A conservative MP contends that opponents to whaling are “irrational and persistent”, because opposing whaling is “a religion”.
Although the Icelandic government has allowed the company Hvalur hf. to hunt minke and fin whales, in direct opposition of international law, not everyone in parliament – or even in the ruling coalition – supports the practice. There is, in fact, a strong anti-whaling contingency within the Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens.
Conservative MP Jón Gunnarsson, in an interview on the radio station Bylgjan, touched on this point. Jón supports the practice of whaling, and recently the ministries of foreign affairs, the environment, and fishing met to discuss the International Whaling Commission’s complaint that Iceland hunting endangered fin whales violates international law, as well as the fact that the US is considering imposing sanctions against Iceland over the issue.
While here at home Icelanders wonder whether it’s worth it to let their tax money support what amounts to the one private business that engages in whale hunting, Jón remains a supporter of the practice.
Jón contends that to stop whale hunting now would harm the fishing industry, adding, “And then of course we have to have in mind that these people have been spouting propaganda for years now, that the tourist industry would fall apart and we wouldn’t be able to export anything if we continued whale hunting.”
Despite whaling, the number of tourists to Iceland has grown, year after year, “but these people don’t want to look at these facts, because [opposition to whale hunting] is a religion.”
The conclusions of the joint-ministerial meeting are still pending.
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