This Country Wants To Kill Hundreds More Whales This Year
It's not even legal — but they're determined to keep hunting them.
Every year, several hundred minke whales are harpooned and killed in the waters off Norway — and most of the whales who suffer and die these long, painful deaths are pregnant females.
Despite international outcry, Norway just increased the number of minke whales it will allow to be killed this year to 1,278 — up from a quota of 999 last year.
The move is puzzling, since fewer and fewer people want to eat whale meat, according to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC). A 2016 study found that excess whale meat was being fed to minks and foxes being raised for slaughter in fur farms.
Still, Norway stubbornly continues its industry, deliberately ignoring a global moratorium on whale hunting that's been in place since 1986, and killing more whales than Japan and Iceland, the two other countries that continue whaling.
Rising costs of fuel and difficulty finding whales because of changes in climate also pose difficulties for the industry — so no one can really understand why the country is determined to increase its whale-killing quota. Last year, 432 whales were killed, less than half the 2017 quota of allowed killings.
"We are stunned that Norway, as otherwise a leader in nature conservation, kills the most whales worldwide — most of them pregnant females," Nicolas Entrup, a consultant to OceanCare, told The Dodo last year. "We are hopeful that this practice will cease very soon in the face of mounting international protest. There is no need and no place for commercial whaling in the 21st century."
Many advocates hope that, like last year, the number of whales that end up being killed will be far below the increased quota. Even so, the increase feels to many advocates like a threat.
"To be increasing quotas when the industry itself is dying is unnecessarily provocative to the international community that decided decades ago that whales should be protected from hunting," Humane Society International (HSI) added.