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Norway urged to abandon plans to experiment on captured whales

A majestic minke breaches

WDC has teamed up with the Animal Welfare Institute and NOAH (Norway’s largest NGO for animals) to urge the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) to revoke its approval of a potentially cruel and dangerous experiment on wild minke whales.  The research aims to capture whales off Vestvågøy in the Lofoten area of northern Norway to study how their brains respond to ocean noise.

According to a permit issued by Mattilsynet, the project is expected to take place from 15th June to 22nd May and restart in 2022.  A mile-wide net will be used to herd migrating juvenile minke whales into an enclosure, before they are cornered inside a small, modified aquaculture cage.  Once the whales are trapped, the researchers will try to measure their brain waves to determine how they might react to naval sonar and noise from oil and gas exploration.  As many as 12 whales could be held captive for as long as four days before being released.

'This research project is alarming for several reasons,' said Dr. Siri Martinsen, veterinarian with NOAH. 'We are very concerned for the welfare of the involved whales, as these circumstances are very likely to cause them stress and may even impact their health. There is a significant risk that the whales will panic once they are trapped, causing them to thrash or flail about, which could lead to serious injuries as they attempt to flee.'

The researchers have proposed using sedation to calm whales who display signs of stress and will even go as far as stunning them in emergency situations. Vanesa Tossenberger, policy director with WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, cautioned that 'little is known about sedating or stunning wild whales and dolphins, and it is therefore rarely attempted. Available data indicate that sedation of baleen whales in the wild could be life-threatening.'

'If a minke whale, even a juvenile, were to respond with great force, it also could be extremely dangerous for the human researchers,' added Susan Millward, director of AWI’s marine programme.  'Since whale reactions can be unpredictable, we believe that these researchers — particularly those in the water — will be at risk of serious injury. It is simply not worth taking a chance, particularly when existing research already tells us how baleen whales are affected by ocean noise.'

We are also concerned about the potential impacts to other species, including marine mammals and seabirds that could become entangled in the various nets used to cordon off the research area.

Read WDC's letter of complaint.

Take action

Please send an email to Ingunn Midttun Godal the CEO of Mattilsynet (this is the Norwegian Food Safety Authority which also covers animal welfare).

Urge her to cancel this project.

Her email address is: ingunn.midttun.godal@mattilsynet.no

If you are in the UK, please cc your email to the Norwegian Embassy in London: emb.london@mfa.no

Thank you!

You can copy and paste our template email but do feel free to use or add your own words:

Dear Ingunn Midttun Godal

Cc His Excellency the Ambassador to the Royal Norwegian Embassy in the United Kingdom, Mr. Wegger Chr. Strømmen

I urge you to cancel the cruel and dangerous experiment on wild minke whales planned to take place off Vestvågøy in May and June.

The proposed research is likely to cause the whales terrible stress which could create a dangerous situation for both whales and researchers.

I am concerned by the suggestion that researchers may sedate and even stun the whales. The little that is known about this type of procedure tells us that it is too risky to attempt.

Science already tells us what we need to know about how human-made noise affects minke and other baleen whales, so the proposed study is unnecessary and will expose the whales to considerable trauma, potentially even resulting in their death.

It is unacceptable to subject whales to such an experiment. If the project is not stopped, it will lead to considerable suffering for the individual whales and damage Norway's good reputation among the international public.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Please help us stop whale exploitation in Norway

Your donation will help us oppose these horrendous experiments and fight Norwegian whaling.

Main image under license.

Julia Pix

About Julia Pix

Communications manager - Public Engagement

84 Comments

  1. Avatar Barbara Miranda on 16th April 2021 at 11:47 am

    Cruelty has no limits!

    • Avatar Rosie Munn on 22nd April 2021 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you for this. I have emailed, adding that if it is confirmed that gas and oil exploration and naval sonar activities are harmful it ous unlikely to stop anyway.
      Our duty is to protect ocean wildlife and not torment it.

    • Avatar Anne marie Tetsill on 22nd April 2021 at 4:54 pm

      Please stop this unecessary cruelty and end killing these beautiful creatures. Please please stop now.

