Friday, March 14, 2008

Apples, oranges, kangaroos

I have seen a couple of press stories in the last few days, alleging analogies between kangaroo culls in Australia and the on-going commercial take of whales at sea. After the Australian Government's high profile protests of the last few months against Japan's scientific whaling programme, an animal welfare organization has accused the Australian of "double standards" because of their kangaroo management policy.

It is not first time this analogy has been made; most notably PR consultants of the Japanese Fisheries Agency have been using it for at least 20 years.

But to be honest, the argument that there is alleged "double standard" is arguably not very strong to say the least.

Whales are highly migratory species, notoriously difficult to count and monitor, top predators living part of their lives in the high seas, and the exploitation of which is under the authority of an international treaty organization.

The issues and challenges concerning whale conservation are thus very different than the management of terrestrial mammals living entirely in national territory.

No-one should mix apples and oranges.

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