Sunday, 17 March 2013

Percpectives of Ceticide*

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I thought I would write this poem to demonstrate one of the key factors in all environmental issues; that of the differing perspectives of all the stakeholders, and the tendency for activists to get involved.

I greatly admire organisations such as Sea Shepherd, these people risk their lives to save the oceans. I know that they do things that many people consider a step to far, possibly even illegal, but while governments do take a passing interest in the environment, their priorities usually remains with the short term affect on voters. This all too often results in agreements being made but not enforced.

Where governments fail in their duty to enforce the laws that they sign up to, they leave the way open to activists to step in. Unfortunately these people tend not to be as well-resourced as governments and as such they take a less subtle approach to enforcement.

My view is that if a government signs up to something it should be prepared to provide the resources needed to enforce it and accept the consequences of that agreement. Where governments fail to enforce agreements they should not be surprised if people step in and honour the agreement made on their behalf. Most importantly they should not complain if activists don’t play the game using the conventional rule book. Perhaps a better way of putting this is; “they should put up or shut up”. I hope you like the poem.

Percpectives of Ceticide*

The Whale

Our music used to fill the oceans
but that was when I was very young.
Back when the oceans were quieter and clean.
Now the water reverberates to mechanical roars,
explosions and the screams of my kind;
and our song grows ever quieter.

The Conservationist

The oceans are too crowded, too noisy
Too polluted, and over fished.
We need to do something - now,
We need a moratorium on whaling and sanctuaries.
We must study whales and determine their needs
Or we will lose them.

The Politician

I’m down ten points in the polls,
this bloody scandal is killing me,
I wish I’d never have got involved with her.
I need something to divert the public’s attention.
The green vote is popular, something international
might broaden my appeal, Whaling – blame the foreigner!

The Whaler

My father and his were both whalers, it’s in my blood.
There are plenty of whales in the ocean,
Whales deplete our fish stocks and damage the industry.
I operate within a quota and aid important research
and I use most humane method to catch them.
Anyway it is my right to hunt, I have a family to feed.

The Public

Interesting program on the telly last night.
I didn’t know the harpoon exploded inside the whale
Or that they pump air into the body to keep it afloat.
That said, I think the kids are right, it does look barbaric
I can’t see myself eating whale.
Next time I see a collection tin I will put some money in it.


The public want everything and they want it all done green.
Every ministry needs more cash but the treasury’s been wiped clean.
This bloody whale debacle demands we do something
But we can’t upset our trade partners; we need the cash they bring,
So we won’t mention whale meat, stockpiles or poaching.
Let’s let some other nation start that fight. Now about the Euro zone…

The Activist

They’ll hunt whales to extinction, having agreed to save them.
The other governments will just bite their tongues
and refuse point blank to condemn them.
If these nations, who swore to protect whales
won’t honour their commitments - then I will
and to hell with those that don’t like how I do it.

The Courts

These activists are out of order
Just who do they think they are?
This nation may be in breach of the law
But none of the others condemn them.
We can’t let private citizens enforce international law.
They’re vigilantes and pirates of that I am quite sure.


My oceans are turning murky and silent
Mankind is at it again
They’re aware of the damage they’re doing
But their too self-centred to refrain.
They talk a good talk, but won’t do the walk
and it’s me that ends up paying.

*Ceticide: The killing of whales and other cetaceans.

John Carré Buchanan
05 March 2013


  1. You make a very good point for each of your headings John. Really gets you thinking about it on every level. Now whilst people like me are busy thinking, all of the above continues to carry on! Dilemma.

    1. Rum Punch Drunk, Once again many thanks for your comment. I like to try and see problems from different angles, this one is tremendously complex, but at the same time the solution, stop killing whales, is very simple. To me it is such a shame that despite having gone to the trouble of negotiating and securing international agreement, governments are still unable to implement those agreements. In the ideal world there would be no need for organisations like Sea Shepherd because Governments would deliver on their promises, fortunately for us, in our non-perfect world, there are people who are prepared to take risks and stand up for what they believe is right.


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.