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Saturday, July 27, 2002

Mad Cow Online Petition

Test Cows Now! Question: How much do you really know about Mad Cow Disease and its state in the world today? Do you know what is being done about it (or not done as the case may be)?

If you eat industry-raised meat from America and the E.U. you may not want to know!

But you should get informed. The page above is enlisting people in an online petition to let governmental officials know that the public is aware of the threats posed by Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease and wants steps taken to begin to combat it.

Sadly, this does not look like a problem that can be wished away or denied. Every day that we do so encourages the spread of what might just be the largest epidemic you know nothing about...

Posted by Richard
7/27/2002 07:09:16 PM | PermaLink

Reuters Spreading Dangerous CWD Misinformation

What's going on with the usually dependable Reuters? The other day I caught them propagandizing for big lumber. Now, Mad Cow expert John Stauber exposes that they are misinforming on well known Chronic Wasting Disease information...

Posted by Richard
7/27/2002 06:57:11 PM | PermaLink

No Surprise This Time: It's Gonna Be October

Numerous pundits and journalists have been documenting that it appears that the Bush administration, in a desperate attempt to turn the tide on the bad press that has come its way concerning the dubious corporate dealings of Bush/Cheney and their stalled and failed domestic agenda, will beseige and invade Iraq.

Expert Bush critic, Douglas Kellner, has been posting a lot about this on his BlogLeft.

The last time Bush, sr. engaged Iraq in war one of the most devastating environmental disasters the Earth has ever known was jointly created by the US and Iraq: the Persian Gulf oil fires and spills. This is covered in depth in Kellner's excellent book on the Persian Gulf TV War, available freely on his website, at: http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/kellner.html.

For a brief summation on some of the environmentally catastrophic effects of recent wars, see the second half of my paper Making Holes, Not Wholes: Patriotic War Propaganda in Relation to Global Mass Extinction.

Posted by Richard
7/27/2002 06:51:53 PM | PermaLink

 
Friday, July 26, 2002

How to Make Your Property Wildlife Friendly

While environmental headlines make much of the rift between property rights advocates and conservationists, a growing number of landowners around the United States are working to make their backyards more attractive to wildlife, benefiting both the human and animal worlds.

However large or small, any backyard or garden space can be made more friendly to wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has been encouraging the creation of wildlife-friendly private property since 1973, when it launched its hallmark Backyard Wildlife Habitat certification program. To date, the program has certified more than 30,000 private property owners across the United States.

BECOME A DETECTIVE

The first step is to identify the habitat that's already there, or which used to exist, and then expand from there. Because exotic species are ubiquitous in North American gardens, you almost have to become a detective to learn which plants in your yard — if any! — are native to the area.

Beyond that, does your yard provide good wildlife habitat? All species have four basic requirements for survival: food, water, cover and places to raise young. By making sure these four basic elements are satisfied, anyone can transform a sterile backyard into a thriving wildlife habitat.

Cutting down and removing dead or dying trees may be a temptation, but woodpeckers depend on them, as do cavity-nesting birds from owls and bluebirds to chickadees. Rotting logpiles can be an eyesore, but they are also excellent habitat for small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Mulch piles, rocks and logs can serve as nesting sites for small mammals such as rabbits, mice and shrews, and for reptiles, too. Evergreens and shrubs — including junipers and hollies — offer protection.

Wildlife is also attracted to water, and if your yard doesn't provide it in the form of a pond or stream, consider adding a birdbath or a recirculating fountain. Keep your fountain from freezing in winter with a thermostatically controlled heater.

Native perennials and annuals — besides needing very little maintenance — are a natural smorgasbord for birds, small mammals and butterflies, providing fruits, seeds, nuts and nectar. Sunflower, niger (which is a grain like wild rice), safflower and millet are popular attractors. Nectar feeders will also attract hummingbirds. [Read more]

By Roddy Scheer, E/The Environmental Magazine

Posted by Richard
7/26/2002 09:09:00 AM | PermaLink

No More Chloroform, No More Pig Hearts Being Winged Around the 8th Grade Science Room...

Interesting post from Full Bleed the other day on a way to use the Internet's virtual abilities to humanely spare classroom animals from being dissected. Really amazing and progressive use of the Internet: I knew it had to be possible!

For more on the Humane Education movement, see and subscribe to this Yahoo group.

Posted by Richard
7/26/2002 06:49:11 AM | PermaLink

Super Bowl Funds Putting Pressure on Jeb Putting Pressure on US FWS Putting Pressure on Manatees?

There was an article in the July 15th USA Today, a summation of which is covered here in the Florida Sportsman.com website, that documented how rules by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service governing water development around manatees were preventing Jacksonville, FL from building the necessary infrastructure to host the 2005 game.

Super Bowls are big money makers for any city's economy, as well as good for overall tourism and state image, and so for a tourist state like Florida and for one of its fastest growing cities like Jacksonville, hosting the Super Bowl is just shy of what the Olympics meant to Salt Lake City.

How interesting then that I came across the following article yesterday: Federal Agency Backs Off Deal to Protect Manatees

The article's author, Craig Pittman of the St. Petersburg Times, reports that 19 months ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trumpeted a legal settlement that would protect manatees by limiting waterfront development and boating speeds throughout Florida, but now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service argues that the settlement it reached with environmental groups was illegal.

The article goes on to describe how the US FWS points to Gov. Jeb Bush as a key player in asking the agency to stall its own conservation strategies around the manatee, and notes how the agency's recent double-talk appears to have all the ear-markings of pressure from Washington.

What the article doesn't mention is the reason why Jeb may have phoned up George on this one: the Super Bowl. Besides meaning big money, this also means big political clout for brother Jeb in a time when he appears to need it badly (he actually may lose to Janet Reno!).

But whatever the reason, the legal wranglings of the US FWS are so unbelievable and corrupt in this matter as to be shameful. It has taken years to finally get one of the world's most gentle and misunderstood animals the protection it deserves. During this same time it has lost a large part of its natural habitat to tourist development and boating canals, as everthing from speed boats to fishing lines have callously decimated the manatee population to the point of extinction. Now, that the manatees' rightful protections are finally in order, the money behind big governmental policy appears to have finally realized that preserving the manatee from extinction means losing viable economic sectors and capital growth -- and it wants the laws undone.

This is your United States Fish & Wildlife Service ladies and gentlemen. Apparently, sharks and manatees just don't get along...

Posted by Richard
7/26/2002 06:27:43 AM | PermaLink

Shell Oil Going Green?

