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Stop whaling

How many whales are killed each year?

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986. However, Japan, Norway, and Iceland have killed nearly 40,000 large whales since then. Over 100,000 dolphins, small whales, and porpoises are also killed in various countries each year.

How are whales and dolphins killed?

Using exploding harpoon cannons mounted on the bows of vessels, whales are pursued and shot with explosives designed to burst when they penetrate into the flesh of the whale.  However, not all whales die instantaneously, requiring a second shot from the cannon, or sometimes a round of rifle fire.  Some whales suffer inhumanely for up to 25 minutes before they finally die.  Small cetaceans may be killed with harpoons, rifles, nets or even driven to shore where hooks are inserted in the blowholes and spinal cords are severed while the animals are still alive.

Why does whaling continue?

Whaling is illegal in most countries, however Iceland, Norway, and Japan still actively engage in whaling .Over a thousand whales are killed each year for their meat and body parts to be sold for commercial gain. Their oil, blubber, and cartilage are used in pharmaceuticals and health supplements. Whale meat is even used in pet food, or served to tourists as a ‘traditional dish’.

Why isn't the whaling ban working?

Whaling for profit was banned in 1986, however, Japan, Iceland and Norway continue to kill fin, minke and sei whales every year. All three nations believe they have a right to hunt whales: Japan claims its objective is scientific research, while  Norway objects to the ban and Iceland hunts under a dubious ‘reservation’ to the whaling ban.

Why are small cetaceans killed in drive hunts?

Despite it being illegal in most countries, over 56 species of dolphins, porpoises and other small whales are killed in over 40 countries across the globe.  They are killed for food, their body parts, and to be used as bait in other fisheries.  Arguably the most notorious and bloody hunts take place in Taiji, Japan and the Faroe Islands where dolphins and small whales are driven onto beaches or into coves, before being slaughtered., In Taiji, some of the young animals are removed and sold into a life in captivity. The Taiji hunt and the method of slaughter is so controversial that the hunters set up a curtain across the shoreline to hide their activities from the public.

How your support can help

  • Expose the suffering – by supporting WDC, you can help expose and bring an end to the brutal dolphin hunts.
  • Campaign against whaling –wherever governments make decisions about the future of whaling you’ll help us be there to fight for whales.
  • Reduce demand for whale meat – you can help us inform tourists about the cruel slaughter they are supporting every time they order whale meat while on holiday in a whaling region.
  • Whale watching, not eating – help us work with local communities to encourage whale watching as a kinder and more sustainable way of earning income from the whales in their waters.


Cut supply routes WDC supporters like you helped persuade the EU Parliament to vote in favor of stopping whale meat being moved through EU ports.

Laws changed - WDC completed a review of Danish regulations on whale meat imports into Denmark which resulted in changes to Danish law, and rules for import are now much stricter.

Rallying support - WDC ran a campaign to call on the EU Parliament to make whaling a deal-breaker in trade negotiations with Japan, and collected almost 270,000 signatures. The petition is now being considered in the final decision on the trade agreement.

Online whale meat sales stopped – WDC exposed and stopped illegal online whale meat sales in Japan – including in dog treats!

Icelandic tourists shun whale meat – we are telling tourists that they are propping up a dying industry. A decade ago, 40% of tourists sampled whale meat: today, the figure is around 12%.

Support the fight to stop whaling

Whales and dolphins continue to be slaughtered. They need your help. Save them by getting involved today.

Our successes

Our goal is to stop whaling forever. These are some of our successes along the path towards our goal.

Challenging illegal whaling by petitioning governments

WDC co-authored an 80+ page petition to the US government showing how Iceland was violating two different international treaty agreements.

Cut supply routes

With your support, WDC persuaded the EU Parliament to vote in favor of stopping whale meat being moved through EU ports.




Online whale meat sales has stopped

WDC exposed and stopped illegal online whale meat sales in Japan – including in dog treats!




Campaigning on an international stage

We work through the International Whaling Commission, the body that regulates whaling, to keep the ban and expose illegal hunts.

Dive deeper

Find out more about the countries involved in whaling, how many whales are being killed and how whaling is regulated by the International Whaling Commission.

Whaling in Iceland

Iceland hunts endangered fin whales and minke whales.

Fin whale

Whaling in Japan

Japan continues to hunt whales in the North Pacific and Antarctica.

Antarctic minke whale creating waves in the water

Whaling in Norway

Norway allows hundreds of minke whales to be hunted.

Common minke whale

Whaling in Greenland

Find out how tourists unwittingly support whaling in Greenland.

Humpback whale

What is Aboriginal Subsistence whaling?

Some communities are allowed to hunt small numbers of whales for cultural reasons and to sustain their needs (rather than hunting just for profit). However, this right is increasingly being abused.

Make a difference- help us end whaling

By adopting a whale, joining our team, making a donation, or shopping for a cause, you can help us end the hunting of whales and dolphins.

Save the whales, save the world.

Humpback whale spyhop


Adopt a whale and help us protect these amazing creatures.

Bottlenose dolphin calf breaching with its whole body out of the water


You can join our team and help us save whales and dolphins

Breaching North Atlantic right whale


Your gifts help us take action for whales and dolphins.

Orca spyhop


Support WDC by shopping for yourself or a friend.