date nobody seems to have come up with an argument suggesting that the methods currently being used are anything other than illegal. By taking this stance, Sea Shepherd is abandoning the rule of law, one of the things that allows our "enlightened" civilization to operate at a level that keeps us away from grinding poverty and able to worry about the world as a whole. I still am waiting for someone to show me that Sea Shepherd has measurably impacted whale mortality by their methods.
[edited for a minor typo]
Edited by Craig Ruaux, 19 January 2008 - 11:01 AM.