    • Avatar Marty Price on 22nd April 2021 at 6:13 pm

      Norway along with Denmark and Japan seem to have no limits to their criminal activities concerning marine life. Whether it be whales or dolphins these countries actions are despicable. I look at labels and anything imported from these countries I don’t buy.

    • Avatar Cay on 22nd April 2021 at 6:17 pm

      These people disgust me pain and death monsters!!

    • Avatar Tony Browne on 23rd April 2021 at 1:19 pm

      Agree completely. Have penned my own email to this barbaric nation: Living in the Dark Ages! Shameful and not worthy of a modern day country

  2. Avatar Petbunny4 on 19th April 2021 at 6:14 am

    Emailed and outraged. Scientific research on sonar damage due to military exercises is available from 2009. This is a totally gratuitous and cruel experiment.

    Does Norway want to add to it’s whaling atrocities and the appalling behaviour of the Faroe Islands, who slaughter many hundreds of whales each year.

  3. Avatar L m on 22nd April 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Please abandon plans to experiment on these creatures

  4. Avatar Adrienne on 22nd April 2021 at 1:01 pm

    emailed

  5. Avatar Coleen Munce on 22nd April 2021 at 1:24 pm

    Leave these beautiful mammals alone , you are doing more harm than good !

  6. Avatar António Seven on 22nd April 2021 at 1:33 pm

    All togheter
    Make change be reality
    For our future
    Out future generations
    The children we all once have been
    Action
    Bravery
    Reclaim
    Count me in
    Now @Azores S.Miguel island

  7. Avatar Charmaine Whalley on 22nd April 2021 at 2:01 pm

    These beautiful Whales & Dolphins have every right to live.We need them in the seas just like all the other animals don’t be like Japan. save these beautiful Whales Dolphins.

  8. Avatar Eileen Wild on 22nd April 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Absolutely tragic, leave them where they are and keep them safe. People are so utterly stupid and insensitive, we have no right whatsoever to interfere in wildlife except to save them from cruelty.

  9. Avatar Gail Reardon on 22nd April 2021 at 3:28 pm

    It is never ending the ignorance of humans

  10. Avatar John Tyler on 22nd April 2021 at 4:07 pm

    Stop the slaughter of whaled

  11. Avatar John Graham on 22nd April 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Please Norway, this was my favourite country on the planet I worked in Oslo, I have many many Norwegian friends, they will now all know about this and i am sure they will be shamed by this, Save your reputation as a caring nation by STOPPING this horror, it shames your people and it shames your flag, it shames me to think of how I used to regard Norway and the Norwegians

  12. Avatar Barry Ellis on 22nd April 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Emailed and outraged. Scientific research on sonar damage due to military exercises is available from 2009. This is a totally gratuitous and cruel experiment.
    Does Norway want to add to it’s whaling atrocities and the appalling behaviour of the Faroe Islands, who slaughter many hundreds of whales each year.

  13. Avatar Barry Armstrong on 22nd April 2021 at 4:14 pm

    BASTARDS….. ABSOLUTE BASTARDS!!!

  14. Avatar John Dewick Haigh on 22nd April 2021 at 4:17 pm

    This is cruel and unacceptable, why does Norway continue with this barbaric cruelty, you must stop these are not yours to do as you wish they are free and wild and this persecution that leads to untimely death is a disgrace, hang your heads in shame Norway.😡😡😡

  15. Avatar Tara on 22nd April 2021 at 4:18 pm

    I have just emailed them. No country is perfect, but the abuse of sea creatures makes me especially sick for some reason. We don’t belong there and yet we torment and murder them.

    I am nearly 40 and have spent 25 years hoping to visit Norway one day. I never will at this rate. Monsters.

  16. Avatar Claire Whetton on 22nd April 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Stop this madness

  17. Avatar Costas Pikatsa on 22nd April 2021 at 4:20 pm

    It’s disgusting, atrocious stop killing theses beautiful animals

  18. Avatar Maxine Pearson on 22nd April 2021 at 4:23 pm

    The email address does not seem to work?

