../Morning Post
Posted April 6, 2011

Food Sources

Norwegians have lost their appetite for whale meat

New economic study reveals why Norwegian whaling belongs in the past

Toronto - in the first week of the Norwegian whaling season, three animal welfare groups, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, NOAH-for dyrs rettigheter and Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge, released a new economic study on Norwegian whaling, 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.

Siri Martinsen, Veterinarian in NOAH-for dyrs rettigheter, said: “The Government states that whaling is a non-subsidised activity. Nevertheless, whaling related activites such as promotion, marketing and research are receiving significant government funds. It is absurd that taxpayers’ financial support for whaling is almost as high as the landing value of the meat. These forced attempts to increase the viability of whaling need to end.”

The report highlights the unpopularity of whale meat in Norway, revealing that fewer than five percent of Norwegians eat it regularly. Notably, young people are particularly uninterested in trying whale meat. The low demand is reflected by the whaling industry which counts less than 20 vessels taking part in the annual hunt and estimates that less than one percent of fishermen are whaling – representing a maximum of 50 jobs for this season.

Tanya Schumacher, Marine Mammal Advisor in Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge, said: “It is clear the public has little appetite for the products. It is also a principle of Norwegian animal welfare law, that animals should not suffer unnecessarily. Unfortunately, according to the available government figures, 20% of whales in Norwegian whale hunts do not die immediately and do suffer. Keeping this industry alive defies logic.”

Despite the Norwegian public clearly being concerned about the animal welfare impacts of whaling, the Norwegian Government has replaced whaling inspectors with a less costly automated data collection system, leading to insufficient oversight of killing methods. The three groups are calling for the Government to reintroduce the full inspection system on board all whaling vessels.

Joanna Toole, Oceans Campaigns Coordinator at WSPA, said: “Norwegian whaling is not only inherently cruel, 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 takes notice of these clear facts and reconsiders their whaling policy.”

NOAH-for dyrs rettigheter and Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge will hand over 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.

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