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Over 570 whales killed during 2021 hunts in Norway

Noway minke hunt

The highest number of whales killed in Norway since 2016 has been announced just as WDC and partners have released the findings of a new poll showing that most Norwegians don’t want to eat whale meat, and have serious welfare concerns with the hunt.

Despite low demand for whale meat Norwegian whalers killed the highest number of minke whales for five years.

The hunt season came to an official close today, with a total of 575 whales killed and 14 vessels participating in the hunt, according to statistics provided by the Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organization (Råfisklaget). Last year, whalers slaughtered 503 whales.

‘This is nothing short of ecocide,’ said Vanessa Williams-Grey, policy manager at WDC. ‘Killing hundreds of minke whales is utterly inexcusable, especially given the essential role they play in our oceans. Whales are our allies in the battle against climate change.’

However, the higher number of whales killed this season is unlikely to drive increased profits for the whaling industry, according to a new poll commissioned by NOAH, Norway’s largest animal protection NGO, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), and WDC.

Only 2 percent of Norwegians eat whale meat often, down from 4 percent in 2019, according to the recent poll. Among women surveyed, only 1 percent eat whale meat often, while no one under 35 indicated that they eat whale meat frequently. The survey of 1,037 Norwegians, ages 18 to 87, was conducted by Respons Analyse AS earlier this month.

The poll revealed that Norwegian citizens have serious concerns about how the hunts are conducted. For example, nearly two-thirds of respondents agreed that it is unacceptable that almost 1 in 5 whales do not die instantly when shot by a harpoon; 63 percent found it unacceptable that two-thirds of the whales killed are female, nearly half of whom are pregnant.

For full press release, please contact press@whales.org 

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