Iceland, Norway and Japan are three of the largest countries still hunting whales on a enormous scale, flouting international restrictions despite a ban on commercial takes which was put in place over 30 years ago by the organisation who regulate whaling the IWC (International Whaling Commission).
Contrary to popular belief, in Iceland less than 2% of the population consume whale meat (it being more popular for the ‘novelty’ factor with tourists) it is also exported to Japan where demand is higher. In Norway there is little demand for whale meat and still they are committed to continuing hunting despite the fact it has been proven that it is not possible to humanely kill a large animal such as a whale, in open water – causing unnecessary suffering. It is not just large whales which are hunted. In Peru, although cetacean hunting and killing has been prohibited, the practice of killing dolphins continues in secret, undertaken by fishermen in small boats using nets and harpoons. The meat is then sold in local markets where demand is high.
Japanese whaling is said to support scientific research, however most of the whale meat ends up in restaurants and supermarkets, or in the case of Norway even in pet foods. In both Japan and Norway the whaling industry is subsidised by their respective governments so why are they determined to continue with an industry which is not only unprofitable but also demand for the ‘product’ is in decline? Whaling is unnecessary, cruel and does nothing for the reputation of the countries who continue to cling on to the argument that what they are doing is ‘traditional’.