Monday, April 18, 2011

Number Crunching In Norway

The Nrthrn.Hemisphere whaling season began on April 1st., but it is no joking matter.
Norway is one of only three countries defying the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling (along with Iceland and Japan). While many feel the Faroe Islands should also be on that list, the ban does not specifically include the smaller pilot whales butchered there annually.
Despite international opposition, Norway has killed over 9,500 whales since 1993. Between now and August, it hopes to kill 1,286 minkes (although it generally seems to catch only half its annual quota).
The Norwegian govt’s own data shows that at least 20% of whales do not die straight away, but suffer long agonising deaths. In 2010 investigators filmed the death throes of a minke harpooned by a Norwegian vessel... over 22 minutes! The footage shows there's no humane way to kill whales. Indeed, despite considerable investment and research by Norway, a more suitable killing method has never been found... but it still maintains that the argument - of whaling being cruel - is NOT enough to stop the hunts!
Perhaps it will be the money that talks loudest. Three animal welfare groups have released an economic study, revealing the Norwegian public’s appetite for whale meat is at an all-time low and the whaling industry is unlikely to survive without substantial financial support at taxpayers’ expense. The whalers themselves acknowledge their profits are slumping with smaller catches and fewer vessels involved in the hunts.
Norway says whaling is non-subsidised... but promotion, marketing and research do receive significant government funds. It is absurd that taxpayers’ financial support for whaling is almost as high as the value of the meat (just as is the case in Japan). Fewer than 5% of Norwegians eat whalemeat regularly. Notably, young people are particularly uninterested in trying it. The low demand is reflected by the fact that less than 20 vessels take part in the annual hunt and that less than 1% of fishermen are whaling – a maximum of 50 jobs this season.
As blogged in the past, Norway and Iceland export whalemeat to Japan - ironic when the industry there is suffering the same lack of support. Norway also exports to the Faroe Islands, despite Faroese' claims to the contrary.
This study illustrates why Norway needs to question its logic in sustaining an industry which is not only already in decline but also has diminished public support. Only a fool would deny that whaling is not only inherently cruel, it is also neither wanted nor needed.

1 comment:

Mad Bush Farm said...

It's an unsustainable 'industry' if we can call it that. If you've seen 'The Cove' Japan is busily paying off smaller countries to sustain it's position in the IWC to continue with whaling as I have now doubt Norway is doing as well. Unnecessary indeed it is. While they're killing whales in the most inhumane of ways - it's hastening the road to extinction. Great post!