IFAW anti-whaling ads in airport ethics dispute

The operators of Keflavik International Airport have removed International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) posters encouraging tourists not to taste whale meat in Iceland. The action follows complaints from whalers. IFAW accuses the airport of censorship.

IFAW lawyers are already investigating whether the airport should legally refund the ISK 550,000 costs which were paid for the four-month advertising contract.

According to IFAW sources, Keflavik Airport chief Hlynur Sigurdsson has twice called the organisation asking them to either change the “Meet us, don’t eat us” posters, or remove them. IFAW elected to do neither and the airport has now taken them down unilaterally.

The adverts are part of a campaign previously reported on IceNews, encouraging foreign visitors to Iceland not to support the whaling industry. The Icelandic Association of Whale Watching Companies and IFAW are jointly behind the campaign.

IFAW accuses the airport of censorship of a campaign which had already been approved and pre-paid. The organisation has requested further details from the airport over why the posters fail to meet required standards, but claims no response has yet been made.

The posters (one of which can be seen here) are not at all graphic and few would find them shocking. Whalers have complained about them, however, on grounds of breaking the airport’s ethical code and for being propaganda against a legitimate industry.

(Homepage photo: Alëx Elliott // taken of a whaling boat leaving Reykjavík in summer 2009. The photo was taken from a whale watching boat during a scheduled whale watching tour.)

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