Iceland Suspends Whaling On Its Hvalur 8, One Of Two Remaining Whaling Vessels

Update: Icelandic whaling vessel, Hvalur 8, which has been hunting fin whales since September 1st, has been ordered to suspend its operations. The order is due to failing to kill one whale quickly enough, in violation of the country’s Animal Welfare Act per the Icelandic Veterinary Authority.

The decision comes just one week after the hunting of whales resumed following the government’s decision to authorize the horrific archaic practice.

Svandís Svavarsdóttir, it’s time to put an END to whaling once and for all!

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Photo by: Arne Feuerhahn, Hard To Port

August 31st: Shocking news as the Icelandic government announced that they will allow the resumption of commercial whaling beginning on September 1st, with the introduction of so-called “improvements,” despite clear evidence of immense animal suffering. 

Icelandic Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir issued the decision today to resume whaling based on the advice from a working group that improvements could be made to the hunting methods used. This is outrageous!

The Minister’s announcement comes despite the suspension of whaling in June of this year after the publication of an independent report by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority revealed that some whales killed in Icelandic hunts had taken up to two hours to die, with 41% of whales suffering immensely before dying. At the time, the Minister declared concerns that whale killing methods contravened the country’s Animal Welfare Act.

“It is inexplicable that Minister Svavarsdóttir has dismissed the unequivocal scientific evidence that she herself commissioned, demonstrating the brutality and cruelty of commercial whale killing. There is simply no way to make harpooning whales at sea anything other than cruel and bloody, and no amount of modifications will change that,” said Ruud Tombrock, Humane Society International/Europe’s executive director.

“Whales already face a myriad of threats in the oceans, including pollution, climate change, entanglement in fishing nets, and ship strikes. Fin whale victims of Iceland’s whaling fleet are considered globally vulnerable to extinction. The need for whale protection is so critical. this is a devastating rejection of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end the slaughter at sea. There is a new shameful entry in the conservation history books―Iceland had a chance to do the right thing and it chose not to.”  

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) agreed to enact a global moratorium on all commercial whaling in 1986. Sadly, Iceland left the IWC in 1992, but returned in 2002 with an exception to the moratorium, despite objections from multiple nations.  Since re-joining the IWC, Iceland has killed more than 1,500 whales, including many fin whales.

Iceland suspended the hunting of fin whales in 2016 due to a declining market for whale meat in Japan. Hunting resumed in the 2018 season when 146 fin whales were killed, including a pregnant female and a rare fin-blue hybrid whale, plus six minke whales. Icelandic whalers killed a single minke whale between 2019 and 2021, and 148 fin whales in 2022.

Fin whales are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as globally vulnerable to extinction despite decades of recovery since the commercial whaling moratorium.

Please Take Action Today By Signing Hvalavinir Hreyfingin’s Petition Urging The Icelandic Government To Ban Whaling Once And For All!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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