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Bloody waters in Norway – whaling season starts

Bloody waters in Norway – the whaling season has started

Norwegian whalers yesterday made the first kill of the season: a calf. Though the majority of Norwegians are against the cruelty inflicted by whaling, Norwegian whalers are set to kill 1,052 whales in the hunts that started on Wednesday morning (Norwegian time).

“These hunts result in prolonged and extreme suffering as many whales do not die straight away. Data from the Norwegian Government itself reveals that one in five whales suffer long and painful deaths, some taking an hour or more to die.” said Bridget Vercoe, Programmes Manager for The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

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, plan to stop producing whalemeat in 2009. Ellingsen are currently responsible for processing approximately a third of the total catch each year.

“The appetite for whaling in Norway is dwindling: only one in four 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 It’s clear that this cruel and outdated industry is on borrowed time in a progressive country like Norway.” said Ms Vercoe.

ENDS

Notes to the editor
* Whales are usually killed with explosive harpoons that detonate inside their body. The average time to death reported by Norway is two to three minutes, although some whales can take up to an hour to die.
* The Norwegian way of whaling often involves harpooning boat-curious animals which are the ones most likely to benefit the developing whale-watching industry in Norway
* Whale watching is economically more significant and sustainable to more communities and people worldwide than whaling is. The whale watching industry is estimated to be a U.S $1.25 billion industry enjoyed by over 10 million people in more than 90 countries each year.
* Ellingsen Seafood cited low profitability and a lack of available labour as the reasons behind its decision to cease whale meat production in 2009.


ENDS

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