Whalers in Iceland have claimed their first victims since the lifting (just a few days ago) of a suspension of the hunts because they broke animal welfare laws.
Incredibly, from pictures taken of the first kills, it seems that fin whales are once again being killed using more than a single shot. Images show two grenade tipped harpoons embedded in some of the whales, which indicates that the hunting methods that brought about the suspension in the first place have not improved.
With limited daylight and deteriorating weather expected, the number of whales to be killed during the resumed whaling season is uncertain, but it seems clear already that new regulations from the Icelandic government have not brought any improvements.
‘WDC will now push for the video material from the official observer on board to be published as soon as possible, as the Icelandic animal protection law is apparently being broken again,’ said Astrid Fuchs, WDC campaign manager.
Though the Icelandic government has decided not to extend the suspension on whaling, WDC is submitting expertise on the legality and ethical aspects of these brutal hunts. The new government regulations that have been laid out do not come into effect until the 18th of September. This means that until then, the whalers are operating under the same licence and in the same manner which was deemed by Iceland's own national authority to be in conflict with Icelandic animal welfare law, and which led to the suspension of whaling licenses earlier in the summer.
We will continue to galvanise support from within Iceland and continue to expose the cruelty of the Icelandic hunts. Whales are our allies in helping to fight climate breakdown – we need more whales to keep the ocean healthy, not more slaughter.