In the 2006 World Cup, today’s third game – in which Spain beat Tunisia 3-1 - marked the half-way point. 32 games played, 32 to go. You might say the preliminary sparring is over and the real battle is beginning.
Japan had a big win over the weekend. At a meeting held on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts while the rest of the world was watching football, they persuaded those well-known conservationists, Cambodia, Guatemala and the Marshall Islands to join the International Whaling Committee. Then, by offering lavish ‘aid’ packages to a number of smaller Caribbean and African countries, the Japanese were able to pass by 33 votes to 32 a vote for the resumption of whale hunting.
Now I don’t claim to be an authority on whale conservation, and do not normally get over-sentimental about consuming animal flesh, but some of the arguments of the pro-whalers have a distinct note of mendacity: such as the one that says whales eat smaller fish which, if not eaten by whales, would otherwise survive to reduce world hunger. They do not say how the poor and hungry would access the fish saved by the mass killing of whales.
I have to wonder why a country whose ships have already killed 823 whales in a year in the pursuit of ‘whale research’, is prepared to lavish even more money in persuading nations who have no whales to decriminalise their slaughter so that they can go after them in earnest. As Ishmael put it, ‘from hell’s heart I stab at thee’.
One could even have the sceptical thought that they may not have the whales’ best interests at heart.