In the latest round of multinationals seeking to get in on "sustainability" as a good PR marketing ploy, Shell is "shelling out" $3.5 million to Rice University in (uh) Texas.

Now, Shell did meet its general Kyoto emissions limit by downing its emissions by 11% over 1990 in the year 2000. But this is the same company that is also deeply complicit in the atrocities against local peoples and communities in Nigeria. The Movement for the Ogoni People (MOSOP) successfully shut Shell down for its unsavory practices in the region in 1993, but then the military dictatorship (which was bought and brought to power by oil powers such as Shell to protect its interests) responded with a campaign of terror that ended with the infamous execution of MOSOP's Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others.

Since that time Nigeria ranks as one of the globe's most forest-ravaged nations and The Worldwatch Institute has noted that oil companies (like Shell) continue to evade Nigeria's environmental laws and policies and have failed to pay damages to the local communities that have suffered on the Nigerian delta due to unsustainable drilling there. Again, in 1999, Shell undertook another major review of its policies concerning the Niger Delta communities but so far Shell's actual performance only points to a change in rhetoric.

Posted by Richard
7/26/2002 03:03:49 AM | PermaLink

 
Thursday, July 25, 2002

Letter From Thom Bonnicksen to George W. Bush (Save Them, Log Them)

In an extremely telling letter that exposes what the right means by "management" -- logging and logging only (not controlled blazes) -- Bonnicksen shows his desire to get at the national forests:
The best hope for America's forests rests on learning from the past and ensuring that professional foresters have the authority and freedom from unreasonable oversight they need to apply what they know. The deterioration of our national forests demonstrates that active management is essential. Prescribed fires can be used in some cases, but high costs, safety concerns, and air pollution restrictions will probably prevent widespread and frequent burning. Science-based timber harvesting is the safest and most effective tool for managing forests. It can be used with near surgical precision, and it has the added advantage of creating jobs, producing wood, and generating revenue to pay for management.

I sincerely hope that when you become President you will call upon my forestry colleagues and me to help you stop the forest wars, bring peace and prosperity to forest-dependent communities, and restore health and diversity to our forests. The best place to start is in our national forests. It can be done and we know how to do it. We need a President who will champion both our forests and our people. Time is short. You may be the last President with a chance to succeed. I hope you will accept the challenge.
This letter is housed at the website for the American Pulpwood Association.

Posted by Richard
7/25/2002 10:01:08 AM | PermaLink

USA Farm Secretary Goes to Japan and Lies about Mad Cow Disease in USA

Tokyo -- Cooking beef and zucchini with Japanese schoolchildren, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman tried Thursday to dispel fears about an outbreak of mad cow disease that has driven Japanese consumers away from beef.

Joining children in aprons reading "American Beef. High Quality," Veneman, here for a major agriculture summit, stressed that U.S. beef hasn't been tainted by the disease.

"Look at all this good food," she said before asking for a pair of chopsticks and digging into a bowl of marinated U.S. beef to make meat and vegetable wraps in aluminum foil.

American beef, a mainstay of U.S. food exports to Japan, has been hit by last autumn's Japanese outbreak of mad cow disease. U.S. beef accounted for 31 percent of the Japanese market last year, but has seen its exports fall nearly 40 percent this year.

By Hans Greimel, Associated Press Writer

Posted by Richard
7/25/2002 09:30:47 AM | PermaLink

UNEP's Findings Concerning Cleaner Production

Proceedings of UNEP's 7th International High-Level Seminar on Cleaner Production, held in Prague in May 2002, are now on line at
http://www.uneptie.org/pc/cp7/.

The basic overall finding -- despite reasons for hope since 1992's Rio Summit and some specific gains and advances in how to make the industrial world sustainable producers, the last decade has seen the consumption of both resources and good and services by the G-8 (and related) nations at a rate far surpassing emerging counter-active measures. Growing the world's largest economies has not only offset any gains made towards making capital processes more sustainable, but it has also continued to undermine global ecological health in a dangerous fashion.

In other words, when G-8 corporate and governmental leaders talk "sustainability" they're either paying lip service to the issue in the attempt to deflect attention or they've so co-opted the term as to mean the exact opposite of what sustainability theorists initially proposed.

Posted by Richard
7/25/2002 09:13:31 AM | PermaLink

Viviculture

Here's a nice, unpretentious blog that seems to aspire to be a naturalist's diary -- anyone that has read Thoreau's journals will note a common desire:
What is viviculture?

vi · vi · cul · ture (n) - [vivi : life + culture : an integrated pattern of knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon our capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations] 1. the practice of caring for, improving or promoting the development of life 2. an appreciation, respect and reverence for life

Viviculture is an approach to life - to living. What it means is very much a work in progress. I don't pretend to do everything I talk about on this site all the time. They are goals, and some days I do much better than others. Over time I just hope to get closer.

So what does viviculture really mean, in practice?

It means becoming conscious of the many small decisions we make every day, and to try to decide in a way that supports and enhances the life of those around us.

For me, it means giving up meat, and using a manual lawnmower, even though my neighbors think I'm a little loopy. It means gardening with native plants, without pesticides, and learning to appreciate the deer's occasional "trimming" of everything I plant. It means buying locally-grown, organic produce as much as I can.


Posted by Richard
7/25/2002 08:57:39 AM | PermaLink

 
Wednesday, July 24, 2002

As I Suspected (Sequoias Cont.)

Sure enough, the first article that I clicked through on the sequoia wildfire had the media playing their usual puppet for the "management" propagandists:

This is the conclusion to a new Reuters piece, "Woman Arrested in California Wildfire":
Young said the build-up of underbrush that fueled the fire and allowed it to travel 18 miles in its first 72 hours "is the worst we have seen in 100 years."

Thomas Bonnicksen, a forest science professor at Texas A&M University and a national sequoia expert, said mammoth fires that have burned nearly four million acres this year in Western states should sound a warning to environmentalists whose opposition to forest management have allowed the undergrowth to proliferate.

"My only hope is that this threat to a national treasure will make people understand that the forests have to be managed," Bonnicksen said. "The sequoia is one of the most durable trees in the world, but it cannot resist this kind of fire -- it's too hot."

What the piece never tells you is that while Prof. Bonnicksen is certainly a forestry expert (and I'll take him at his word: a lover of forests), he is the spitting image of the highly politicized ideologue that is in bed with and entirely complicit with big-logging practices and right-wing forestry officials.

