Norway kills more whales than any other country and it has no plans to slow down, despite a global moratorium on commercial whaling enacted by the International Whaling Commission back in 1982.
In fact, the country recently announced that it would increase its annual whaling quota by 28 percent in 2018 in an attempt to boost a declining whaling industry.
According to a report by the Animal Welfare Institute, Norway killed more whales in 2015 and 2016 than Japan and Iceland combined, the only other two countries in the world where whaling remains legal in some form. The country has blatantly balked at the international moratorium, manipulating loopholes in both hunting practices and trade protocols.
While their domestic market lacks demand for whale meat, Norway profits by exporting whale products to Japan in addition to using the meat to feed animals on a high concentration of fur farms.
Although the North Atlantic minke whale is not considered an endangered species, Norwegian whale hunting tactics are considered inhumane by IWC standards, which defines humane killing of a whale as ‘causing its death without pain, stress or distress perceptible to the animal.’
Norwegian whalers kill minke whales using grenade harpoons, an invention that dates back to the 19th century. The harpoon imbeds itself deeply into the whale’s flesh, releasing spring-loaded hooks that effectively grab onto the mammal, allowing for fishermen to haul the body up onto their ship.
However, the process is slow and the whales often die over a period of hours. When the grenade detonates it causes the whale immense physical trauma.
The most devastating statistic of all? Ninety percent of the whales killed are female, most of them pregnant, as stated by a new film on Norwegian whaling.
But even as the number of commercial whaling boats operating in Norway has plummeted in recent years, the government is determined to encourage what it says is a long-held tradition. They have been pushing the product in local markets and grocery stores across the country, and even subsidized a program in 2017 to introduce school children to whale meat, according to AWI.