Animal rights groups slam Norway's whaling industry

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The report alleges that Norway has escaped international scrutiny over its whaling industry. Photo: Martin Cathrae/Flickr
14:22 CEST+02:00
A report alleges that Norway has been mostly shielded from scrutiny by the international community.

According to a recently-released report, Norway now leads the world in whaling, killing more whales than Iceland and Japan combined within the past two years.

The joint report from the Animal Welfare Institute, OceanCare and Pro-Wildlife accused Norway of having systematically improved market conditions for its own whalers by weakening rules.

“As one of the world’s most modern and prosperous countries, Norway’s whaling is an anachronism. Slaughtering whales to eat and trade has no place in Norway and serves only to diminish the country’s international reputation," ProWildlife biologist Sandra Altherr said in a press release.

The repot, titled 'Frozen in Time: How Modern Norway Clings To Its Whaling Past', also exposed how Norway undermines the ban on commercial whaling imposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). This includes shipments transiting through European ports on their way to Japan, which is a sort of lifeline for the Norwegian whaling industry.

According to the report, the Norwegian government is involved in financially supporting projects that use products derived from whales such as dietary supplements and cosmetics. The report pointed to Norwegian company Myklebust Hvalprodukter, which announced in 2015 that it would be producing a new skin cream derived from whale oil.  

“We were stunned that Norwegian whaling company is actively selling health and beauty products manufactured from whale oil. This is not the 1800s,” said Susan Millward, the executive director at Animal Welfare Institute.

When compared to other countries engaged in commercial whaling, such as Japan and Iceland, the report said Norway stands out due to a lack of scrutiny in its domestic industry.

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“The IWC has not formally commented on Norway’s whaling since 2001 and the international community has not presented a demarche to Norway since 2006”, noted Sigrid Lüber, OcenCare’s president.

The report concluded that the IWC and the governments aligned to it should “compel Norway to cease commercial whaling and trade in whale products.”

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