Thousands show their support for whales at annual Whalefest
Staff and volunteers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) took part in the third annual Whalefest event in Brighton at the weekend.
Whalefest enables IFAW to join lots of other campaign groups as well as whale watching organisations to celebrate everything whale-related with thousands of members of the public interested in finding out more about the amazing animals which inhabit our oceans.
For IFAW it provides a fantastic opportunity to talk to members of the public about our work to protect whales around the world from the many threats they sadly face, including commercial whaling.
Also on IFAW.org: Chasing through London to save wildlife
This year IFAW focussed on our work in Iceland, where we campaign for an end to commercial whaling and promote responsible whale watching as an alternative to this cruel and outdated industry. Along with Icewhale, the Association of Icelandic whale watch operators, IFAW runs a ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ campaign in Iceland, encouraging tourists visiting the country to support responsible whale watching but to avoid sampling whale meat.
In addition, a Whale Friendly Restaurants scheme promotes restaurants which pledge not to serve whale meat. Almost 50% of restaurants in downtown Reykjavik have so far signed up and display a Whale Friendly logo to tourists.
Thank you to the hundreds of Whalefest visitors who signed our pledge cards promising not to eat whale meat in Iceland, and to tell others about their experiences of Icelandic restaurants which have chosen to either serve whale meat or declare themselves whale friendly.
We also shared our Whalefest stand with some of the Marine Conservation Research team who conduct practical conservation-focussed projects internationally on threatened whales and dolphins and their habitats. This non-invasive research is conducted from the vessel R/V Song of the Whale, a purpose-built sailing research vessel which allows the team to study cetaceans without harming them.
Whalefest visitors were able to find out more about the team’s vital work in a talk by Senior Research Scientist Dr Olly Boisseau. The valuable data gained by non-invasive research shows that it is not necessary to kill whales to study them.
We were also pleased to meet local MP Mike Weatherley, who visited the stand to show his support for our work to protect whales. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Whalefest!
For more information about IFAW efforts to help protect whales, visit our campaign page.