Leonardo DiCaprio wants to see an end to industrial whaling in Iceland.
The Hollywood star and co-founder of conservation organisation Re:Wild is using his platform to highlight the current situation in the country, and support the majority of Icelanders who want the practice permanently banned. Taking to his Instagram stories, Leo writes:
“There has been global moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales since 1985/1986, and Iceland, Norway, and Japan are now the only countries that currently allow industrial whale hunting. On June 20th, Iceland’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries paused the hunt, which annually permits the killing of 209 Fin Whales and 217 Minke Whales, with only one remaining whale hunting company in the country.”
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He goes on to explain that the pause came about after a government-commissioned report showed the killing of whales was taking longer than allowed by the country’s own Animal Welfare Act.
In announcing the stoppage, Iceland’s Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Svandis Svavavarsdottir said “if the government and licensees cannot guarantee welfare requirements, these activities do not have a future.”
The decision was praised by animal rights groups around the world, including the Humane Society International who called the decision “a major milestone in compassionate whale conservation” because “there is no humane way to kill a whale at sea.”
And a public opinion poll published in June showed 51% of Icelanders support a permanent ban too, with 29% against it. Those mostly in support are people aged 18 to 29, whilst the majority of those against are over 60.
However, with the hunting pause set to expire at the end of August, the country has to decide its next steps. And Leo is using his star power to back calls to end commercial whaling altogether.
“The government is now considering extending the suspension through the end of the hunting season and will vote on that decision this week,” Leo’s message on Instagram continues. “The Icelandic government should support the will of the majority of Icelanders who now want to stop the hunting of whales forever.”
Read his full message below:
(Feature Image Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/ Shutterstock.com)