Animals & Money: Whaling on welfare


For all the trouble Iceland, Norway and Japan went through to defy the rest of the world and resume whaling, it's starting to look like whaling isn't going to be that profitable. Meanwhile, the whale watching industry continues to grow -- but how big it is no one is sure.

People have been hunting and eating whales for thousands of years, but we've also been wiping out large populations of whales, too. The International Whaling Commission, which started in 1946, banned commercial whaling in 1986, but a few countries keep at it. Japan does it under the guise of scientific research, Norway objected from the start and recently loosened its whaling rules. Iceland started hunting whales again in 2006. (Meanwhile a number of countries, including the U.S. and Canada allow sustenance whaling for native people.)

But once they get all this whale meat, there's still the question of who will want to eat it. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that in in Reykjavik a whale meat company is trying to "hook" urban hipsters on whale meat by selling it in vacuum-sealed ready packs and offering recipe tips.