Importantly, the Reuters story fails to mention that Thom Bonnicksen was the primary conceptual force behind the drafting and creation of The National Historic Forests Act of 2001 (HR 2119), legislation that grassroots forests groups and ecologists summarily decried as a HORRIBLE attempt to pass further logging opportunities off as forest preservation.

Jeers to the oft-reliable Reuters for not doing its homework and (at least) presenting both sides of this hot political issue...

Posted by Richard
7/24/2002 05:51:16 PM | PermaLink

Giant Sequoias Threatened

This is truly sad. One of the hopes involved in this story is that a lot of this may simply be right-wing media hype to get public support for their ideas about "forest management" (i.e. logging). It makes for good copy to say things like, "See, first Colorado and Arizona, now your most precious giant trees -- let us log (er, manage) like we wanted to and this never would have happened."

As I've said before, this is of course patentedly false. But I won't get into the specifics again now...

Big trees are generally not the victims of wildfires, though I have read a number of accounts from forestry officials who have all seen very large trees go up in smoke quite efficiently. Still, the sequoias (with many that are over 1000 and 2000 years old) have been made so as to withstand a long history of blazes. My hopes remain high that the damage will not be great to these giants.

On the other hand, the sequoias have never before in their millenia of existence faced such a precarious moment as they do now. Never before have they overlooked a landscape parched by the sustained drought of global heating. Never before have they existed within the structural confines of protective measures like those practiced by the US Forestry Service over the last decades that have weakened the forests and opened up windows of opportunity for damaging fires.

If even one sequoia is lost this is a tragedy that people should be upset about. If a whole grove is incinerated, the US will have suffered a historical loss like that of the Afghani people's ancient buddhas, exploded at the hands of the Taliban. The Taliban were correctly villanized for such obscene behavior. In this case, one can only hope that the US people will not be so easily misled as to point the finger (along with government leaders and logging industry CEOs) at the environmental groups whose sole existence is to popularize and protect natural wonders like the giant sequoias.

No, when these trees burn there is only one more yellow ribbon to tie around George W.'s neck. His denial of the industrial destruction of the environment and systemic heating of the Earth may not be the direct cause of these deadly wildfires -- that is, the problems that he denies didn't begin with him. However, to paraphrase our own leader's language on another wildfire (the one burning through the economic sector) -- "Leaders have their positions of power because they must be the one's to take responsibility for the problems that their organizations create."

A great many people (including perhaps you and me in our daily consumption practices?) are contributing to what amounts to an ecological epidemic. We should all feel responsible. In the face of an improbable mass judgment, however, we can begin by considering the exchange of one great tree powerless to affect change for one small man with all the power in the world to set things right.

Posted by Richard
7/24/2002 02:25:07 PM | PermaLink

Japanese Ice Creams

Make sure to click through them all -- some real winners at the end. My personal favorite for most disgusting ice cream idea? Hands down: Chicken Wing Ice Cream!

Such culinary confections make me wonder if I shouldn't change my slogan to:
Don't GO mad, Get Vegan!

Posted by Richard
7/24/2002 02:02:11 PM | PermaLink

Forest Service Memo Draws Fire

For a website documenting and attempting to organize and combat the logging of old growth forest in the Northwest see the Gifford Pinchot Task Force. Tree sits continue in other old-growth areas in No. California and Portland -- this from Indymedia:
New tree-sit goes up in Rogue River National Forest

Mattole struggle continues, treesits ongoing in Humboldt


----------------------------
Washington -- Environmental groups on Wednesday criticized a U.S. Forest Service proposal that could allow harvesting of old growth timber in the Northwest.

A memo from Northwest forest managers recommends that the Bush administration change the Northwest Forest Plan to ``maximize volume'' of timber cut from public lands.

The memo also outlines a three-year timetable to boost timber production from the region while streamlining regulations.

But environmentalists say the memo shows the administration wants to dramatically increase the number of old growth trees that are logged.

``When they talk about streamlining the Northwest Forest Plan to make it work more efficiently, basically what they are talking about is increasing the amount of mature and old growth logging that's going on,'' said James Johnston of the Cascadia Wildlands Project in Eugene.

``It's obvious these are marching orders coming down from the timber industry via the Bush administration,'' Johnston said.

The memo, titled ``Fixes to the Northwest Forest Plan,'' was written by regional executives of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, which manage most of the publicly owned timberland. Drafted this spring, it has not been released to the public.

Mark Rey, the undersecretary of agriculture who oversees the Forest Service, said Wednesday the purpose of the memo was to identify ways to boost timber production to levels recommended when the forest plan was adopted by the Clinton administration in 1994.

Rey said some ideas have been discarded as unworkable but he declined to cite which still were being considered, saying he didn't want to disrupt talks between agencies.

Rey also said he hopes the timber industry and environmentalists can agree on some issues even though the memo's recommendations are expected to invite controversy.

Environmentalists criticized a recommendation to ``maximize volume of planned matrix harvest,'' referring to timberlands that include about 1 million acres of old growth, which conservation groups want to protect from logging.

``This is really going to fan the flames of the logging battles of years gone by,'' said Doug Heiken, acting conservation director of the Oregon Natural Resources Council in Eugene.

``We don't want to see that again. We want to see a solution,'' Heiken said.

The Forest Service could achieve its objectives by focusing on restoration and thinning, but so far has ignored that option, Heiken said.

The memo also proposes amending ``survey and manage'' requirements to protect hundreds of species in forests.

The memo was written by Harv Forsgren, Northwest regional forester for the Forest Service, and Elaine Zielinski, Oregon and Washington director for the Bureau of Land Management, both based in Portland.

Rey said the administration can make the changes without direction from Congress, but most changes would require agencies to solicit public comment.

The memo also suggests:
Creating a working group of government lawyers to share strategies to defend against lawsuits.

Working with Congress and the White House budget office to secure money to accelerate forest-thinning programs.

Amending the forest plan's Aquatic Conservation Strategy, which limits logging near where endangered fish migrate and spawn.

by By Matthew Daly, The Associated Press

Posted by Richard
7/24/2002 01:08:11 AM | PermaLink

 
Tuesday, July 23, 2002

We're All Animals Here by David Suzuki

The sign in the shopping mall said, "No animals allowed." As I read it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It reflected a failure to admit or acknowledge our biological nature. We are animals and have a taxonomic classification: Kingdom, Animalia; Phylum, Chordata; Class, Mammilia; Order, Primates; Family, Hominidae; Genus, Homo; Species, sapiens.

Our reluctance to acknowledge our animal nature is indicated in our attitude toward other animals. If we call someone a worm, snake, pig, chicken, mule or ape, it is an insult. Indeed, to accuse someone of being a "wild animal" at a party is an insult.

