Friday, April 27, 2007
SPERM WHALE TEETH SCANDAL
Let's file this under, "You learn something new every day."
I just read this revelation on the AP News Wires:
TWO MEN ADMIT TRAFFICKING SPERM WHALE TEETH
"The former director of a whaling museum and an antiques dealer pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally importing hundreds of sperm whale teeth from England and selling them to U.S. merchants.
Lewis Eisenberg, 61, the former director of The Whalers Village Museum in Lahaina, Hawaii, bought many of the teeth and resold them to collectors of scrimshaw, an art form in which designs are etched into whale bone. Eisenberg, of Oak Harbor, Wash., sold teeth he got from antiques trader Martin Schneider for more than $45,000.
Schneider, 60, of Blue Bell, Pa., got the teeth of the endangered whale in Britain and smuggled them into the country by hiding them among other goods he was importing. Prosecutors said he sold a total of $500,000 worth of teeth from 1995 to 2005.
Wildlife smuggling is a multibillion-dollar illegal industry. Federal officials describe it as the second-largest black market, behind only narcotics."
Now, I am really in shock over this issue, for a variety of reasons:
1.) Oak Harbor is on the Northern end of Whidbey Island. I was raised on the Southern end of Whidbey, and we never had much cause to go to Oak Harbor. Now you know why. There are evil sperm whale teeth traffickers lurking up there.
2.) Sperm is a funny word.
3.) I cannot believe that sperm whale teeth and crack comprise the biggest black markets. How is this even possible? In all these years, the media focus has only been on the threat of drug abuse. No one, not even Connie Chung has ever mentioned black market sperm whale teeth. Doesn't anyone care about our nation's children? Why didn't Nancy Reagan tailor her "Just Say No" speech to include this crippling scourge?
This has all the makings of an Anderson Cooper 60 Minutes expose.