Giant finger of blame points at Iceland to condemn whaling

Friday, October 2, 2009
(London – October 2, 2009) – A huge ‘hand’ will appear outside the Icelandic Embassy in London today to join animal welfare campaigners as they literally point the finger of blame at Iceland for its whaling activities.

Representatives from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Campaign Whale, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) are staging the protest to highlight Iceland’s unnecessary killing of more than 200 endangered fin whales and minke whales so far this season.

In total, 125 fin whales and 79 minke whales have been harpooned in recent months. Animal welfare groups are calling on the Icelandic government to heed the international criticism and support responsible whale watching as a humane and profitable alternative to the cruelty of whaling.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are here today to ask Iceland, what is the point of slaughtering whales? We oppose whaling because it is inherently cruel, whales can take more than half an hour to die after being harpooned.

“Whaling is unnecessary. Iceland has killed more than 200 whales including 125 endangered fin whales – yet no market has been found for fin whale meat.”

Earlier in the year, the outgoing Fisheries and Agriculture Minister granted commercial whaling quotas of up to 150 fin whales and 100 minke whales a year for five years.

The current government has kept these kill quotas in place for just one year, but the catch allocation has been increased further to 200 fin whales and 200 minke whales for 2009, despite a limited domestic market for minke whale meat and no market for fin whale meat.

Mr Marsland added that commercial whaling was viewed with disgust by the UK and many other countries.

He said: “There is simply no point in killing endangered whales for the meat to end up in the freezer. Iceland’s actions put it out of step with the rest of Europe. The logical step is to support responsible whale watching, a multi-million pound a year industry, and consign whaling to the history books.”

Andy Ottaway, Director of Campaign Whale, said: “Only a small number of people stand to profit from the cruel slaughter of whales while the country’s reputation, tourism and export markets will suffer. e hope the Icelandic people will realise that killing whales is bad for them, bad for business and bad for Iceland.”

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