Iceland Whalers Kill Two Endangered Fin Whales

Friday, 19 June, 2009
London, UK
As the first of Iceland’s whaling ships arrived back in port today with two dead fin whales lashed alongside it, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) again urges the Icelandic government to call off this cruel and needless slaughter now. Whalers aim to kill 150 of the endangered species, along with 200 minke whales, during the 2009 season.
IFAW opposes whaling because it is unacceptably cruel – there is no humane way to kill a whale and research has shown that whales shot with explosive harpoons can take more than half an hour to die.

Opinion polling and independent economic research in Iceland has revealed little or no appetite for whale meat, while responsible whale watching, by contrast, is financially lucrative and one of Iceland’s biggest tourist draws.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are disappointed that Iceland has pressed ahead with its whaling quotas, despite widespread opposition. We believe it is in the country’s own interests now more than ever before not to embark on activities which could damage Iceland’s international reputation and its business interests.

“Whaling is cruel, unnecessary and unsustainable. There is little market for whale meat. The best thing for Icelanders as well as for whales would be for the Icelandic government to end whaling now and work instead to protect its valuable whale watching industry.”

Whale watching generates almost £5m a year for coastal communities in Iceland.

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