  19. Avatar Hunt Lynne on 22nd April 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Stop now. Have you no moral compass?

  20. Avatar Angie Brown on 22nd April 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Hi I have just sent an email, when will we as a race realise what we are doing and how disrespectful of our amazing planet and the creatures that live on it to. Our seas and ocean are overdue respect. Things like this make me so angry

  21. Avatar Chris Osborne on 22nd April 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Stop this barbaric behaviour

  22. Avatar Wendy Harris-Weaving on 22nd April 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Further evidence of the cruelty of man and the arrogant belief that animal kind is there for our abuse…it isn’t. Such cruelty to these magnificent, sentient beings is abhorrent and must be opposed. People are allegedly the superior species but I see very little evidence of it. What are we without respect and compassion for other species?

  23. Avatar Sara Jobling on 22nd April 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Absolutely appalled by this development. This inhumane activity should not be allowed to proceed. Norwegians nor any other nation should assume that they can interfere with marine mammals for superfluous reasons when scientific discoveries serve our knowledge more than adequately. This is an outrage.

  24. Avatar Mark Taha on 22nd April 2021 at 4:42 pm

    Save the whales!

  25. Avatar Steven Calder on 22nd April 2021 at 4:51 pm

    Cruelty is never right

  26. Avatar Sandy Illan on 22nd April 2021 at 4:59 pm

    No more atrocities to helpless creatures

  27. Avatar Clive Joel on 22nd April 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Leave these beautiful animals alone

  28. Avatar wayne on 22nd April 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Words fail me.

  29. Avatar Judith Ann Deville. on 22nd April 2021 at 5:13 pm

    Leave these magnificent whales alone to live their natural lives. They are not human property!!!😡😡

  30. Avatar Lula on 22nd April 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Stop killing our wildlife

  31. Avatar stuart poole on 22nd April 2021 at 5:24 pm

    Please stop this it’s not right to do these things to any animals of the earth, are we not looking for a better and different way to treat animals. I feel bad for you.

  32. Avatar carol oakes on 22nd April 2021 at 5:43 pm

    What is going wrong with Norway i thought they were civilized people but just like like Canada who club baby seals they are not

  33. Avatar Janet Lythall on 22nd April 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Disgusting behaviour I will never visit Norway again

  34. Avatar Kim Bowen-Wood on 22nd April 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Emailed, outraged and shared on social media.

  35. Avatar Laura Collins on 22nd April 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Emailed and outraged. Scientific research on sonar damage due to military exercises is available from 2009. This is a totally gratuitous and cruel experiment.

    Does Norway want to add to it’s whaling atrocities and the appalling behaviour of the Faroe Islands, who slaughter many hundreds of whales each year?

  36. Avatar Keith Hobbs on 22nd April 2021 at 6:22 pm

    I am very saddened to learn about your proposed tests on these wonderful creatures

  37. Avatar Isobel Chirray on 22nd April 2021 at 6:31 pm

    This is a cruel and unjust process on any mammals . I have emailed my objection. The world is not stopping anywhere with cruelty to wildlife whether it is capture or killing. I am apauled at this.

  38. Avatar Frances Lorraine Nicholson on 22nd April 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Unconscionable, cruel, pointless, needless. Just another example of the boundless cruelty of humans. We are truly a virus on this stunning planet & its fauna. We need to be eradicated .

  39. Avatar Karen Summers on 22nd April 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Experimenting on intelligent sentient beings is unacceptable and abhorrent

  40. Avatar mandy Brown on 22nd April 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Humans have NO RIGHT.

  41. Avatar Jeffrey Williams on 22nd April 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Stop it-t! Sentient animals need empathetic support not cruel self gratifying experimentation!

  42. Avatar Neil Powell on 22nd April 2021 at 7:19 pm

    Cruel unessasry evil.

  43. Avatar John Weeks on 22nd April 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Just stop this unnecessary cruelty

  44. Avatar Jennifer E Russell on 22nd April 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Stop this horrendous torture of whales, it is wrong and cruel.

