Iceland is one of the few countries that continues to kill whales for profit. Over this summer’s hunting season, eleven pregnant whales were killed, their fetuses strewn across the flensing decks of the whaling ships.
In an astonishing twist of logic, Kristján Loftsson, who runs Iceland’s one and only whaling company, said that killing pregnant females is a good thing, showing that whale populations will continue to grow. The reality is, however, that expecting mothers often can’t swim as far and fast as those who aren’t with child, rendering them more vulnerable to whaler’s relentless harpoons. Loftsson is reputedly the richest man in Iceland. He is certainly the greediest!
Iceland’s whaling laws state it is illegal for whalers to kill mothers with calves; however, since it is difficult to determine a whale’s state of pregnancy, these rules don’t apply to pregnant whales. This is just one example of how this unethical industry is getting a free pass from the government.
Iceland’s whaling has always been on thin ice. The country quit the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994, but then rejoined in 2002. However, in rejoining the IWC, Iceland made a formal objection to the moratorium on commercial whaling, allowing them to continue commercial whaling.
While normally, under IWC rules, taking an objection relieves the country of following the IWC rule(s) objected to, it is likely highly illegal under international law that Iceland joined the IWC while taking exception to a key component of that international agreement at the outset, namely, the moratorium on whaling approved by a ¾ vote of the member countries. In 2002, the US, among other countries, questioned the legality of this move.
Iceland promptly issued itself whale quotas.
Furthermore, Iceland sells most of its whale meat to Japan, a violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Icelanders themselves consume little whale meat.
The industry is increasingly becoming at odds with the rest of the country, including the whale watching industry which has been booming in recent years. Additionally, local groups have been ramping up pressure on the government to put a permanent end to whaling.
Iceland’s entire whaling industry is meant to make money for a man who already has more money than anyone else in Iceland.
The Icelandic government should listen to its people and put an end to this cruelty for good.