In the name of animal welfare, the Icelandic government announced on Tuesday that it was suspending whaling until the end of August. “I have taken the decision to temporarily stop whaling” until August 31, Food Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir said, citing the conditions of Iceland’s animal welfare law.
The Icelandic government announced on Tuesday that it was suspending whaling until the end of August, in the name of animal welfare, also hinting that this controversial practice is coming to an end. ‘I have taken the decision to temporarily stop whaling’ until August 31, Food Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir said, based on the conditions of Iceland’s animal welfare law . “If the government and the (hunting) license holders cannot guarantee the welfare requirements, this activity has no future,” added the minister. The last active hunting company in the country, Hvalur, had already announced that this season would be its last due to the declining profitability of fishing.
A decline in the demand for whale meat
Iceland’s whaling season runs from mid-June to mid-September, but activity is unlikely to resume after August 31. The annual quotas authorize the killing of 209 fin whales, the second longest marine mammal after the blue whale, and 217 minke whales. But catches have been significantly lower in recent years due to lower demand for whale meat. And opposition to this practice is now a majority opinion within the population: 51% of Icelanders are opposed to it, against 42% four years ago, shows a survey carried out by the Maskina Institute, the results of which were made public at the beginning of June.
Especially since the killing of these cetaceans takes too long, and is contrary to Icelandic law, according to a report by the country’s veterinary authorities. Videos recently released by these authorities had shown the shocking agony of a whale hunted last year, which lasted for five hours. Iceland, Norway and Japan are the only countries that allow whaling.