As more and more people live in the human-created environments of cities, our connection with nature and our biological needs become less apparent. It is easy then to believe the illusion that our way of life is made possible by the economy. Indeed, I've often been told, "We can't afford to protect the environment if the economy isn't strong and growing."

Our food reflects our separation from nature. We want it free of blemishes, polished with waxes, or color-enhanced with dyes. I well remember when I was a boy, in the fall my mother would sit with a basket of apples, cutting out the larvae before cooking the fruit. We didn't mind sharing the fruit with another species then, but today we find that intolerable and we drench our food with fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. We attempt to eliminate all traces of blood, fur, feathers or scales in our food. The ultimate achievement is processed foods that bear little indication of the biological origin of their contents.

Yet check out the label on a can of mushroom soup — mushrooms, corn starch, vegetable oil, buttermilk, cream, wheat flour, whey protein, spice, yeast extract, garlic — a lot of other species make up the contents of that can. Every university student should know the biological content of Kraft dinner — macaroni, whey, cheddar cheese, butter, buttermilk, enzymes, food starch. Every bit of the food that we consume for our nutrition was once alive. Indeed, botanist Margaret Crouch says our relationship with food is the most intimate relationship we have with another being. Not only do we take it into our mouths, we pull it apart and incorporate the molecules into our own bodies.

Where does air come from? From the moment we leave our mother's body at birth to our last gasp on our deathbed, we need air every minute. And that air that is so vital to our survival and well-being isn't something made by human ingenuity; it is created and maintained by the web of green things on this planet.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, water is filtered by old-growth rainforests lining the sides of three watersheds. Their roots, soil fungi and microorganisms all filter out material, and the region can boast of some of the best water in the world.

Our food grows in soil that is created by life. Before life on earth evolved, there was no soil — only dust, clay, sand, silt and gravel. To get the soil in which we grow our food, we need countless generations of life forms to grow and die and release their molecules to the surrounding matrix. And to this day, it is not industry that creates soil, it is the life forms in the soil. All life on earth needs energy to grow, move and reproduce, and for all animals, that means sunlight that is captured by plants through photosynthesis.

My point is that when we become estranged from the natural world, we forget our own biological nature and our dependence on a rich, diverse community of life forms all around the planet. So the next time you encounter a “no animals allowed” sign, ask the proprietor how he or she will make a living — because as an animal, you're not allowed.

Posted by Richard
7/23/2002 08:23:05 AM | PermaLink

Debate Over Whether to Defend Animal Tests

Columbus, Ohio — There are no more cats in cages in the basement animal experiment rooms at the Ohio State University veterinary hospital here, but the angry letters still pour in. From Swarthmore, Pa.: "Cat torture." From West Palm Beach, Fla.: "Cat killer." From Austin, Tex.: "Despicable torture and murder."

The letters are intended for a veterinarian named Michael Podell and his government-backed research. To study why drug abusers seem to succumb more quickly to AIDS, Dr. Podell infected cats with the feline AIDS virus, gave them methamphetamines and put them to death, making a target of himself and Ohio State.

Protesters picketed the university, spray-painted the president's house and glued the locks on the administration building doors. Dr. Podell received nearly a dozen death threats.

So at 44, with a wife and two children, Dr. Podell is walking away from his academic career. Next month, he will join a private veterinary practice in a state he prefers not to name. He will leave behind his tenured job and the unfinished cat experiments, which were financed by a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

"I had to make a decision about what was best for my family," he said one recent afternoon, a day after performing emergency brain surgery on his own dog, a Labrador named Hannah. "Staying was not the right thing."

Dr. Podell's departure, viewed as a loss by scientists and as a victory by the animal protection movement, provides a glimpse into how universities wrestle with the delicate issue of animal experiments. For years, most academic institutions have maintained a kind of uneasy silence about the work, fearful of attracting the attention of groups that have vandalized laboratories or harassed scientists. The Podell case has generated an intense debate about whether silence is the correct course. [Read more]

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, NY Times

Posted by Richard
7/23/2002 08:20:29 AM | PermaLink

Whale Meat on Sale at Icelandic Supermarket Chain

Watch for the way in which the bureaucracies of government speak about whales (and other beings) with the language of "resources" -- e.g. "significant stock levels," "harvesting," etc. This is not the language of ethics. This is not the language of respect or rights. This is certainly not the language of equality. It is the language of brutal patriarchy, however.
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Reykjavik, Iceland - Whale meat went on sale at Icelandic supermarkets Monday for the first time in nearly 14 years, as the government said it was just a matter of time before Iceland resumes commercial whaling.  The meat on sale at Noatun, which has 15 stores in southwest Iceland, is part of an initial eight-ton shipment of minke whale imported under a special agreement from Norway.

Iceland's supplies of whale meat all but ran out in 1989, three years after an international moratorium on commercial whaling. Since then, consumers have only occasionally been able to buy the rich, red meat in small stores, when whales are accidentally caught in fishing nets. It has also been available at a bistro in Reykjavik, which still has freeze dried and vacuum sealed stores left from 1986.

The Icelandic government, which wants to resume whaling, said the sale of the imported meat was a step in the right direction.  Iceland's government has argued in the past that the stocks of minke and fin whales in Iceland's coastal waters are robust enough to permit the resumption of whaling.

The International Whaling Commission banned all commercial whaling in 1986 to protect some types of whales that were threatened by over-hunting.  Iceland, which is a traditional whaling nation, quit the IWC in a dispute over the hunting ban 10 years ago and when it tried to rejoin last year, saying it could best influence the whaling debate from within the organization, it was only granted observer status.

Norway ignored protests and resumed its commercial whale hunts in 1993, after a six-year break. However, the government imposed a total ban on exports of whale products because it feared an international backlash.  In January 2001, the government said it was lifting that voluntary ban in what it called a step toward normalizing the whaling industry.  The shipment of whale meat and blubber to Iceland last week was its first since 1988. 

A recent poll revealed that a majority of Icelanders are in favor of resuming commercial whaling, despite international protests and possible effects on its burgeoning eco-tourism industry.  A World Wide Fund for Nature report estimated that the number of whale-watching passengers in Iceland jumped from 100 in 1990 to 44,000 in 2000.

In February this year, Arni Mathiesen, Minister of Fisheries, announced in the Althing (the Icelandic parliament) that 60 million kronur (US$600,000) will be spent over the next two years to promote the Icelandic viewpoint on whaling.

