If you signed the petition at the Bird Fair asking the Icelandic Prime Minister, Katrín Jacobsdóttir, to do her best to end whaling in her country (see here and here) then your signature is now in her hands. I was lucky enough to be granted a 15-minute meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon.
I explained who the Bird Fair attendees are – many of them visitors to Iceland and many more potential visitors – and we talked about her plans for whaling.
She told me that her intention was that there should be a thorough review of the sustainability of whaling carried out which would look at the ecology of the subject but also the social aspects and the economics (such as potential lost tourism revenue due to individuals shunning Iceland as a destination because of its high-profile whaling). During this review there would be no whaling.
I asked that the animal welfare aspects should be considered too. Iceland has quite good animal welfare regulations when it comes to terrestrial mammals but these do not apply to killing marine mammals such as whales. Sometimes it takes longer than eight minutes for a harpooned whale to die – that seems to many, on Iceland and beyond, to be unacceptable in these times.
I found the PM very engaged with the subject, very well-informed and very obviously keen to move things forward.
I’m sure the Bird Fair petition made a small difference (as friends in Iceland said that it would) because it wasn’t ranting, it was sensible and it attempted to nudge things along in the direction that the PM wanted to go anyway.