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Challenge to Greenland’s whaling claims

Jun 17, 2008

An undercover investigation conducted by WSPA has found evidence to challenge the myth that Greenland’s whaling is exclusively for aboriginal subsistence purposes. We can prove that whale meat is being sold commercially within the country. 

Greenland is granted a quota of 233 whales annually by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) despite the international commercial ban, because they claim that the whales are needed by aboriginal communities for their own use.

We discovered that some of the whaling is in fact commercial. The investigation, carried out in April 2008, found supermarket freezers full of whale products, industrial plants for freezing and drying whale meat, and even stock piles of unsold whale meat.

At least 114 supermarkets in Greenland carry whale products for retail sale.

Blown out of the water

Greenland 2008: WSPA's investigation found unsold whale meat packaged in 2006

Claire Bass, WSPA’s Marine Mammals Program Manager, comments:
“Our evidence will blow everyone’s impressions of Greenland’s whaling out of the water; the results have proven that some ‘subsistence whaling’ is no longer providing food critical to indigenous peoples. We’ve traced unacceptable animal suffering back to commercial profit margins.”

Based on the investigation, WSPA estimates that US$1million profit is being made from one quarter or more of the whales that Greenland is allowed to slaughter for subsistence purposes.

Consequently, we believe that Greenland’s whaling has crossed the line into commercial whaling.

Rise in quota unjustifiable

WSPA’s Exploding Myths report and video – detailing our findings in Greenland – is released as IWC Commissioners from across the world gather in Chile to discuss whaling quotas. At the annual meeting, Greenland will be requesting permission to kill even more whales, including humpbacks, for ‘aboriginal subsistence’ purposes.

Read the report here (PDF 1MB) >>

WSPA call on the Commissioners to reject Greenland’s request. Our investigation demonstrates that Greenland is by-passing the commercial ban and profiting from this inherently cruel practice.

Whales simply cannot be killed humanely at sea, which is why the commercial whaling ban must be strengthened, properly enforced, and maintained.

WSPA representatives will be attending the IWC from June 23-27. Check back for reports from the meeting.

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It's time to focus on whales, and consign whaling to history

A fin whale underwater