Noatun said that many customers had asked for whale meat in the past.

By Richard Middleton, The Associated Press


Posted by Richard
7/23/2002 08:15:49 AM | PermaLink

Green Party News

Tasmanian Logging Yields World Record Green Vote
By Bob Burton

Canberra, Australia - Environmentalists are celebrating the election of four members of the Tasmanian Greens to state parliament in the election held on Saturday. They view the victory as an important milestone in the campaign to protect old growth and wilderness forests.

For full text and graphics visit:
http://ens-news.com/ens/jul2002/2002-07-22-03.asp

-----------------------------

No Blood For Oil Stop the War Against Iraq

Green Party USA spokesperson Mitchel Cohen charged today that George Bush's warmongering threats make him a far greater danger to world peace than Saddam Hussein. "I'm no Saddam hugger, but if we want someone to step down from office, Cohen said, the world would benefit if George W. Bush would do so."

The Green Party USA blasted Junior Bush's administration for escalating the oil-pipeline global domination policies of Papa Bush as well as the Democrats, and denounced government plans for an all-out bombardment of Iraq. "The Green Party USA condemns this brazen act of lawlessness on the part of the US government which is in clear violation of the UN Charter and International Law," Cohen charged.

Cohen announced that the Green Party USA has endorsed the call for nonviolent antiwar activities across the country on September 11th initiated by the California-based organization Global Exchange, and its spokesperson Medea Benjamin.

Green Party USA representative from Maine, Nancy Oden, added: "The Green Party wants Iraqis and other people throughout the world to know that there are millions of Americans who oppose the war crimes being planned by the White House. Silence is complicity. It is time for all of us to Speak Out against the coming massacre, stop Bush's endless war, and prevent the Bush administration from using the Bill of Rights as a rag to wipe their shoes."

Oden was one of the first to expose the new apparatus of repression when she found herself to be an early target of the government last November, as she attempted to board a plane to Chicago where she was scheduled to address a Green Party USA board meeting. I was told my name had been flagged in the computer, she said, and military personnel escorted her away from the plane. Since that time, hundreds of people have been unconstitutionally detained at airports, Oden said. The attacks on civil liberties are part and parcel of the war buildup.

Oden pointed out that the Iraqi people are being threatened again by the biggest and only military superpower in the world. The US is spending as much on its military than all the other countries in world combined. It has more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of world and is the only country to have ever launched a nuclear first strike - August 6th, 1945 -- against the people of Hiroshima and, a few days later, Nagasaki. It has recently carried out devastating bombings of Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan using "depleted Uranium," a deadly poison that carries a high risk of genetic malformations and cancer.

During the 1991 Gulf War, the US dropped more than 88,000 tons of explosives in a 42-day period, killing more than 200,000 Iraqis. Economic Sanctions imposed on Iraq since August 1990 and continuing to this day have taken the lives of a million civilians -- mainly children under the age of five. Sanctions have proven to be weapon of mass destruction, Oden said, and the Green Party USA is organizing to stop this war.

Posted by Richard
7/23/2002 08:09:06 AM | PermaLink

 
Monday, July 22, 2002

California Takes Lead on Auto Emissions

The Automobile Industry has been reprehensible in this matter and doesn't appear to have given up the fight yet in the battle to keep emissions high and cars globally and domestically unsustainable. Gov. Davis has not been an environmental champion on this issue either, but with desperately needed democratic votes slipping to the Greens as elections approach, he had little choice but to come down from the fence and sign something. Still, akin to many of the global warming protocols of recent memory, this legislation (no matter how terrifying to car makers) doesn't even come close to wrapping its arms around the problem, choosing a finger in the ribs strategy instead. According to the Gov.'s own statement, this legislation has a window of 2009 and is meant to be industry-friendly, providing many "credits" to industry players who are able to make other emissions controls in the meantime. Such credits, it appears, can add up so that the 10 m.p.g. tank of an SUV driving down the I-405 today may continue showing up on dealer's lots a decade from now. The short of it: "hurrah!" to CA for passing something in the face of the nation's nothing, a skeptical "blah!" to the Gov. who wants to parade fence-riding legislation as important environmentally-friendly policy.
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Los Angeles -- California today will enact legislation that for the first time will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases coming from the tailpipes of all passenger vehicles sold in the state, even the beloved SUV, in a move that could change the kinds of cars Americans drive in coming years.

The new law, to be signed today by Gov. Gray Davis (D), is the first in the United States to directly affect consumers and to enlist American drivers in reducing the potential of global warming. The law addresses not the gases that cause smog but the invisible, odorless emissions that scientists say appear to be contributing to slow but risky heating of the planet.

Although the new regulations will grant engineers wide latitude for design solutions, the new greenhouse gas emission standards for California will affect drivers nationwide, because California, with its 35 million residents -- more than Canada -- represents 10 percent of the national car market.

"You can't make one car for California and another car for Washington, D.C.," said Eron Shosteck, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The industry group opposes the new law, saying it will limit consumer choice, raise prices on the car lot and press smaller, lighter, gas-stingy vehicles upon buyers -- the cars that today are not selling.

Shosteck said that so far as he knew, the California measure was the first of its kind, and is without a counterpart in the Washington metropolitan region or elsewhere in the nation.

A federal decision giving the Washington area until 2005 to meet ozone limits was rejected earlier this month by an appeals court action that will force the region's officials to take more aggressive steps to improve air quality by reducing levels of ozone, as distinct from the greenhouse gases.

Davis said in an interview Friday that he had hoped that Washington would take the lead in tackling global warming, "but the worst thing we could do in California is to do nothing."

He challenged the Bush administration to take warming seriously and begin working to reduce emissions with federal regulations.

The law grants the California Air Resources Board power to set "maximum" but "economically feasible" emissions standards for gases such as carbon dioxide. Those standards will be set by 2005 and must be in automobiles sold by 2009.

Among the possibilities for the coming models: cars outfitted with harder, stiffer "low friction" tires; vehicles with five- or even six-speed automatic and manual transmissions, or even an infinite number of computer-orchestrated gears; more finely tuned catalytic converters; and changes in the coolants used in air-conditioning systems.

In the future, cars may look the same but have more sophisticated technology beneath the hood. Their designs also may be more streamlined, aerodynamic.

California is the only state that is allowed, under a 1967 law, to set its own, tougher regulations for emissions, a loophole that exists because of the previously extreme levels of smog around Los Angeles.

