Whaling – what is it, and why is it so cruel?


Despite being one of the planet’s most beautiful and breath-taking creatures, whales have been hunted and slaughtered for centuries. Shockingly, this cruel practice is continued today, despite dwindling whale populations – with certain whale species nearing extinction.

Why Whales are hunted

Historically, whales were hunted by humans for their oil, blubber and meat, with every part of the carcass being utilised for food, clothing and tools. Some of the many uses for whale bodies included:

– Whale meat for consumption
– Margarine and cooking oil
– Umbrellas
– Corsets
– Animal feed
– Crop fertiliser

However, in the modern day, this is not the case, as many synthetic materials have replaced whale parts. Since the 1930s, efforts to stop whaling were implemented worldwide, but despite numerous agreements and treaties, some countries still continue to hunt whales in the modern day.

Why is Whaling Still Happening

Japan launched a scientific whaling program, in order to be able to continue whaling despite the ban. Under the guise of being killed for science, the meat is sold as food. Similarly, Iceland also continued whaling for supposed scientific purposes and subsequently resumes commercial whaling in 2006. Norway also found a loophole in the regulations.

What Can Still be Done

Many efforts have been attempted to dissuade, ban and decrease whaling worldwide. One of these includes IFAW and IceWhale’s joint project Meet Us Don’t Eat Us –launched in Iceland. The program aims to educate tourists on the hidden truth of the whaling industry, promoting whale-friendly restaurants and encouraging whale-watching trips. However, despite such positive efforts, the whaling industry is still prevalent and continues to critically endanger certain whales.

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