21/08/2003

RSPCA urge boycott of Icelandic fish after whale kill

The RSCPA has urged UK shoppers to "think twice" about buying Icelandic fish after the country's whaling expedition killed a number of Minke whales.

The RSPCA has condemned Iceland's resumption of whaling which, they claim, is being carried out using exploding grenade harpoons "responsible for the agonizing deaths of whales around the world". The RSCPA says that when Japan started whaling using "similar harpoons, around 95% of whales were still alive after they had been hit".

Iceland announced earlier this month that it will kill 38 minke whales this summer as part of a "scientific research" to analyse the whale's diet and establish whether it is responsible for a drop in fish stocks. The hunt is the first stage in a plan to kill 500 whales of three different species over two years. The recent kill was the first by Iceland in 15 years.

RSPCA marine scientific officer Laila Sadler said: "We are horrified by this development and echo international scientific criticism of this so-called research.

"Whatever guise whaling comes under the simple fact is that it is a barbaric practice. Iceland’s claim that 'sustainable' numbers will be killed disregards the fact that each animal suffers an inhumane death as it is harpooned and dragged onto a ship for processing.

"The RSPCA fears that Iceland is testing the water and if opposition is not widespread then this could be the start of a return to more extensive whaling. If UK shoppers are concerned by the killing they might want to think twice before buying Icelandic cod and other fish products. A significant amount of cod we consume in the UK comes from Iceland."

Fish and fish products make up more than 70% of all exports from Iceland, and, the organisation says, is the island's most important industry.

Laila Sadler added: "Consumers should not underestimate the power they have. I am convinced that pressure on Iceland could help reverse this terrible retrograde step."

(gmcg)

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