And just when you thought it wasn’t possible, the whaling issue becomes dirtier. On one side, it was found that whale feces form a significant contribution to the marine environment, and in turn, to the ecosystem as a whole. This of course is positive and presents even greater reason to discourage unnecessary whaling. On the other, pro-whaling government officials seem to be coming clean that their votes were purchased through money and prostitutes.
The Sunday Times sent investigators undercover, in light of the looming discussion on whaling quotas (Japan and other pro-whaling nations are pushing to legalize commercial whaling to some degree with quotas), to several different countries to try and find if any representatives would be willing to trade their vote in exchange for money. Implicated in the investigation were representatives from Grenada, Republic of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and St Kitts and Nevis. They were approached by a fictitious billionaire proposing to purchase their votes for substantial aid packages.
[ad name=”Go-MM-LgSquare”]But with the exception of the prostitution issue, this isn’t an entirely shameless breakthrough. The countries who’s representatives were found willing to sell their votes in exchange for aid are those of highly undeveloped nation-states. They did what they felt was best for the populace of their respective nations and can’t truely be expected to know the debate inside out. And even their “sale” of votes has been a bit hyped, as countries often align their votes in international bodies with those countries that provide them the most assistance. Likewise, even politics in this country isn’t untainted of lobbyist money. Criticism on this particular issue wouldn’t be particularly productive as it can’t be clearly adduced that the money transferred doesn’t constitute much needed aid.
What is particularly disturbing though is the alleged prostitutes for the IWC commissioner from Tanzania. Albeit seemingly an isolated case, it’s representative of a possible array of underhanded tactics we could well be utterly ignorant of. Aside from speculations about the unseen, it would be an example of gross misconduct. Where the exchange of votes for money can be understood (if not excused) as an act of desperation, this would be a case of a man’s libido making a judgement on the well-being of an entire species.