"We have the cleanest cars, the cleanest burning fuel; we even have the cleanest lawn mowers," said Michael Kenny, the California Air Resources Board executive officer. Kenny points out that today's automobile is 98 percent less polluting than models from the 1970s, and that Los Angeles has not experienced a smog alert since 1998.

Once California increases its standards, other states are allowed to adopt the state's stricter rules.

Regardless, domestic and foreign automakers will have to create California cars that reduce the amount of gases such as carbon dioxide, the signal product of internal combustion engines.

But automakers are still contemplating a legal challenge and might also put the matter before voters in a statewide ballot.

Ultimately, the cars will likely be required to burn less gasoline, because increasing fuel efficiency is the way to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main culprit in global warming scenarios.

This could produce fleets of vehicles using more sophisticated composite materials, for example, that offer safety and strength but are lighter.

Yet increasing fuel efficiency of the auto fleet flies in the face of recent consumer demand for bigger, more powerful vehicles, such as SUVs, minivans and trucks.

Efforts to increase fuel efficiency -- the so-called CAFE standards -- failed to pass in Congress, essentially blocked by lawmakers from Michigan and Texas.

"The downside of all the advanced technology we're talking about is that it costs more," said Robert Sawyer, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who studies vehicle emissions and regulatory policy. "There's not a market for fuel efficiency. Gasoline is cheap, so it's no big deal. The auto industry has been putting all its advanced technology into increased power."

The bitterly fought legislation represents a clear victory for environmentalists over the auto and oil industries. Davis sat on the fence during the debates and lobbying campaigns of the spring and summer, which saw an advertising blitz by the auto and oil industries warning consumers that the faceless bureaucrats were going to take away their SUVs.

But California environmentalists, joined by national organizations, pressed celebrities like Paul Newman and senators like John McCain, the Republican from Arizona, to make personal appeals to wavering Sacramento legislators.

Davis only recently said he would sign the bill, which won approval along a mostly party-line vote in Sacramento, where Democratic lawmakers are a clear majority.

"California led the nation with the introduction of the catalytic converter, unleaded gasoline, hybrid vehicles, and now we will lead on global warming," said Russell Long, executive director of the Bluewater Network, a San Francisco-based environmental advocacy group that helped craft the legislation.

Long emphasized that California is the fifth-largest economy in the world, and "we've proven time after time that protecting the environment is consistent with protecting the economy, and we believe other states will adopt the California standards and the impact will be enormous."

Davis said that warming could have profound impacts upon a state dependent on such things as snow fall in the Sierra mountains, which melts and then pours into the aqueducts that irrigate farmland and fills the taps of water-hungry cities. Davis also said that every coastal state should be worried about projections for sea level rise caused by melting glaciers at the north and south poles.

The governor, who will sign the bill into law in ceremonies today, said he is under no illusion that California alone will slow warming. Researchers estimate that California drivers contribute only about 0.5 percent of the planet's increases in carbon dioxide.

But Davis also believed that other states will follow California's lead, and that eventually the federal government will enact laws to decrease tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases.

The European Union also recently began to set higher greenhouse gas standards for vehicles.

Davis promised: "I think you'll have more SUVs but less pollution coming out of their tailpipes. We don't want to change the cars, but change the pollution."

Detroit automakers scoff at the notion, and their representatives say the new regulations are an end-run around efforts that failed in Washington to increase fuel efficiency standards.

"California motorists are going to be extremely angry when they find they are going to lose access to SUVs, trucks and minivans," said Shosteck, the spokesman for the automakers alliance.

Shosteck said there are already 50 models that get more than 30 miles per gallon, and "consumers don't want them. . . . High mileage cars sit on dealer lots and don't sell."

Nonsense, says Roland Hwang, an engineer and senior policy analyst with the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

"There's plenty of technology that already exists that is cost-effective, that will reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases, while they save money for consumers at the gas pump," he said.

Hwang argues that each small change in reducing carbon dioxide will only measure a few percent, "but added up, you can get 10 or 20 or 30 percent reductions overall; that is something."

Hwang and other advocates against global warming do their own scoffing, saying that Detroit has consistently resisted change, only to find that adding such "extras" as catalytic converters, air bags, seat belts and other technologies end up saving lives and money, and cleaning up the air over time.

By William Booth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 22, 2002; Page A01
Staff writer Martin Weil in Washington contributed to this report.

Posted by Richard
7/22/2002 08:25:17 AM | PermaLink

U.S. Agrees to Harvest of Endangered Atlantic Salmon: Announcement Made After Decision to Bar Media

U.S. delegates to an international treaty on wild Atlantic salmon agreed today to allow a foreign commercial harvest of fish from the last surviving, critically endangered salmon runs in Northeastern United States. Following a decision to bar press from the meeting, delegates to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) adopted, with U.S. approval, a plan under which Greenland could harvest up to 55 tonnes of salmon in waters where the endangered U.S. fish congregate. The salmon are not needed for subsistence, and many are expected to be used as dogfood.

"This decision to risk extinction of the few remaining wild salmon in Maine to feed dogs in Greenland is inexplicable," said Tom Grasso of WWF-U.S. "The commercial fishery on North American salmon feeding grounds at West Greenland may kill the last of the United States' wild Atlantic salmon, listed by the government as endangered in 2000. We share ASF's view that the quota established by NASCO ignoring the scientists' strong recommendations and poses a threat to endangered salmon runs."

ASF President Bill Taylor said, "The U.S. and Canadian governments must now help ASF and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund develop a conservation agreement with the Greenland fishermen that terminates the commercial salmon fishery and provides fair compensation, while maintaining a reasonable fishery for internal consumption. The ASF and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund are prepared to take a lead role in this process and pursue discussions toward an agreement with the Greenland fishermen and their government."

In 2001, 67% of salmon caught in West Greenland waters came from North American runs. If the full 55 tonnes of salmon is caught in the coming year, the take could include up to 600 of the critically endangered U.S. North Atlantic salmon which cling to survival in only eight rivers, in the state of Maine. ICES (International Council on Exploration of the Seas), the leading scientific body on the issue, recommended against any commercial quote for the West Greenland fishery. This advice was ignored by the NASCO governments.

WWF and ASF were further frustrated that, given the science presented, no progress was made toward a mandatory code of conduct for environmentally sustainable aquaculture and aquaculture exclusion zones. "Norway has exclusion zones for salmon farming adjacent to important salmon rivers," said Maren Esmark of WWF Norway, "All NASCO countries should abide by the same rules."

