Norway Kills A Staggering 575 Whales in 2021
Despite international opposition to commercial whaling and declining demand for whale meat, Norwegian whalers still brutally killed 575 minke whales during the 2021 season, which is the highest number killed since 2016.
The International Whaling Commission issued a global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982, which went into effect in 1986, but Norway has formally objected to it and has killed more than 14,000 minke whales since 1993.
For the last three years, it’s issued a self-allocated quota of 1,278 minke whales, although it hasn’t killed as many and the country has continued to face criticism from around the world over concerns that not only is it incredibly cruel, it’s certainly unsustainable — especially considering the fact that many whales who are killed are pregnant females.
Whale hunting is unconscionable for many reasons. Whales are intelligent and lead social and emotional lives. Yet whalers still hunt them with grenade-tipped harpoons, and a significant percentage do not die or fall unconscious immediately, with some experiencing more than 20 minutes of excruciating pain and horror before dying. Whales are keystone species essential to their ecosystems and play a critical role in mitigating the climate crisis. In killing them, humans harm all the other animals who share the ocean with them, and ourselves.
What makes this situation all the more frustrating is that the citizens of Norway do not support whale hunting. The industry remains largely subsidized by the government and is partially propped up by unwitting tourists who consume whale meat. Norwegian whalers have admitted to dumping whale meat overboard, and recently uncovered documents have revealed that whale meat is even sold for dog food.
There is another, better alternative. Whale watching has the potential to play a far larger role in Norway’s economy than dead whales dumped into the ocean or sold as dog food. In fact, whaling is actively detrimental to Norway’s tourism industry, as whaling vessels have been documented killing whales within sight of tourists. Countries such as Iceland and Greenland, which have already created sanctuaries for whales in popular tourist areas, have already shown the way. Peaceful coexistence is the way of the future with whales, not senseless slaughter.
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