Whales are beautiful, intelligent, majestic creatures. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of them die as a result of bycatch, shipping accidents, plastic pollution, among other man-made issues every year.
In 1986, a moratorium from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling; however, Iceland, Norway, and Japan refuse to comply.
Whaling involves harpooning a whale that is swiftly swimming away. Thus, these whales do not usually die instantly and instead die slow, painful deaths.
The demand for whale meat in Norway was steadily decreasing, with less than 5% of Norwegians still eating whale meat, however, there has been a recent uptick in the trend due to government officials loosening whaling regulations so that more people can participate.
Now only one person on whaling vessels needs to have prior experience. Kate O’Connell, a marine animal consultant at the Animal Welfare Institute, told the Guardian that looser restrictions put the whales in danger, “Requiring that only one person on board a whaling vessel have whaling experience, and even then only in one of the previous six years, is woefully insufficient to ensure an instantaneous death for whales.
Rather than seeking to loosen regulations in order to expand the whaling fleet, we believe that Norway should acknowledge that whaling is no longer a necessary industry, and refrain from issuing quotas in defiance of the IWC commercial whaling moratorium.”
This year, Norway’s quota for killing minke whales is 1,278, which is about twice as many as the year before.
Plus, with the relaxed regulations, the whales will suffer even more. Norway needs to end this cruel and unnecessary industry, not try to expand it.
This article was first published on 1 April 2021. Lead Image Source: Islandjems – Jemma Craig/Shutterstock.
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