The Washington-based Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) has called on the Norwegian government to stop supporting research into alternative uses for whale meat and blubber, and to finally accept international bans on commercial whaling and trade. The call comes after the AWI cited concerns over contaminated whale products.
“Norway is entirely too focused on making whaling profitable,” Susan Millward, executive director of AWI, stated in a press release issued this week. As a result, according to Millward, Norwegian officials are “ignoring the potential harm the whale products pose to its own citizens and those in other countries.”
The AWI cited Japanese concerns over levels of harmful pesticides in whale meat shipped from Norway to Japan that violated health standards set by the Japanese government. Japanese authorities recommended the products be returned or discarded. The AWI, which tracks whaling and whale exports, reported that Norway has increased its exports of minke whale products over the past two years.
Norwegian demand for whale meat has fallen in recent years, leaving whalers in search of new markets. Whaling remains a traditional industry in Norway that receives both political and financial support despite an international ban that the Norwegian government led by Gro Harlem Brundtland of the Labour Party decided to defy in 1993. Whaling has continued ever since, with 736 minke whales killed last year. The quota, however, has been set at 1,286, also for this year.