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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Fall of Man

Evidence: Mr Peter Talley, managing director of Talley's Fisheries.

In a speech to 200 high school students at a leadership forum organised by Motueka High School, Mr Talley made known his views on various issues.

Whaling : The Japanese should be allowed to hunt whales because they were doing it sustainably.

Seals : Seals should not be protected because they catch more fish than inshore fishermen, in particular hoki and cod. Humans should have more rights than seals which were a "very destructive animal". Talley also said money could be made from seals as each one was worth $600 for the omega-3 oils in them. He did not suggest they should be hunted commercially.

Animal rights : When a student asked why humans had more rights to fish than seals, Talley answered: "I don't believe in animal rights. I want to kill and eat them."

Environmentalists : "Fishing is New Zealand's fourth largest industry but greenies don't want it." Talley said the animal rights movement was urban-based and unfairly targeted farmers and meat producers.

Art : Graffiti artists were no longer tagging "Ban the bomb" but "Meat is murder", he said.

Organic food : The organic food movement was riddled with fraud. British supermarket Tesco had removed all its organic produce from its shelves for a period because so much of it was not actually organic.

Non-organic food : 70 percent of beef has growth hormones in it and every time people eat chicken they are getting an overdose of antibiotics.

Genetic engineering : Pro-genetic engineering for the reasons above and because it cuts the need to use pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics.

Mike Moeru Cartoon

I’m not entirely sure where to start on this. I understand that Talley obviously has a biased stand point as head of a major fishing company so some of his statements are, in some way, understandable (“New Zealand [has] a fantastic and sustainable fisheries management system”). But…wow…some of this stuff is just…nuts.

Whaling : The Department of Conservation pointed out that we don’t know of Japan’s whaling is sustainable or not. But above that, just because something is sustainable should we do it? Also Mr Talley is implying that whaling is environmentally sustainable, however, recent reports would suggest that it is not economically sustainable. Moreover, once something is found to be unsustainable it is harder to stop (see current poor fishing practices worldwide).

Seals : Our seal population is still returning from nearly being wiped out. I’m not sure where he gets his numbers for seal fish kills but I’m guessing that the seals are much more sustainable and less environmentally destructive than inshore fishermen. So if seals are killing “too many fish” then Talley’s fisheries management system is missing a large variable in its calculation. i.e. “Our management system is perfectly sustainable in this environment, it’s just that the seals kill too many fish.”

Animal rights : I have never heard a less convincing argument about why animals shouldn’t have rights* than: “because I don’t believe in them”. “I want to kill and eat them” is even less so.

Environmentalists : I’m sure that this gross generalisation, “Fishing is New Zealand's fourth largest industry but greenies don't want it” is sure to create many comments. Like this one from Les Mathieson: “About time someone told the other side of all the green rubbish that gets taught these days.” Or this one from Dan Manson: “The greenies do a good job but at the end of the day their beliefs, are just that. Their beliefs only. In hotter years to come it will be the greenies fault that NZ will have animals running around like they own the places they are living in whilst humans will starve and die due to their inability to be able to hunt, kill, and feed themselves or their families”. Actually Dan’s reads like it might be sarcasm but…

The Greenpeace spokesperson said it best when she said “[Talley] forgot to mention that pigs can fly”

Art : I had no idea that Peter Talley was a follower of street art. Of course, no one has written "Ban the bomb" for a VERY long time (except in a retro fashion). And I’m happy to excuse the "Meat is murder" phrase if he keeps saying things like “I want to kill [animals] and eat them”.

Organic food : To say that the “organic food movement is riddled with fraud” because of a few dishonest companies is like saying that the film industry is full of cheap, poor quality DVDs because of a few pirates. Both industries are actually trying to stop the dishonest versions. Tescos would’ve been right to remove organic produce that they were suspect about until a proper certification. This protects their customers. However, to not reinstate real organic food after certification would just be stupid.

Non-organic food : It’s good to see that Talley doesn’t actually hate the idea of organic food. However, he mentions meat and chicken being full of antibiotics etc what about fish? As a wild catch it is by definition organic. But the “organic food movement is riddled with fraud”. Oh, what to believe?

Genetic engineering : Better the devil you know than…

I dunno maybe he was drunk. Still I hope the teachers at Motueka High School have been teaching their kids to think (I really like the fact that one kid asked Talley why seals had less rights to fish than humans). I hope the kids listened to his arguments and then proactively went and looked for information about the issues. I hope.

*This is a Wikipedia link so the views expressed may be biased one way or another and aren’t necessarily my views.

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