Whale meat again?
Well, the highly predictable ‘crisis budget’ has arrived, and there can have been few surprises for anyone after the concerted panic inducing propaganda campaign of the new coalition government. Simplistically appealing to the ingrained fear of personal debt of the British people we have been bludgeoned into believing that a complex and highly sophisticated national economy behaves by the same rules as a household one. A cursory look at the budget reveals one that will make the plight of the poorest in our society worse, not least as the effects of higher VAT kicks in and the severe cutbacks in Government expenditure filter their way into the rest of the economy, increasing unemployment and therefore raising social distress. However, there is more to add to our collective woe: the national football team is riddled with over paid and spoilt young men, unable to realise that they stand on the World’s greatest stage representing their country as they idle around the pitch missing passes, goal attempts and 50/50 balls that any school kid would capitalise on. More sadly and distressingly, we learn that the 300th British soldier has met a young death in Afghanistan. Can it get any worse?
Well, yes it can because, amidst all our collective gloom and despondency, perhaps a real testimony to human moral bankruptcy is taking place almost unnoticed under our very noses. For today and tomorrow, the 22nd and 23rd of June, behind closed doors, the International Whaling Commission is deciding whether to lift the international moratorium on whale hunting. Originally put forward by the American government to protect the historic interests of the Inuit people, it is argued that lifting the ban and replacing it with agreed quotas could even reduce the number of animals killed annually. Those who oppose the ban, like Britain, have less confidence that commercial interests can be kept in check so easily and instead believe that getting rid of the moratorium will lead to unbridled and uncontrollable hunting and the revival of the industry infrastructure of whaling, leading to further exploitation of the creature. It would be too distressing here to rehearse the horrifically painful and long death that hunting subjects the Whale to: just take it from me, it’s unlike anything we would allow in an abattoir.
We await the outcome, but why does just the mere mention of the lifting of the moratorium add to our woe? Because it symbolises the human race’s seeming indifference to pain and suffering and the way we distance ourselves from it and demonstrate our alienation from the natural world. The ignoble sentiments that could contemplate a renewed slaughter of a noble, threatened and beautiful creature are directly linked to those that lie behind our cynical and shallow attitudes in other directions and to other sufferings. When we consider the slaughter of the whale as allowable we demonstrate our own insensitivity to the beauty and transitory nature of Creation.