In what can only be described as a crazy move (to put it politely), the Icelandic government has just issued new quotas which would allow 229 minke whales and 154 endangered fin whales to be hunted every year for the next five years.
This is in spite of the fact that a recent survey conducted by Gallup and commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found that only 3 percent of Icelanders eat whale meat on a regular basis. And 75 percent of Icelanders never buy whale meat, with this figure rising to 82 percent for women and 86 percent for eighteen to twenty-four-year olds.
Because very few Icelandic people eat whale meat, most of the catch is sent to the Japanese market … and sadly, much of it is used to make dog food.
IFAW has stated they are “disappointed that the Icelandic government continues to support the efforts of Iceland’s lone whaling crusader, businessman Kristjan Loftsson, by granting further quotas to slaughter whales instead of calling an end to the outdated and uneconomic practice which is bad for Icelanders as well as whales.”
Because Iceland resumed whaling in 2006 despite an international moratorium, it – along with Norway – has been fiercely criticized by Icelandic environmental and animal rights groups. However, it is not just at home that the whalers are standing on shaky ground. The practice of commercial whaling has continued to meet with widespread international condemnation, with Australia and New Zealand taking Japan to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over its brutal whale hunts.
Commenting on Iceland’s latest move, Robbie Marsland, U.K. director of IFAW, said, “We are deeply disappointed that such a controversial decision has been made in such a manner. To sneak the decision out on a Friday evening shortly before Christmas without any reference to Icelandic and international criticism of this unnecessary and inhumane trade demonstrates how embarrassing one stubborn whaler is becoming to Iceland.”
Want to help stop the whale hunt?
Check out this great petition on Avaaz.org, which has already garnered over a million signatures and helped prevent Dutch authorities from accepting whale products into their ports. The petition’s latest goal is to persuade Germany’s largest supermarket chain to stop selling products linked to the whale hunt.
If the Icelandic whalers are no longer making any profit from their cruel industry, they have no reason to continue with it. So sign the petition and share it far and wide!
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons