A report by leading environmental consultancy eftec, released on 4 April, in the first week of the Norwegian whaling season, illustrates how Norwegian attitudes to whaling and eating whale meat have changed, moving away from these cruel practices, thus leaving the industry on its knees, propped up by public funds.
Fewer than five percent of Norwegians eat whale meat regularly, with younger generations showing particular disinterest in trying it. Whaling itself is a seasonal activity which as the report reveals, less than one percent of fishermen and fewer than 20 vessels participate in each year.
The Norwegian industry receives substantial financial support at tax payers’ expense. Whaling-related activites such as promotion, marketing and research receive significant government funds, despite evidence that the Norwegian public do not support this use of public funds. As a result, taxpayers’ financial support for whaling is almost as high as the landing value of the meat.
WSPA, together with Norwegian partner groups Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge and NOAH-for dyrs rettigheter, believe that the eftec report, reflecting months of extensive research, provides the Norwegian government with clear evidence to rethink their whaling policy.
No excuses for whaling remain
Despite the Norwegian public clearly being concerned about the animal welfare impacts of whaling, the report shows the Norwegian Government has replaced whaling inspectors with a less costly, automated data collection system, leading to insufficient oversight of killing methods.
Joanna Toole, Oceans Campaigns Coordinator at WSPA, said: “Not only is Norwegian whaling inherently cruel, as this report shows, it is neither wanted nor needed. With this economic argument bolstering our argument against whaling on welfare grounds, it is about time that the Norwegian Government take notice of these clear facts and reconsider their whaling policy.”
On 5th April, WSPA’s partners handed a copy of the report to the leader of the Trade and Industry Committee in the Norwegian parliament urging him to make whaling a thing of the past.