The Making of International Environmental Treaties Neoliberal and Constructivist Analyses of Normative Evolution
Neoliberal and Constructivist Analyses of Normative Evolution
Chapter 4: The International Whaling Commission and the Elusive Great White Whale of Preservationism
4. The International Whaling Commission and the elusive great white whale of preservationism* The moot point is, whether Leviathan can long endure so wide a chase, and so remorseless a havoc; whether he must not at last be exterminated from the waters, and the last whale, like the last man, smoke his last pipe, and then himself evaporate in the final puff. (Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851) INTRODUCTION The fight by ENGOs to preserve whales is considered to be the first modern, global environmental campaign and in many ways the whale is still regarded as the symbol of the ENGO transnational movement.1 Environmentalists often cite this campaign as a model of how to achieve environmental goals. Yet these claims belie a more complex history, characterized by a morass of competing interests and positions regarding the killing of whales that continues to this day.2 This chapter will examine the modern exploitation of whales and the attempt to introduce conservationist programmes to manage whaling stocks on a sustainable basis, along with the drive to preserve whales by ENGOs and states like Australia and the United States of America. The primary arena of normative contestation to be examined is the meetings to regulate the whaling industry held primarily under the auspices of the International Whaling * A version of this chapter appears as ‘The International Whaling Commission and the Elusive Great White Whale of Preservationism’, William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, 3, no. 2 (2009): 375–447. 1 Niels Einarsson, ‘All Animals...
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