Thursday, January 19, 2006

The ones that didn't get away

In response to my condemnation of Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean in my post on things maritime, David sent me an email with this photo.

Check out the sign with cute picture of a whale: it advertises whale meat. The caption that came with photo read: "Whale-meat lunches are popular in Tateyama. The nearby town of Wadamachi is known as a whaling port."

He included links to two news reports about conflicting polls about the Japanase public's attitudes towards the whaling and the resumption of commercial whaling. One is from
2000 (most polled have no opinion, with 14% against whaling, 11% for), the other from 2002 (most are pro-whaling).

Both polls – yes, out of date – were used to support the arguments of either side of the whaling debate. I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes (who said it?):
There's lies, damn lies, and statistics.
Polls, stats, and surveys are too easily twisted to fit the arguments of those using or commissioning them. Spin. It is kinda like the stories fishermen tell each other: "You should have seen the size of the one that got away."

Unfortunately for the whales, unless 'public opinion' across the globe turns to concerted action against whaling, there won't be too many that get away.

Like the ones sold from the food cart in the photo above.


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