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JGI supports the draft law to ban whaling in Iceland

The Jane Goodall Institute calls for a compassionate attitude towards whales and to halt the practice of whaling. Our Cetacean Committee has published a statement of support for the draft law to ban this practice in Iceland. We thank the Icelandic MPs who are proposing this and appreciate the transparency of the process.

This Icelandic draft law is currently under consideration (154th Legislative Session 2023–2024: Assembly Record 99 — Issue 99).

Cetaceans are social, large-brained mammals known to form distinct cultures and strong, intricate social bonds. We now have a much better understanding of their remarkable communication abilities, complex behaviours and distinct communities. Humanity’s long and extensive exploitation of whales, which has led to the decimation of populations, was once considered acceptable.

We now know far more about cetaceans, therefore ignorance is no longer an excuse for allowing the suffering these mammals experience during the whaling process. Harpooning whales has historically been a cruel means of obtaining products for our consumption and we are aware that research on Iceland’s own whaling has recently generated hard evidence which reinforces welfare concerns.

We also understand that public opinion in Iceland has shifted with most people now objecting to whaling, furthermore, the opposition to this practice continues to increase incrementally. Dr Jane Goodall has dedicated her life to the conservation and welfare of wild animals, in particular primates and she learnt a great deal about cetaceans from her friend, the late whale biologist Roger Payne.

We are certain that Roger Payne would also have wanted to also send you a message of support for a whaling ban. Additionally, two years ago, on the 75th anniversary of the formation of the IWC (International Whaling Commission), Dr Goodall joined with others in supporting a new vision for our relationship with cetaceans and a new strategic plan for the IWC.

It would be wonderful to see Iceland join with the other pro-conservation nations in supporting this vision wholeheartedly. View the Supporting Statement here and the IWC Strategic vision here.

We strongly believe that Iceland can become a world leader for marine protection and a beacon of hope for the future through providing a shining example of compassion and understanding towards these sentient, intelligent beings we share our world with.

You can download this statement in PDF format here.

For correspondence, please email: or

The JGI Cetacean Committee members involved in this statement

Dr Jane Goodall (DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace), Dr Denise Herzing, Melody Horrill, Dr Soojin Jang, Dr Koen Margodt (the Jane Goodall Institute), Dr Lori Marino (Whale Sanctuary Project), Dr Ada Natoli, Dr Rick Quinn (the Jane Goodall Institute), Charles Vinick (Whale Sanctuary Project) and Sarah Wertkin (the Jane Goodall Institute) 

Headline image credit: Shutterstock (with permission)

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