Letter: Mythical mammals that deserve special treatment from mankind

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The Independent Online
Sir: Norway's defence of its threat to resume whaling is just nonsense. It is, in fact, linked to a move to appease Norwegian fishermen, following the conclusion of the talks formally to admit Norway to the European Economic Area. Most of the extra fish quota that Norway conceded to European Community states, including the United Kingdom, was made up of stocks that were likely to have been conceded anyway under existing bilateral agreements.

It is a tragedy that Norway should have this blind spot about whales. The fact is, there is no humane way to catch them.

Norway has no right to complain if voices, including mine, are raised against any nation that pursues this barbaric activity becoming a full member of the EC. What can we expect from a nation that is prepared to ignore democratic decisions taken in an international forum such as the International Whaling Commission?

The Norwegians may accuse the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, John Gummer, of being a hypocrite for his support of the equally barbaric activity of fox-hunting, as indeed he is. What Norway must recognise is that the majority of people in both this country and, I believe, the EC recognise that the time for such barbaric activity is long past.

Norway's isolated northern communities have been declining for some time. The reasons are varied, but it most certainly has nothing to do with the ban on whaling, and neither will the Norwegian government's deplorable attitude do anything to assist them. Are 200 jobs worth the thousands put at risk by a possible consumer boycott if Norway pursues this line?

Yours sincerely,


MP for Glanford and Scunthorpe


House of Commons

London, SW1

The writer is Labour spokesman on fisheries.