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True North Demands Injunction Against Whaling Company

True North, an Icelandic film and TV production company, has filed for an injunction against Hvalur hf, Iceland’s sole fin whale hunting organisation, Vísir reports. The legal move comes on the heels of Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir’s decision to lift the whaling ban yesterday.

Challenging to secure international collaborations

True North, a prominent Icelandic production company in the television and film industry, has filed for an injunction against the whaling company Hvalur hf to halt its hunting of fin whales, Vísir reports; yesterday, Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir announced that the government would be lifting the temporary whaling ban with more stringent regulations being imposed.

Legal counsel for True North, attorney Katrín Oddsdóttir of the Réttur law firm, argues that for Hvalur hf to continue to engage in whaling will make it increasingly challenging, if not unfeasible, to secure international collaborations for projects in Iceland.

Reputational and ecological concerns

True North bases its case on multiple fronts. Firstly, the company highlights its heavy reliance on international partnerships. A recent statement from 67 international film industry professionals – including actors, directors, and writers – asserts they will cease bringing projects to Iceland if Hvalur resumes its hunting of fin whales.

Additionally, True North cites ecological and ethical concerns, such as the negative impact of whaling on the ocean’s carbon sequestration capabilities. The company also cites reports indicating that a third of the whales caught by Hvalur in 2022 endured prolonged suffering. True North also references findings from a council on animal welfare specialists and a report from Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir’s working group, published this week, which evaluated measures to minimise such suffering during fishing operations.

According to True North, the stakes extend beyond financial considerations; the reputational integrity of Iceland’s artistic fields is also in jeopardy, a loss that cannot be offset by monetary compensation.

Finally, the production company contends that Hvalur hf’s activities contravene hygiene and pollution control laws. These violations pose a risk to food safety, as they involve the hunting, harvesting, and processing of animal products intended for human consumption. Moreover, the water source located above Hvalur hf’s whaling station fails to comply with drinking water regulations and lacks proper planning.

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