Iceland petition: “Whales should be seen and not hurt”
A petition calling upon the Icelandic government to ban whaling has now been signed by over 100,000 Icelanders and visitors to the country.
“I promise not to eat whale meat and I ask Iceland to stop whaling,” is the simple plea of those putting their name to the petition run by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – one of the most successful online petitions in Iceland ever.
“These 100,000 signatures send a clear message to the Icelandic government that visiting tourists, as well as many Icelanders, believe whales should be seen and not hurt,” says IFAW’s Global Whale Programme Director Patrick Ramage.
“We urge the Icelandic government to respond to this petition, to call an end to this outdated practice and instead support the country’s whale watching industry which is better for whales and for the coastal communities who benefit from this only sustainable ‘use’ of whales.”
IFAW has been pushing its ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ campaign in Iceland for five years, receiving the valuable support of various Icelandic celebrities, including musician HögniEgilsson and DJ Margeir.
Key to the IFAW argument is the economic sense of favouring whale-watching as an activity over whaling as a commercial operation.
“Whale watching is now one of the top tourist attractions in Iceland, generating around £10 million [approx. ISK 1.5 billion; €11.8 million] annually,” reads an IFAW press release regarding the petition.
“This year more than 350,000 people are expected to go whale watching, more than the entire population of Iceland, proving that whales are worth far more to the Icelandic economy alive than dead.”