May 2, 2008
The Norwegian whaling season, which normally runs from April to August, began with the killing of a Minke whale calf. Sadly this will be the first of up to 1,052 whales which Norway is set to kill this season, in hunts which result in prolonged and extreme suffering as many whales do not die straight away.
Data from the Norwegian Government itself reveals that 1 in 5 whales suffer long and painful deaths, some taking an hour or more to die after being hit with explosive harpoons. A recent poll showed that almost two thirds of Norwegians believe that it is unacceptable for a whale to take more than 15 minutes to die once shot.
The start of this year's season follows news in early April that Ellingsen Seafood, Norway's largest whale meat supplier, plans to stop producing whale meat in 2009. Ellingsen is currently responsible for processing approximately a third of the total catch each year.
WSPA programs manager Claire Bass said:
“The appetite for whaling in Norway is dwindling: only 1 in 4 Norwegians under 30 strongly support the continuation of whaling in their country. It's clear that this cruel and outdated industry is on borrowed time in a progressive country like Norway.”