Five-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is speaking up for the thousands of whales that may be slaughtered in Iceland. The vegan athlete took to Instagram to share a repost from non-profit marine conservation group, the Oceanic Preservation Society.
The Icelandic government announced earlier this week that it will allow whale hunting for at least another five years. The quota could allow for the slaughter of up to 2,130 baleen whales, according to the Associated Press.
Iceland’s Commercial Whaling
Hamilton’s post rebukes Icelandic leaders for the decision, stating, “This is a disappointing and short-sighted move by the country’s political leaders.”
The Conversation reports that Iceland was originally part of the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) 1986 halt on commercial whaling, but left the agreement in 1992 due to the organization’s refusal to enact quotas.
The nation later joined the IWC again, but released a statement saying that it would not authorize commercial whaling “without a sound scientific basis.” Iceland has been hunting on quotas since 2006, but did not use them in 2016 and 2017. Last May, the nation announced that it would once again resume whaling.
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Reposted from @oceanicpreservationsociety – #StopIcelandWhaling 🐋 After a two year hiatus from whaling, the Icelandic government has defied the 1986 International Whaling Commission's moratorium and sanctioned the slaughter of 238 fin whales, ostensibly for the gourmet food and health supplement markets. This is a disappointing and short-sighted move by the country's political leaders. As the largest marine mammals, whales play a critical role in keeping our oceans healthy. They prevent species over-population, regulate food systems and combat climate change. Economically, a return to whaling could be catastrophic for Iceland. Whale watching tourism has boomed in recent years, generating $20M USD annually – far more than the failing whale meat trade. One in five tourists pays for the privilege of spending time with the 20+ species of whales that visit and live in the region, making Iceland Europe's top whale watching destination. The hunt is on. Whales are dying. We need all of our whales, alive and breathing, to support healthy and abundant oceans. 💙🐳 Please join our global partners @sea_legacy @bluespherefoundation and legaSeas in calling on Iceland choose tourism over whaling. This ocean giant roamed the North Atlantic just a few hours ago before his life was ended by the Hvalur 8 harpoon ship. More Icelanders are speaking out against this insanity. It is a painfully slow process, but change will come – we need to keep pushing for it even though on some days, just like today, we feel a little helpless 😒 #iceland #change #stopwishingstartdoing #whales #whale #ocean #wildlife #stopwhaling #eatkalenotwhale #whalerwatching #whaling #tourism #stopbloodywhaling #blueoceanaction 🐋 #moreplasticthanfish #PLASTICPOLLUTION
“As the largest marine mammals, whales play a critical role in keeping our oceans healthy. They prevent species over-population, regulate food systems and combat climate change,” Hamilton’s post continued, adding that Iceland’s tourism industry brings in $20 million USD annually.
One in five tourists visit to see whales, making the nation Europe’s top whale-watching destination.
Lewis Hamilton for the Animals
Hamilton first adopted a plant-based diet in late 2017 after watching the documentary “What the Health,” which explores the connection between chronic illness and diets heavy in animal products. In November 2017, the Formula One champ said that he felt healthier than he’s ever been in his life.
While his original lifestyle change was motivated by health, the British Formula One champ soon became vocal about the ethical side of veganism. Last June, he updated his Instagram bio to read: “Plant-based diet. Love animals.”
The vegan athlete doesn’t shy away using social media to share what happens to animals in the meat and dairy industries. Last December, Hamilton took the opportunity to talk about animal agriculture in a post featuring his dog. “Animals possess values of which very few humans do. We turn a blind eye to the pain and torture we put animals through,” he wrote.