|Kinoya Whale Meat Cans, Tokyo|
I've never looked a whale in the eye. Nor have I ever been tempted to eat one.
My friends will testify that I have always been prepared to try anything on a dinner plate that is put in front of me, the one exception being a menu option I experienced in Stavanger, Norway.
The restaurant were offering whale meat as a main and something within me rebelled against the thought of doing so.
Perhaps it was and is the idea of eating an animal that is critically endangered or that the meat in question was quite unprepossessing.
A good dose of angry cynicism about the Japanese instance on their right to conduct "scientific whaling" in our southern waters, when clearly they have been doing so to sell it in their open meat markets, no doubt contributed to my decision at the time.
Perhaps it was also a growing realisation of mankind's selfishness to consume every palatable species around us thereby sowing the seeds of our own inevitable destruction as a species. Whatever the reason I settled for Norwegian salmon on the menu instead. Although it is fair to report that two of my museum colleagues at that time did try it.
So I awoke this morning to the news that the International Court of Justice had handed down a ruling against Japanese whaling in southern waters, with a sense of relief as well as admiration for those who had campaigned so vociferously against the practice.
Not that I regard myself as a "Greenie' but I do appreciate nature's bounty and beauty both on my plate and around me. It is selfish in the extreme to plunder the world's food resources without giving a damn about generations that will follow.
Now it will be a question of who is going to enforce the whale ban ruling? I suspect both the New Zealand and Australian governments will police and enforce the ban. At least I would like to think so.
It is perhaps no coincidence that today is April Fool's Day. For once we have stopped fooling around with the balance of nature and have respected the rights and conservation needs of another deserving mammal.