European Union and Russia Ban Seal Pelt Purchases
The seal pelt bans in the European Union and Russia seem to have halted the demand for seal pelts to the point where it won’t be profitable to hunters. The European Union approved the ban of Seal Products in 2009; however, Denmark, Romania, and Austria abstained from the vote. Russia joined the ban in 2011, which really hurt the industry as it is reported as buying 90% of the markets. I have to admit that I didn’t think that organizations demanding people ban the seal pelt products would actually work, especially in countries like Russia who don’t have a good history of following the demands of their people (full disclosure: just my ignorant opinion!).
When this started to happen, no one was thinking about banning the products, but in the recent years, people made so much noise and the media covered the hunt so much that the governments (I guess) finally listened to the people. Governments listening to the people…what a crazy notion in a democratic society! The notion actually blew my mind as it goes to show that individuals can make a difference in Ocean Conservation and shows that Governments will eventually listen if enough people talk about a particular issue that is important to them (and enough people ban together to support an issue).
The beauty of democracy!
So does this mean we can expect the same thing from the Japanese government in regards to other important Ocean Conservation Issues?
The whale hunt for instance…If Ocean Leaders work to take away the demand for whale products, then the whale hunt would be pointless from an economic stand point and the government would have no reason to maintain subsidies to the whale hunters. So let’s think about the Action Plan to accomplish this goal.
First, we would have to identify all of the products where whale is used (i.e. meat, perfume?, oils?, etc.). Then we would have to educate the public, including the people of Japan about the consequences of hunting whales and the current status of the whale hunt, but we would have to do it in a respectful manner that does not condemn the people for not knowing what is going on. Eventually, people would start to boycott whale products within Japan and internationally taking away the demand for whale products and making the whale hunt pointless!
Will it work to Stop Shark Fin Soup too
Does this model work for shark fin soup? It’s already starting to…Shark Truthis an organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which works with Chinese couples in Vancouver who are about to get married to not serve shark fin soup at their wedding (a time where shark fin soup is mostly served). By working with these couples, shark Truth is slowly taking away the demand for shark fin soup at traditional Chinese Banquet Weddings in a respectful manner and it is educating the next generation about the consequences of the dish.
So I will leave you with the question of the day.
Do you think the “Take Away The Demand” strategy will work for whale hunts and shark fin soup?
Leave a comment down below to let us know how you feel about this strategy.