The new media restrictions imposed by NASCO bar environmental observers from communicating with reporters during Organization's meetings. "NASCO's new rules on media contact amount to a gag order on conservationists. Given their abysmal record of protection safeguards, it isn't surprising that they don't want public scrutiny," said Mr. Grasso. "WWF and ASF believe that the media have played an important role in educating and informing the public about the work of NASCO and the plight of wild Atlantic salmon. Permitting the media to be present has enhanced NASCO's credibility and has allowed for more informed discourse across the North Atlantic region."

Contact: Martha Wilson, martha.wilson@wwfus.org, 202-778-9517
For Release:  06/07/02

Posted by Richard
7/22/2002 08:04:23 AM | PermaLink

 
Sunday, July 21, 2002

A Clash of Culinary Cultures

Another piece by the naive BBC reporter that thinks he is doing this issue justice by fairly presenting all sides of the evidence. The position he portrays held by the Japanese, certainly not held by ALL Japanese -- but the governmental position and the elite position of the moment -- is portrayed fairly and correctly. All the fallacious arguments are here from "cultural insensitivity" to "food chain" to "environmentally friendly" to "whales hurt fishing industry." Missing only is the "Save them, Eat them" propaganda. Here's an idea: since whales are just another part of the food chain, let's get Jeffrey Dahmer to sit down for a whale dinner with Ms. Shigeko Misaki -- maybe she'll think differently when she's on the other end of the knife and fork.
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Many cultural barriers between Japan and the West were torn down during last month's World Cup - but on the issue of whaling, the differences remain.

Institute of Cetacean Research The International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 and in May the Japanese failed to have it lifted during the IWC's annual meeting in Shimonoseki.

From the viewpoint of many foreigners, or gaijin, it seems a barbaric and totally unnecessary trade akin to killing elephants or giraffes.

But few people in the West have ever heard the Japanese side of the story.

I went to Japan to find out why the Japanese are so determined to resume the large-scale slaughter of these huge and seemingly harmless creatures.

Food chain

The Japan Whaling Association (JWA) and the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) are housed in the same building in a harbourside suburb of Tokyo.

Shigeko Misaki is an adviser to the JWA and the co-author of The Truth Behind The Whaling Dispute.

In the late 1940s, her father was the Minister of Agriculture and one of the men who persuaded the Supreme Commander of the US Occupation Forces, Douglas MacArthur, to allow the Japanese to resume whaling to alleviate the post-war food crisis.

She says the position held by most anti-whaling campaigners is ridiculous.

"Why should one particular species be excluded from the food chain?" she argues.

Ancient industry

The Japanese have been carrying out organised ocean whaling since the 10th Century and there are cave drawings dating back 5,500 years showing people of the Japanese islands hunting offshore whales with spears.

Ms Misaki says it is simply Western cultural prejudice which prevents Japan from resuming whaling.

"If I ate my cat or my dog then I would feel disgusted but in Korea people eat dogs and in places like Tanzania people do not eat lobsters or shrimps.

"In India, most people do not eat cows on religious grounds but you don't see India trying to tell the US not to eat beef," she says.

'Criticism is not racism'

A spokesman for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), Victoria Reinthal, said the Japanese often used the cultural argument to prevent criticism of their whaling.

"They try to equate criticism of whaling with racism directed at Japanese people in general," she said.

Miss Reinthal told BBC News Online: "If whales belong to anyone then they belong to everyone.

"It is not just Japan that WDCS and others have an issue with, but with Norway and anyone that seeks to commercially exploit these creatures."

Ms Misaki says the populations of most whale species have recovered in the last 16 years and there is even evidence that whales need to be culled in certain areas because they are affecting fish stocks.

'Ocean competitors'

Dr Seiji Ohsumi, director general of the ICR, says it is a myth that whales eat only plankton and krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures which inhabit the oceans of the Antarctic and South Pacific.

He points to photographs taken by ICR personnel of the stomach contents of whales caught under the IWC's scientific clause.

"In Japanese coastal waters, we have discovered that they eat many other species, including pollock, squid and saury, which are very important to Japanese fishermen.

"It has been proved that in fishing areas whales invade and catch those species which would otherwise be caught by Japanese fishermen," says Dr Ohsumi.

Minke whales have been known to break into fishermen's nets and eat their fish, he says.

He says whaling is actually much more environmentally friendly than beef farming.

"Large areas of the Brazilian rain forest have had to be cleared to allow space for grazing the cattle which supply the beef to the fast-food chains.

"Cattle provide huge emissions of methane which are harmful to the environment.

"By comparison, there is an abundant population of whales who inhabit the three-quarters of the globe which is covered by water," said Dr Ohsumi.

'Still declining'

He accepts that some cetacean species are still endangered and lists the Yangtze River Dolphin in China, the Harbour Porpoise in the North Pacific and the northern right whale off the East Coast of the US.

But he says many cetaceans are abundant and claims there are around two million sperm whales worldwide.

Greenpeace disputes many of the Japanese claims.

Spokesman Richard Page says: "Although a few whale populations are recovering from decades or centuries of over-exploitation, others have shown little or no signs of recovery and may still be declining.

"For instance, the Antarctic blue whales were thought to number around 250,000 prior to commercial hunting but now there are only 1,000 left and show little sign of recovery despite being completely protected since the 1960s."

He adds: "It is often very difficult to say with any certainty what is happening to a given whale population because of the inherent difficulties in counting whales."

'Double crossed'

Ms Misaki says the US double-crossed Japan in 1986.

"Under IWC rules, a member country can exempt itself by objecting to a decision it considers unreasonable.

"When the moratorium was introduced, Japan, like Norway, lodged an objection.

"But the US threatened to cancel a quota system which allowed Japanese fishermen to catch deep water fish, such as pollock and flounder, up to 200 nautical miles from the US coast.

"This catch was worth 10 times as much as the whaling industry at the time so Japan cancelled its objection.

"But the US double-crossed us and two years later they excluded Japanese fishermen anyway." By then it was too late to object.

Dr Ohsumi also disputes claims by anti-whaling campaigners that the killing process is long and cruel.

"Many years ago whales used to suffer for a long time. But technology has improved and nowadays 60% of whales die instantly and the average time of death is two-and-a-half minutes," he says.

By Chris Summers
BBC News Online, Tokyo


Posted by Richard
7/21/2002 07:50:37 PM | PermaLink

Dining Out on a Guilt Trip

July 17th article by BBC reporter who is doing some Japanese whaling stories. His information on what is going on is good, even if his ethics and ability to understand the larger picture are clearly out of touch with his journalistic issue.
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I only found this place by looking on an anti-whaling website where they had posted up the address, presumably for people to picket it," said Mike, an American tourist with no love of the conservationist lobby.