  45. Avatar Luisa on 22nd April 2021 at 7:49 pm

    I have emailed – this article is a heartbreaking read

  46. Avatar MRS SUSAN M REDSHAW on 22nd April 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Copied and sent.

  47. Avatar Siv White on 22nd April 2021 at 8:58 pm

    We know ships and sonar spoil whale communication. What are you trying to do, prove how sad a whale can be. Leave them alone, stop hunting them and respect others.

  48. Avatar Sarah on 22nd April 2021 at 8:58 pm

    Have sent an email. Amazed that we are in 2021 and experiments such as these are still allowed to continue.

  49. Avatar Sue Josmore on 22nd April 2021 at 9:23 pm

    Back off and leave the whales alone! Do not experiment on them!!!!

  50. Avatar Rosalind Kay on 22nd April 2021 at 9:42 pm

    The effect of noise on the brain can be done on a human brain.Because the whales have no human communication physiology and can’t scream STOP this is not licence to torture them to investigate something we already know.Ask a fellow human being.Common sense gives all the answers But this smells of fat pay checks under the pretext of giving someone a job ,.It’s sick and immoral and must be stopped.These people have no moral compass

  51. Avatar Ann Hughes Devereaux on 22nd April 2021 at 10:11 pm

    This is so wrong.. we All know that noise pollution is detrimental for sea life, Especially for the mammals.. please stop.

  52. Avatar robert dowling on 22nd April 2021 at 10:41 pm

    whales and all animals are not there for humans to do what they want PERIOD.

  53. Avatar h.v.reynolds on 22nd April 2021 at 10:45 pm

    IT’S ABOUT TIME THE LIKES OF THESE PEOPLE GOTBIT INTO THEIR HEADS THAT THERE ARE MORE WAYS

  54. Avatar Happy poppy on 22nd April 2021 at 11:07 pm

    We can’t be cruel and say we are not cetacean or animal abusers, this is on the World. The whales belong to no human and no nation, this is why we all have a right and duty to stop the suffering, end the torture and stop the pain on cetaceans for human gain.

  55. Avatar Peter Thompson on 22nd April 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Please do not experiment on whales. This is cruel and totally unnecessary.

  56. Avatar Brooke McNair on 22nd April 2021 at 11:15 pm

    Absolutely Horrific…They have No right to do this..Please make it Stop

  57. Avatar Peter Thompson on 22nd April 2021 at 11:16 pm

    Please do not experiment. This is cruel and abhorrent.

  58. Avatar Debby Cash on 22nd April 2021 at 11:27 pm

    This is disgusting. It’s time humans stopped there cruelty to, and destruction of, both wildlife and habitat. Often the animal so pitifully slaughtered proves to have more significance in their environment than these butchers realise.We need to wake up because in the long term we are destroying ourselves

  59. Avatar Giselda Phillips on 22nd April 2021 at 11:53 pm

    Human beings are wretched creatures!

  60. Avatar Jean Le Marquand on 23rd April 2021 at 2:01 am

    I find Norway’s proposal to capture and perform sonar experiments on whales disturbing on soo
    many fronts; for one thing, capture alone would be extremely stressful to the whale and the pod
    from which the whale was taken will be stressed as well. Furthermore, the time and energy and
    expense would be better spent fighting against naval sonar experiments and educating the public
    about the harm to whales. Lastly, Norway’s reputation will suffer as a result of this misguided and
    inhumane testing.

