Apr 042016

So few people in Norway want to eat whale meat that it’s ending up in the feed manufactured for animals on fur farms, according to a new document released by the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based nonprofit, and the U.S.-based Animal Welfare Institute.

The document shows that more than 113 metric tons of minke whale products—equivalent to about 75 whales—was bought or used by Rogaland Pelsdyrfôrlaget, the largest manufacturer of animal feed for Norway’s fur industry.

In addition to being one of three countries that continues to whale, Norway has a thriving fur industry. Last year, it exported between 258 tons of fox skins and 1,000 tons of mink skins to the European Union, according to the press release.

Workers cut up fin whale meat in Iceland in 2015. Iceland and Norway are the only two countries that have commercial whaling programs. Photograph by Arnaldur Halidorsson, Bloomberg, Getty Images

When the International Whaling Commission put a moratorium on whaling in 1986, Norway and Iceland registered objections. The two countries are alone in continuing to hunt whales commercially. Japan, which just returned from the Antarctic with 333 minke whales, hunts under a (controversial) scientific permit.

Norway’s government props up the industry heavily, supporting it with fuel tax exemptions and free storage for whale meat, according to a 2009 report from World Wildlife Fund and the Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

There is little demand for whale meat in Norway, and consumption fell in 2000 to about half a pound of meat per person per year, according to Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Norway has increased its exports of whale meat to Japan in recent years in defiance of the international ban. However, the EIA and AWI revealed last year that Japan rejected imports of Norwegian whale meat when tests showed they contained high levels of toxic pesticides.

“The Norwegian government claims it’s important to have whale meat as a source of food for people, but because of falling demand, the product is now being exported,” said Jennifer Lonsdale, co-founder and director of the EIA. “Now we discover it’s going to feed animals in the fur industry, which we find completely unacceptable.”

The document, published online Thursday, appears to show how many kilograms of feed ingredients the company bought or used in 2014. It lists 113,700 kilograms, or 125 U.S. tons, of whale product, which could include meat and blubber.

Norway issued itself a quota for the hunting of about 880 whales for 2016, down from 1,286 the previous year. But scientists at the whaling commission have criticized Norway’s quota for not being conservation-minded enough. In 2001, the International Whaling Commission passed a resolution calling on Norway to stop hunting and trading whales, but Norway insists it’s a tradition that needs to be protected.

Minke whales in the North Atlantic, where Norway hunts, are not considered to be at-risk, but conservationists and animal welfare activists say the hunts are cruel and unnecessary, given the low demand for whale meat.

This article was first published by National Geographic on 31 Mar 2016.

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Michele Grainger

Definately !!

Jillian Taylor

Stop these evil atrocities! Fuck Norway!

Linda French
Stop the programme immediately, the excause on customs does not wash anymore. If you want to be modern in every other way in your civilization, phone, cars, cell phones, than stop using those modern customs and go back to where you were before these things. Otherwise you are all frauds using the custom excuse! Best way to stop them is to stop travel to these countries. I cancelled my trip to Norway last year when 6 of us were going over for 2 weeks, and I also tell everyone I know not to travel to Normway, or take any cruises… Read more »
Michele Jankelow

This programme should be halted immediately! The whales are in dire straights and their numbers continue to fluctuate and consideration should be given to the each whale specie. Whale meat is no longer acceptable for human consumption and to feed to animals as a discard food is truly unacceptable to both species. That a presumed civilized society adopts such atrocities is a shame upon their nation.

Nina Stavlund

As a Norwegian, I am not proud of the continuing whaliling industry and not at all proud of the fur industry either. Norway do excellent on other nature and wildlife and animal issues, so now all they need to do is to get rid of these two ancient and no longer necessary indutries. It must stop!

Vivienne Ben-Shir

of course

Yvonne Olausson


Tierra Chapman

Custom will reconcile people to ANY atrocity, especially customs regarding non-human beings. No civilized culture toleratates animal abusers here in the 21st century, and as such, both the whaling and fur industries in any country must cease at once. Our species is long overdue to evolve with our thinking and our treatment of animals, their lives are not ours to take.


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