Australian environmentalist Tim Flannery recently came out in favor of Japanese harvesting of Minke whales, declaring it "sustainable". For those outside Australia, you can read about it here. This has, predictably, caused a huge uproar in anti-whaling circles in Australia and beyond.
Clive aboard the Greenpeace Esperanza has a good rebuttal here noting:
Esteemed Australian environmentalist and author, Dr. Flannery recently said that it is reasonable to hunt Minke Whales sustainably on the premise that these animals are closer in intelligence to that of sheep. However he expresses a preference that the killing could be done more humanely.
Not having a Ph.D. in Comparative Animal Neurobiology, I cannot engage Dr. Flannery effectively on this topic. It does seem to me like comparing apples and oranges, on the one side the sheep is a domesticated farm animal, while the Minke whale is a migratory species living in the wild and fending for itself.
Any sheep farmer understands the concept of sustainability. It is very important to know exactly how many sheep you have before sending them to market. It is also not a good idea to slaughter your pregnant ewes. This is basic animal husbandry. In addition there is legislation that ensures the slaugher process is nearly instantaneous.
He says, more, and it's worth a read. I would add that the fact that something is "sustainable" shouldn't automatically mean it's OK to do it.
Here's more on Tim Flannery.
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace.