Arctic Wars

by Finn Lynge. Dartmouth/ University Press of New England, $16.95. Mr. Lynge, currently a consultant in Greenland affairs at the Danish Foreign Ministry, is a defender of the rights of native peoples anywhere. That position puts him in opposition to those enthusiasts who would starve the Inuit to save the seal, which, he points out, is not an endangered species. Mr. Lynge argues, with many statistics and some passion, that native food hunters and fur trappers never exterminate the species on which they subsist. Only commercial hunters from the industrialized world do that. He finds it ironic that what he considers sentimentalists from that industrialized world provide high salaries to the officials of animal-protection societies bent on preventing a Canadian trapper from earning a few hundred badly needed dollars by increasingly humane methods. He has a reasonable point and makes it with spirit if no great literary skill. Among other matters, he reveals that the British anti-fur organization Lynx was formerly supported by money from Gore-Tex, the manufacturer of a petrochemical fur substitute that is biologically nondegradable—as permanent a pollution as plastic. Gore-Tex eventually explained, with unexpected candor, that “early sponsorship of Lynx’s activities had been motivated only by the simple wish to sell more of its own products.”