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Cruel, costly and corrupt: time is up for whaling in Iceland

Home » News » Cruel, costly and corrupt: time is up for whaling in Iceland

Recently, it was discovered that a vet who advised the Icelandic government on commercial whaling profited from the design of a harpoon used to kill fin whales, in what appears to be a clear conflict of interest. The vet – who also acted as an adviser to the only remaining whaling company in Iceland, Hvalur – spent 20 years making money from a patent on the weapons, which are supposed to reduce the time taken for whales to die.

However, Icelandic whaling was suspended in June after a damning animal welfare report revealed that whales were suffering for hours after being harpooned. Some whales were shot multiple times before dying, including pregnant females and those already with calves.

Hvalur whaling ship, photo by Dagur Brynjólfsson, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Last week, a new report confirmed that commercial whaling in Iceland is economically unsustainable in addition to being inhumane. The assessment concluded that, most of the time, Iceland’s economy actually suffered a loss from whaling, making it difficult to see any possible justification for renewing whaling quotas.

The WCA, along with our partners in Iceland, have spent years speaking out against this slaughter. We believe that the temporary ban on whaling, which is due to expire at the end of this month, must be made permanent. There can be no future for this cruel and unnecessary industry.

What can you do to help?

If you visit Iceland, you can help to support the campaign against whaling by refusing to eat whale meat during your stay. 84% of Icelanders never buy whale meat, meaning that most of the meat that isn’t exported is destined for tourist consumption. Choose a whale-friendly restaurant from this list so you can be sure that whale won’t be on the menu!

You can also book a responsible whale watching trip with one of our WCA Certified tour operators, Elding Whale Watching or North Sailing! The success of responsible whale watching tourism in Iceland, which creates more than double the revenue of commercial whaling, should be seen as evidence for the Icelandic government that it’s far more valuable to protect these incredible creatures than harm them.

Fin whale in Iceland, photo by Elding Whale Watching

Header photo by Dagur Brynjólfsson, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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