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Iceland Suspends Whale Hunt on Animal Welfare Concerns

The government of Iceland has announced the suspension of this year's whale hunt until the end of August due to concerns about animal welfare. The decision is likely to mark a historic end to the controversial practice, as a government-commissioned report determined that the hunt does not comply with Iceland's Animal Welfare Act. The country's last remaining whaling company, Hvalur, had already declared that this would be its final season, citing decreased profitability. Annual quotas allow for the killing of 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales, but catches have significantly declined in recent years due to a diminishing market for whale meat. Iceland, along with Norway and Japan, has faced strong criticism from environmentalists and animal rights advocates for continuing whale hunting. Recent video footage aired by the veterinary authority revealed the prolonged suffering of a whale during a five-hour hunt. Public opinion in Iceland has increasingly turned against whaling, with a majority now supporting an end to the practice, according to a recent poll.

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

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