Despite a worldwide moratorium accepted by nearly every civilized country on earth and
mounting opposition among its own citizens, the government of Iceland has decided to allow the
slaughter of up to 129 fin whales in coming months.

On June 11, the country’s Food Minister Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir announced that the
country’s last whale-killing company, Hvalur hf., will be issued an annual license to hunt
down 99 fin whales in the Greenland/West Iceland region, as well as 29 whales in the
East Iceland/Faroe Islands region, reports IFLScience.

“These wondrous, sentient, highly intelligent whales are not Iceland’s to kill, and shame
on the country’s leaders for thinking they have that right,” said Priscilla Feral, president
of Friends of Animals. “Any ethical person would cancel a visit to Iceland and forget
about traveling there or buying Icelandic products until their foolish leaders commit to a
total, permanent ban.”

The shocking development comes after Icelandic authorities suspended the 2023 whale-
killing season of fin whales just a day before it was supposed to start last June. That
snap decision followed a damning report published by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary
Authority proving that whale hunts often result in the animals suffering slow, agonizing
deaths after being bludgeoned with explosive-tipped harpoons.

Convincing themselves that slaughtering whales didn’t break the country’s animal
welfare laws, Icelandic leaders ultimately allowed Hvalur to kill 24 fin whales by lifting
the temporary ban on Aug. 31, 2023.

Now 129 more fin whales will die for Iceland’s greed. Fin whales are the second-largest
animal on earth in terms of length, second only to the blue whale. Measuring up to 85
feet in length and weighing as much as 130 tons, these majestic creatures can live up to
90 years old and range across much of the world’s oceans. Along the way, they and
other resurgent great whales capture enormous amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and
provide other unique ocean ecosystem services.

A voluntary global moratorium on the commercial slaughter of whales has been in effect
since 1986. Iceland and a few other countries—notably Norway and Japan—have flouted the ban in spite of international disgust, a lack of demand for whale meat, and despite a majority of Icelanders who say they want to end the bloody tradition once and for all.

Iceland’s pathetic decision to keep killing whales puts the nation in the same pitiful boat
as Japan, which last month launched a new, $48 million whale-killing factory ship and
announced that the crews will now be allowed to hunt fin whales as well, in addition to
the minke whales, Bryde’s whales, and sei whales and porpoises they already kill.

To register your disgust with Iceland’s decision to continue its obscene commercial slaughter of
fin whales, contact Lilja Dögg Alfredsdóttir, Minister of Culture and Business Affairs, at; and Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, at

Photograph taken by Dagur Brynjólfsson via Flickr (CC By-SA 2.0)