Iceland Whale Eaters to Whale Watchers
In Iceland change is happening and people are going from whale eaters to whale watchers. For decades people have watched as Iceland community in Faroe Island do their annual whale hunting. Hundreds of whales are slaughtered at the beach site, leaving the ocean red. For years there has been a petition circulating, in hopes to end this tradition. Since most people prefer not to eat whale meat, this tradition will come to end by 2024. Do we really have to wait two more years for them to stop killing whales?
Faroe Island isn’t just known for hunting whales. They were recently criticized for killing a pod of 1,400 dolphins. Last year in September, they trapped the 1,428 dolphins, and slaughtered them for meat. While they said they thought the number was only 200, it did not make a difference to animal activists. This event also helped push the bill to stop the whale killings. People were horrified to see so many dolphins and whales killed in such a short time.
Sometimes traditions such as whale eaters and killings needs to stop. We have to keep in mind that our ancestors did not have a grocery store down the block where they could get meat for their families. They hunted wildlife for their meat in order to feed their families and community. In 2019 when Japan resumed commercial whaling, Iceland demand for whale meat dropped. This has helped push the whale eaters community to become whale watchers even more. Since there is economical advantage to the community, there is no need for the whale killings.
While the majority of Icelanders don’t purchase whale meat and disagree with the hunting, there are still those that won’t stop. At this time whale watching boats have to avoid the whale eaters hunting boats in front of them. They will move their boats in search of whale friendly waters. For 15 years the non-profits International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and IceWhale have been working to end whaling in Iceland. They use the slogan “meet us, don’t eat us” to help boost tourism. Restaurants are also being marked as “whale friendly” to help tourists know where they can eat and see no whale meat on the menu.
While it has taken years for Iceland to go from whale eaters to whale watchers, this is still a success. We still have two long years to watch as they continue to practice whaling. Currently, only 2% of the Icelandic community eat whale meat. That is not enough to keep the tradition of whale hunting alive.