  61. Avatar Chris Lock on 23rd April 2021 at 5:49 am

    This should not be considered, Scandinavians have never been good at animal welfare, although they can protect their own cod stocks

  62. Avatar Joy winham on 23rd April 2021 at 7:26 am

    Why torture beautiful animals, leave them alone to live their lives. Nature and our planet is dying at an alarming rate so please stop this cruelty
    We are the guardians of this planet but countries like yours are destroying it

  63. Avatar Daphne Dear on 23rd April 2021 at 7:58 am

    Just another method devised to torture these beautiful creatures and create jobs for the boys. What an absolute disgrace these scientists are to the the Human race. Selfish, cruel endlessly uncaring about any living creature but themselves

  64. Avatar Vanda Mica-Hawkyard on 23rd April 2021 at 9:03 am

    Isn’t this just an underhand way of increasing the number of Minke Whales Norway intends to remove from the oceans this year? There isn’t anything – no revelation that could be contributed to the present scientific research. Observations, carefully carried out to determine the impact on animals in their ‘natural’ environment is genuinely of interest – the detrimental effects of human activity on the ‘natural’ world. Squashing animals into confined spaces and asking them to respond ‘honestly’ is the same as subjecting prisoners to torture and making them smile. Sadistic strategies like this have no place in understanding the consequences of Man’s actions on the Planet.

  65. Avatar PHILIP W on 23rd April 2021 at 9:12 am

    Leave these beautiful innocent creatures, I thought Norway was a king civilised country!

  66. Avatar Tony Thouless on 23rd April 2021 at 9:25 am

    No cruelty to these wonderful animals has any place in modern society and hat coupled with the horrific cruelty inflicted to whales and dolphin in the Faroe Islands is a disgusting practice to be still carried out in 2021.

    Scientists have proved that eating whale flash is not good for humans so to slaughter these enigmatic and intelligent animals under the guise that is part of their heritage is totally abhorrent in these modern times and should be banned.

  67. Avatar Julie Robinson on 23rd April 2021 at 10:32 am

    I have emailed on behalf of my family. Thank you for the notification. This is a very concerning matter.

  68. Avatar Caroline Beevis on 23rd April 2021 at 1:58 pm

    I have just sent the email. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a difference.

  69. Avatar Caroline Devere on 23rd April 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Highly irresponsible given the current climate with our seas and pollution. For such a developed nation such as Norway I would have thought the ethical and intelligent route to take would be to preserve sea life and not exploit it when it is at it’s weakest.

  70. Avatar sandra mills on 23rd April 2021 at 6:17 pm

    The oceans belong to the sea creatures that live in there, its their home they share with there family and friends why can’t bad humans who harm them leave them to enjoy there lives in peace.

  71. Avatar Mark marlow on 23rd April 2021 at 8:08 pm

    A decent human wouldn’t want to do this.

  72. Avatar Paul S Lott on 24th April 2021 at 6:49 am

    Hi WDC – thanks for highlighting the intention of Norway’s government to carryout these cruel experiments I have emailed and donated.

    Keep up the good work WDC!

  73. Avatar Karen Francis Moore on 24th April 2021 at 8:12 am

    This must be stopped, you are dealing with highly intelligent animals, what damage can be done. Horrendous cruelty.

  74. Avatar Sheri V on 24th April 2021 at 11:03 am

    Done! Also added a sentence about sedation of any wild animals comes with risk, and many do die as a result.

  75. Avatar Maria Banks on 24th April 2021 at 11:43 am

    I have emailed today. How is it possible that this is still happening?! Hoping our lobbying will make an impact and influence this despicable research.

  76. Avatar Kat.W on 25th April 2021 at 3:32 am

    Sent an email. Thank you for alerting me to this issue. The reason that I originally adopted a dolphin with WDC is because I watched a horrific massacre of dolphins and whales in the Faroe Islands which was deeply distressing that people can cause such destruction and suffering. And now this Norway, just stop.

  77. Avatar Natalie Klötzer on 25th April 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Unbelievable that this can still happen in 2021!

  78. Avatar J. Grace on 26th April 2021 at 3:10 am

    I cannot believe the Norwegian public support this project..perhaps they have not been informed of the harm it will do to these v v intelligent
    Mammals. They are able to communicate between themselves and have a better caring ability than some human beings. Don’t carry this out Please !

  79. Avatar John Burniston on 28th April 2021 at 2:33 pm

    We defend our country using weapons,the peaceful minks are defenceless.Overpowering unnecessaryiely is barbaric-shameful

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