News Feed 10 - 7 - 2015

Danish Gov Doctors Urge Ban on Pilot Whale Meat


Recommendations to the Danish Faroe Islands’ Government concerning the pilot whale

To the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry

Recommendation of the discontinuation of the use of pilot whale for human consumption
August 7, 2008

During the last 10 years, results of scientific studies have revealed an even gloomier picture of the adverse health effects that are caused by contaminants in pilot whale meat and blubber.

The results have so far shown that:

  • Mercury from pilot whale meat adversely affects the fetal development of the nervous system
  • The mercury effect is still detectable during adolescence
  • The mercury from the maternal diet affects the blood pressure of the children
  • The contaminants of the blubber adversely affect the immune system so that the children react more poorly to immunizations

The newest studies show that

  • Contaminants in pilot whales appear to increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease those who eat it often
  • The risk of hypertension and arteriosclerosis of the carotid arteries is increased in adults who have an increased exposure to mercury

Currently, studies are underway to examine the fertility of the population, since suspicion has been raised that reproductive functions may be decreased because of contaminants in pilot whale meat and blubber…

The growing scientific documentation has, during recent years, given rise to the anticipation that the time was approaching when it would be appropriate to recommend against human consumption of pilot whale meat and blubber. From the latest research results, the undersigned consider that the conclusion from a human health perspective must be as follows:

It is recommended that pilot whale is no longer used for human consumption.

It is with great sadness that this recommendation is provided. The pilot whale has served the Faroese well for many hundreds of year and has likely kept may Faroese alive through the centuries. But the times and environment are changing, and we therefore believe that this recommendation is necessary from a human health point of view…

Yours sincerely,

Høgni Debes Joensen, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Landslægen
Pál Weihe, MD, Chief Physician

Full report available here.

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