Animal Protection Groups Urge Iceland to Stop Eating Whales as ‘Taste of Iceland’ Opens in Washington DC

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Washington, D.C. -- As celebrations begin for "A Taste of Iceland" in the nation’s capital this week, Animal Welfare Institute, Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States do not celebrate the fact that Iceland continues to kill whales for commercial purposes in spite of an international ban on commercial whaling. Iceland has been ramping up its kills of fin and minke whales in recent years, with its current self-allotted quota standing at 100 minke whales and 150 endangered fin whales - a figure more than three times greater than that which scientists say is sustainable.

Iceland is also defying the global ban on trade in whale products. In the past three years it has exported whale meat to the Faroe Islands, Japan and Latvia and whale oil to Belarus and Norway, and "other frozen products" to Japan.

"While we won’t see whale meat on the menu at the 'Taste of Iceland' events because it is illegal to serve in this country, we should take this opportunity to urge the government to stop whaling," said Kitty Block, vice president of HSI. "Killing whales for commercial gain is objectionable and Iceland’s ongoing campaign to revive its whaling industry has damaged its reputation and undermined diplomatic relationships."

The majority of the American public and most countries around the world strongly oppose Iceland’s whaling and trade in the meat from these hunts. In November, the United States condemned Iceland’s whaling and trade in whale products and the U.S. Secretaries of Commerce and Interior are currently considering taking actions that may result in trade sanctions against the country.

"The activities of a few Icelanders bring shame to an otherwise beautiful country. People visit Iceland because of its pristine and stunningly dramatic landscapes, of which the whales are an integral part," said Susan Millward, executive director of the Animal Welfare Institute. "To kill and sell these animals for quick profits defies logic and is certainly not the taste of Iceland many would expect."

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Media Contacts:
Susan Millward, AWI, (202) 446-2123, susan@awionline.org
Kristen Eastman, HSUS, (301) 721-6440, keastman@humanesociety.org

Since 1951 the Animal Welfare Institute has been dedicated to alleviating suffering inflicted on animals by humans through advocacy and public outreach as well as engagement with policy makers. Visit us at www.awionline.org.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at
www.hsi.org.