Whale Carcass Disposal – East Coast Division

No sooner did the ink dry on our story about the wayward whale whose lifeless body wound up on the beach at Malibu, California, causing endless consternation to assorted public functionaries who proclaimed themselves just plumb unable to do anything to get rid of the odoriferous carcass (click on http://gideonstrumpet.info/?p=4569), that a smilar dispatch reaches us from the East Coast. Andy Newman and Daniel Silva, ‘Nothing We Can Do,’ Rescuers Say, For Whale Beached on Queens Shore, N.Y. Times, December 27, 2012, at p. A17 – click here.

It seems that a 60-f00t finback whale, in dire straits but not quite dead, has beached itself on Breezy Point beach in Queens, New York. People who are mavens in such matters assert that the poor creature will expire presently, thus giving rise to a formidable problem of disposal. And whereas the would-be California whale disposers cited the creature’s decomposed condition as preventing the simple solution of towing the carcass way out to sea and letting nature take its course, their New York counterparts claim that towing out to sea won’t work after a necropsy is performed.

“Assuming a necropsy is performed on the whale, its body will be so carved up that towing it out to sea and dumping it will not be possible, . . . and finding a place to bury the remains in an urban area can be difficult . . . If the whale has to be euthanized , . . . such large quantities of toxic drugs will have to be used that the carcasswill become an environmental hazard. Finding a landfill for 60 tons of biological waste is expensive.”

Last time a whale carcass washed up on a New York beach (in 1964) it was towed out to sea and exploded with 500 lbs. of explosives. Sounds efficient, but the New York Times reports that this time, the local “marine-rescue coordinator with the National Marine Fisheries Service” informs us that this method is “off the table.”

So here you are, folks, our mighty nation that has performed technological miracles and — how can we not use this cliche? — has put a man on the moon, proclaims itself unable to dispose of a whale carcass. Then again, how was that California beached whale taken care of? We’re glad you asked. A group of private, beach-dwelling citizens got tired of the smell and the government nonsense, hired a private tugboat, had the whale carcass towed out to sea, and left it out there to its natural fate, even as local government functionaries were explaining that this couldn’t be done on account of the whale’s decayed condition. Evidently nobody told the whale. All of which reminds us  of a line of the late Bill Buckley who once observed that there are two things government does best: wage war and inflate the currency, except that after Vietnam there is some doubt as to the former.

And so, we wish that New York whale a peaceful death, and we hope that with all the resources of the Big Apple at hand, something will be done by someone to dispose of the remains.


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