Letter: Whitehall ignores Rio summit findings on ocean pollution

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The Independent Online
Sir: The hunting of whales is discussed in an international context (the International Whaling Commission) because whales are wild species occurring mainly in international waters, and may therefore be considered a common concern of mankind. Arctic seal hunting has also long been a subject of international concern and action, whereas problems of human abuse of animals such as foxes, chickens and cows (leading article, 17 May) are matters for regionally based action.

The history of commercial whaling is of 'boom and bust' slaughter from the 17th century to the Seventies. Recent events give us no reason to believe that future hunts would be more restrained or humane. On a 1992 Norwegian 'scientific' minke whale hunt, for example, the average death time was 6.5 minutes. Such cruelty is unlikely ever again to be condoned by an international forum. The ongoing ruthless mass slaughter by the Japanese of Dall's porpoises in the western Pacific demonstrates that nation's continuing total disregard of any principles of sustainable and humane exploitation of marine mammals.

Yours faithfully,


Broadstairs, Kent

18 May