In the 18th and 19th centuries, humans hunted the great whales of the oceans to the brink of extinction. Without quotas or restrictions or any kind of self-discipline, creatures that breed rarely and live for hundreds of years and who had no natural predators were hunted wholesale, and butchered. When one day somebody noticed that they were getting harder and harder to find, a conversation started, and eventually somebody somewhere drew a line between action and consequences. That lightbulb moment probably came too late for some species, like the Northern Right Whale, which has never recovered. One wonders whether the Minister for Housing is, like the whalers of yore, a sudden convert to the cause of conservation:
In one sense, landlords in Ireland are in a worse position than the few remaining whales were, at the time of the sudden realisation that they might go extinct. Whales, at least, always retained the broad sympathy of the public, even when they were being hunted. There was ever a sense that they were majestic creatures, and that it was right and proper to keep them in the world. With Landlords, it’s not quite that clear: Hence, the Minister feels the need to differentiate between “good landlords” and everybody else.
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