Kujira-Ya - which simply means The Whale Restaurant - is indeed a hard place to find but it is worth the effort.

It is located in the heart of Tokyo's Shibuya district, a neon grove where Japanese teenagers meet up to compare shocking haircuts and make-up amid the incessant chirruping of mobile phones.

But once inside you leave behind the 21st Century and experience traditional Japan where one of the staple diets was kujira (whale).

As well as checking in your coat, you also need to leave behind the politically correct preconceptions which most foreigners bring with them about eating whale.

'Scientific' research

During World War II, commercial whaling was virtually impossible because the Pacific Ocean had become a war zone.

But General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the Allied Occupation Forces, gave permission for it to resume in order to alleviate the famine which engulfed post-war Japan.

Whalemeat... helped the Japanese people's health, growth and energy so that they made a remarkable recovery after World War II and built a strong economy

Dr Seiji Ohsumi Dr Seiji Ohsumi, director general of the Institute of Cetacean Research, says whalemeat was a cheap and useful source of protein and he adds: "Up until the 1950s, 50% of all protein consumed by the Japanese was from the whale.

"Japanese schoolchildren were fed on whalemeat and it helped the Japanese people's health, growth and energy so that they made a remarkable recovery after World War II and built a strong economy."

But since the moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986, Japan is now only allowed to catch a small number of whales for scientific purposes.

Old recipes

After making scientific measurements and taking DNA samples from them, these whales are then frozen and taken back to Japan, where they are sold to restaurants and supermarkets.

But only 4,000 tonnes of whalemeat enters the market nowadays compared with 220,000 tonnes in its heyday in 1962.

As a result of this restricted supply, whale is no longer a cheaper commodity but Dr Ohsumi denies it is a "delicacy" eaten only by the rich, as alleged by conservationists.

Shigeko Misaki, of the Japan Whaling Association (JWA), which picked up the tab for the meal, says: "In the West, whales were primarily killed for their oil and blubber but in Japan it was always for the meat.

"The American and British whalers used to throw away the meat but we wasted very little. The Japanese have names for 80 different parts of the whale and there are cooking recipes dating back to the Edo period (1603-1867).

In the pot

Whalemeat is most popular in western and southern Japan and Ms Misaki said: "The whale food culture is still very much alive in Japan."

My dinner at Kujira-ya consisted of a first course of whale sushi - the raw meat is a deep blood-red colour and tastes delicious, especially when dipped in ginger and soy sauce.

For the main course, one member of the Tanahashi family, which owns the restaurant, brought up a small gas stove on which was placed a bowl of broth.

The idea was to use your chopsticks to pick up some whalemeat, watercress - grown only in the Kansai region of western Japan - mushrooms and tofu and drop them into the bubbling liquid.

When it has cooked for about five minutes, this dish is ready to eat, by which time the meat has turned brown and the cress looks and tastes more like spinach.

No trade

All in all, it is a fascinating and delicious experience - but then I guess animal rights campaigners would say that while whale, veal and paté foie gras may all be tasty, they are also morally unacceptable.

If you are wondering why whale is not on the menu at your local sushi restaurant, it is because trade in whalemeat is illegal between signatories of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which includes the UK and the US.

Japan, Norway and Iceland are technically allowed to trade in it between themselves.

There were moves to export Norway's stockpiles of whale blubber to Japan - Norwegians do not eat blubber but the Japanese do - but it has been held up for political reasons.

But Greenpeace spokesman Richard Page claims that far from being good for you, whalemeat could actually be very dangerous.

He told BBC News Online: "Whales bioaccumulate toxic chemicals in their body fat and some species and populations may carry levels that could be harmful to human health."

By Chris Summers
BBC News Online, Tokyo


Posted by Richard
7/21/2002 07:36:10 PM | PermaLink

Norway Resumes Whale Product Exports

Oslo, Norway -- After a grudging 14 year break, Norway, the only country to conduct commercial whale hunts, has resumed exports of whale meat and blubber with a shipment to Iceland, whalers said Monday.

The shipment of eight tons of whale meat and blubber was quietly sent out of a port in Norway's Arctic on Friday and was expected to reach the North Atlantic island nation by midweek.

"This is an appetizer for the Icelanders, and I am confident that they will like it and ask for more," said Ole Mindor Myklebost, the whaler behind the first export.

Norway ignored protests and resumed its commercial whale hunts in 1993, after a six year break. However, the government imposed a total ban on exports of whale products because it feared an international backlash.

In January 2001, the government said it was lifting that voluntary ban as what it called a step toward normalizing the whaling industry.
The announcement drew strong protests from conservationists, with Greenpeace saying that it violated the will of the international community and could lead to illegal hunting, with the meat being sold as Norwegian.

British Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley also said earlier this month that he was "appalled" by the planned exports and the action "undermines the IWC's moratorium on commercial whaling and runs counter to the wishes of most of its members."

Norway claims the minke whale its whalers hunt are plentiful and can sustain a limited harvest. This year, whalers have a quota of 674 minke, which are the smallest of the baleen whales at about 30 feet.

The International Whaling Commission banned all commercial whaling in 1986 to protect some types of whales that were threatened by over hunting.

Norway is not bound by that ban because it rejected the decision under commission rules. Norway last exported whale products in 1988.
Iceland, another traditional whaling nation, quit the IWC in a dispute over the hunting ban 10 years ago and was refused readmission to the group this year. The nation also has said it may resume whaling.

Myklebost, who hunts and processes whale meat and blubber, said he had received all the required permits.

"All the paperwork is in order. This is a normal export," he said by telephone from his home near the Arctic town of Bodoe, some 550 miles north of the capital, Oslo.

Heidi Hansen, of the Directorate for Nature Management, confirmed that Myklebost had been given the first export license, covering 15 tons of whale meat and 15 tons of blubber.

She did not say how many other permits were being considered and financial terms were not disclosed.

Norwegians eat the red meat of whales but have no use for the blubber. As a result, hundreds of tons of the fatty material are stored in freezer warehouses and whalers are seeking to sell much it to Japan, where it is considered a delicacy.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, usually called CITES, bars trade in whale products, but Norway, Iceland and Japan are exempt from the ban because they registered reservations.

According to a news release from the pro-whaling High North Alliance, the importer, identified as Jon Gunnarson, expects whale products to be on sale in Iceland within two weeks.

By Doug Mellgren

Posted by Richard
7/21/2002 07:19:20 PM | PermaLink