|minke to go|
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) revealed last week that Iceland was openly selling whale meat packaged for export at the airport. If they bought the meat, travellers risked arrest for importing an internationally protected species.
WDCS and AWI caught store staff on camera wrongly advising that whale meat could be legally taken into the US. In fact, such citizens could face arrest and prosecution under several US laws for illegal wildlife trade. Travellers returning with whale meat to the UK, EU or many other nations that comply with a ban on international trade in whale products face similar penalties.
Thousands of UK tourists visiting Iceland each year have now been warned by the Foreign Office: they risk penalties that include jail or fines up to £5,000, as importation into Britain and other EU countries is illegal under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
Despite its removal at the airport, whale meat is still sold in other stores in Iceland. WDCS recently ran an awareness campaign aimed at tourists visiting Iceland, after revealing a staggering 35–40% of the meat from minke whales slaughtered by Iceland is eaten by tourists!
Chris Butler-Stroud, CEO of WDCS: "It is impossible that Iceland is unaware of laws that prohibit imports of whale meat. It's making a mockery of international law."