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WDC's Lottie Pearson and Ed Goodall sharing our important message outside the Norweigen parliament
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We’re working within Norway to end whaling

Lottie Pearson

Lottie Pearson

Lottie is WDC's campaign coordinator. She works to end whaling in Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

More whales are killed each year by Norwegian whalers than in Japan and Iceland. But we’ve learnt that international protests and criticism won’t end the hunts. Change must come from within Norway. So, we’re adopting a fresh approach by working with likeminded organisations and activists in Norway to inspire Norwegian people to bring an end to the hunts.

My name is Lottie and for those of you who haven’t met me yet, I am WDC’s whaling campaign coordinator. I work mostly on our efforts in Norway, but also on the hunting issues in the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Lottie Pearson, campaign cooridnator at WDC.
Lottie Pearson, campaign cooridnator at WDC.

Our work in Norway is long-standing, and as a Norwegian who has grown up in the country, I am excited to be taking the lead on our in-country efforts to bring an end to the hunts. While Norway’s commercial whaling has been a constant source of heartbreak to the community of conservationists, animal lovers, and scientists, since it returned in 1993, I have a lot of hope for what we can do together and the change we can inspire!

WDC in Norway

To kick off an exciting new phase of our campaign, in January I travelled to Oslo with WDC’s Head of International Engagement, Ed Goodall. Our main goals were to attend a meeting at the Norwegian parliament with a senior politician, visit an old whaling town and museum, and connect with likeminded organisations and activists who are inspiring change in many ways in Norway.

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Hopeful from parliament

As the snow fell, we arrived in Norway full of anticipation and ready to discuss all things whales with an influential politician. It was an introductory meeting, so we weren’t sure what to expect. However, the topics we discussed revealed encouraging developments and gave us hope that whaling in Norway can be stopped. We discussed the current state of whaling in Norway and the issues and controversy of the government’s funding of the industry - although we know whaling is partly funded, it’s still unclear exactly how much money supports it. This was highlighted as an important area of investigation for the politician, and we are now working hard to uncover information about these government subsidies.

Ed Goodall and Lottie Pearson from WDC holding a Save the whale, save the world banner outside the Norweigen Parliament
I felt so proud to be in my home country spreading our important message.

Throughout the meeting, we shared our advice and agreed on many things such as the importance of whales for marine ecosystems and their crucial role in overcoming climate change and reversing the loss of nature. We were pleased to hear that he too understood that a healthy planet needs a healthy ocean, and that means more whales, not fewer. As we left the golden gates of parliament on that dark Oslo evening, we felt optimistic about developing our relationship with government and saving our enormous climate allies from brutal harpoons in Norwegian waters.

Whales help the ocean absorb more carbon and release more oxygen that all of Earth's forests combined.
Whales help the ocean absorb more carbon and release more oxygen that all of Earth's forests combined.

Historic whaling to today’s hunts

The following day, we travelled to Sandefjord, an old whaling town about an hour south of Oslo on the train. I had learnt about Sandefjord in my youth, and how the town and families that still exist there today were built up by money from whaling in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Our visit to the whaling museum in Sandefjord was educational, yet heartbreaking. The exhibitions laid bare the horrifying history of the hunts conducted by exploration vessels in both the Antarctic and Arctic regions. Adding to the sombre atmosphere, jars of formalin containing unborn foetuses, discovered in the mothers who fell victim to the harpoons, were scattered throughout the exhibition hall. It's truly horrible to think that even in recent years, this devastating reality persists. Shockingly, between 2000 and 2015, over 68% of the minkes killed by Norwegian whalers were female, and over 40% of these were pregnant.

Whaling vessel model in Sandefjord whaling museum
Slaughtered whale on whaling vessel model in Sandefjord whaling museum
Whle foetues preserved in jar in Sandefjord whaling museum

Killing a whale cannot be done humanely at sea. This cruel practice must come to an end.

A magnificent blue whale swam over our heads in the display hall. The sheer size of the world's largest mammal is incomprehensible until you see a life-size model fill an entire room. The exhibition detailed that Norwegian whalers had wiped out a vast number of these great populations by the mid-1900s, and a rolling screen listed the deaths of each individual whale by their sex, length and weight. The list seemed never-ending. It was deeply saddening seeing these numbers, especially knowing that these cruel hunts continue today.

Blue whale display in Sandefjord whaling museum
It's hard to comprehend that anyone could kill these incredible giants.

There’s still hope

While in Sandefjord, we were lucky to meet up with our allies from Extinction Rebellion, who were doing an incredible job, in a snowstorm, protesting a conference for distributing new oil and gas licenses in Norway. With other activists and NGO leaders, we spoke about the importance of working together to create change for good, standing up for our planet and its ocean and giving a voice to those who don’t have one.

I have come away from this trip with an immense feeling of hope for my country, and with an optimistic feeling that whaling in Norway has an expiry date. We know that we can influence tangible change, especially when we support and collaborate with other Norwegian NGOs, groups, young activists and influencers who have an abundance of inspiration and are determined to see an end to the industry . Watch this space!

We also want to say a massive thank you to the Jingle Jam community and all those who took part in the Jingle Jam 2023 for helping to fund our urgent work to stop whaling in countries like Norway.

Please help us today with a donation

If you are able to help, every gift, whether large or small, will help us stop whaling in Norway.