German non-profit Hard to Port and Sea Shepherd UK report that Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf. killed a pregnant endangered fin whale. The photos shared by the organisations show employees removing the foetus from its mother’s body.
According to Gísli Víkingsson, an expert at the Icelandic Marine Research Institute, it is quite common for pregnant whales to be shot. Only the killing of a nursing whale or calves is banned by law, Vísir reports.
The animal welfare association fights against the practise, as they say it’s irresponsible. Chairman Hallgerður Hauksdóttir told Vísir that, “these animals have shown intelligence and reason like other mammals. It’s not possible to justify this hunt.“ She added that shooting pregnant reindeer, for instance, is not allowed and thus killing pregnant whales shouldn’t be accepted either.
Hard to Port’s post of the incident has been widely shared online and has sparked outrage both nationwide and internationally.
The ongoing whaling doesn’t seem to help Iceland’s reputation abroad, as many tourists are now having second thoughts about travelling to Iceland. “A significant amount of people have informed us that although they would really like to visit Iceland, they will refrain from doing so until the whaling has stopped,” Clive Stacey, director of the British Travel Agency Discover The World told Morgunblaðið.
Meanwhile, Hard to Port shared in a Facebook post that they decided to refrain from an international press release about the pregnant fin whale as they, “do not want to encourage further criticism towards the entire country and its population”.