Fresh anti-whaling volunteers in Iceland tell tourists ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’
At the beginning of June, the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s campaign ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ started up for the third year running with the first volunteers of the summer season arriving in Reykjavík.
The volunteers themselves come from all corners of the globe and over the past two summers have helped increase awareness of the cruel reality of whaling in Iceland.
They also focus on a positive alternative – encouraging tourists to enjoy a responsible whale watching trip where they will experience the amazing spectacle of whales in their natural environment, supporting the local economy in a cruelty-free way.
The new volunteers will continue to converse with tourists on the streets of Reykjavík, asking them to sign postcards promising not to eat whale meat in Iceland as well as handing out cards giving information about which Icelandic restaurants are ‘whale friendly’, ie, do not serve whale meat.
Last summer the volunteers successfully collected around 16,000 signatures from tourists, and quite a few unsolicited signatures from Icelanders, that were then handed to the Minister of Fisheries.
This summer the aim is to beat the previous total of signatures and secure 20,000, as we expect an increase in tourists arriving to the country in the coming weeks.
The cards handed to tourists carry the logo of Ice Whale, The Icelandic Whale Watching Association, and includes their web address, www.icewhale.is.
From this homepage, tourists and hopefully Icelanders will access information about restaurants in Reykjavík that do not serve whale meat. Last year IFAW published results from a poll that revealed that an overwhelming majority, (around 80%), of tourists were opposed to whaling, a practice sanctioned by the Icelandic government.
Nevertheless, even though the campaign has made great strives in Iceland, there is more work to be done. Sadly, the first minke whales of the season have already been killed and whaler Kristjan Loftsson’s own personal crusade is expected to continue this month when his whaling ships are expected to begin hunting fin whales once more.
Loftsson was in the news recently, including in The Sunday Times (UK), which revealed he has exported fin whale meat to Japan for domestic consumption for pampered canines.
The Meet Us Don’t Eat Us volunteers will continue to spread the message that the cruel and outdated practice of whaling needs to stop for good, while the more sustainable, profitable and humane option of whale watching will prevail, benefiting all nations including Iceland.
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