Norway is killing more whales than Japan and Iceland combined.
They get a lot of praise for their progressive society and high living standard, but at least in one regard, Norway definitely doesn't deserve any praise: whaling. A new report released today, calls on the international community to respond to Norway’s systematic whaling expeditions and efforts to loosen international regulations on whaling.
“As one of the world’s most modern and prosperous countries, Norway’s whaling is an anachronism,” said Dr. Sandra Altherr, biologist with ProWildlife. “Slaughtering whales to eat and trade has no place in Norway and serves only to diminish the country’s international reputation.”
But the country's whaling industry doesn't seem interested in preserving the international reputation. The Norwegian government itself is funding a number of projects to promote not only whale sales, but also alternative commercial products derived from whales, including dietary supplements, medicines, and cosmetics. In fact, whale oil seems to be a highly desired product in the Norwegian cosmetic industry.
“We were stunned that a Norwegian whaling company is actively selling health and beauty products manufactured from whale oil,” said Susan Millward, AWI executive director. “This is not the 1800s. It is incomprehensible that such a modern nation produces skin creams sourced from an inherently cruel industry.”
The sheer number of killed whales is also saddening. Frozen in Time: How Modern Norway Clings to Its Whaling Past, produced by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), OceanCare and Pro-Wildlife, writes that Norway is not only the world's leading whaler, but it kills more whales than the second and third place combined. Also, Norway uses their international leverage to escape criticism and carry on with business as usual.
“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,” stated Sigrid Lüber, OceanCare president. “For as long as this remains the case, Norway will continue to let Iceland and Japan take the heat for whaling and maintain its business as usual.”
It's indeed an anachronic situation, and one that shouldn't really happen -- not when we're talking about a nation like Norway, and not in 2016.