Chris MacDonald Discusses Loophole Flouting
Chris MacDonald writing from The Business Ethics Blog is discussing Japanese whaling practices as these actions connect to the larger moral and ethical framework of the nation at large. It’s a good read. I recommend it. If you have time, go to his web site and read the full post (and then sign yourself up as a follower!).
Japan has flouted the 1986 moratorium on whaling, making use of a loophole that allows whaling for scientific purposes. In effect, the country’s fleet kills whales for what it claims are “scientific” purposes, and sells the meat for human consumption. You don’t have to be an ardent defender of the world’s whales to see the problems inherent in an having a key player in the world’s economy flouting an international standard.
And just think for a minute about that approach to compliance. It effectively means adopting the credo, do what you want, spirit of the law be damned, as long as you can find even the narrowest of loopholes. What example does has the country’s leadership been setting for the business community? How can government ministers look business leaders in the eye and encourage them to cleave to the meaning and intent of regulations? How can the government ask business, without risking hypocrisy, not to make cynical, self-serving use of loopholes?
Naturally, the government of Japan is not alone in this dilemma. The demands of political expediency often mean that political leaders get caught in a do-as-I say, not-as-I-do self-contradiction. But Japan’s stance on whaling seems a particularly blatant example. And the future of the issue still remains unclear. Japan has only committed to cancelling its whale hunt for this year. Time will tell whether the Japanese government, on this issue at least, demonstrates character worthy of emulation, or instead goes back to an approach aimed merely at securing short-term gains.
From around the web.
From the web site, Ethics and the Environment.
The Australian government has taken legal action against Japan over concerns Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean was not done for scientific purposes.
According to BBC news, the case is been held in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with Australia arguing that Japan’s scientific whaling program (under which it kills whales) is commercial whaling in disguise. A moratorium which bans commercial whaling was put in place in 1986 by the International whaling commission.
According to The Age, a Melbourne based newspaper, Australia Government counsel Bill Campbell told the court, “Japan seeks to cloak its ongoing commercial whaling in the lab coat of science.”
Mike Double from the Australia Antarctic division told AlJazeera Japan’s scientific whaling was not scientific because whales do not have to be killed to be study.
“We simply do not need to kill whales for the science,” he said. “We can collect all the information we need to conserve and manage these whales through non-lethal methods.”
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, who is representing Australia in court, said that more than 10,000 whales had been killed by Japanese whalers since the moratorium was introduced.
He said Australia wanted to see whaling practices halted “once and for all.”