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Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

WTO rules that animal welfare trumps trade

On Thursday, 22nd May 2014, the World Trade Organisation upheld  the European Union’s ban on the import of seal pelts, oil and meat on moral grounds. Canada and Norway had previously challenged the ban.

The fundamental point of this ruling is that trade issues cannot trump concerns over animal welfare and conservation.

The ruling comes at a time when WDC is calling on the EU to move to formally stop EU seaports and airports acting as transit points for Icelandic and Nowegian whale meat. Currently the EU is reviewing the legal situation with regard to this trade, but early indicators have suggested that they have been concerned that trade committments would override animal welfare and conservation issues.

Many EU states have agreed with WDC and have been arguing with the EU Commission that EU law on the protection of whales should allow them to stop this illicit trade from abusing the hospitality of EU ports.

The WTO’s Appellate Body ruling also agreed that the EU’s ban on seal products is necessary to protect public morals as spelled out in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

The EU ban contains exceptions for Canada’s indigenous Inuits and Inuvialuit peoples from the northern province of Nunavut, who argue that the market for their seal products has been seriously affected by the overall embargo. Greenland’s Kalaallit hunters are also exempt. Their homeland is an autonomous territory of EU member Denmark, but is not part of the 28-nation bloc.

Canada and Norway said Greenland’s exemptions were unfair to non-indigenous hunting communities and that the scale of Greenland’s hunt was comparable to commercial sealing.

This last claim is interesting in that, within the IWC, Norway supports Greenland’s move to more commercial whaling in an attempt to blur the lines between commercial whaling and the IWC’s recognised Aborginal Subsistance Whaling (ASW).

This strategy has seen a huge set back in the recent International Court of Justice ruling on so-called ‘scientific whaling’, where the ICJ ruled that there were no exceptions to the IWC’s recognsied whaling of commercial whaling, ASW, and Article VIII (sceintific) whaling, and that there was no such intermediate whaling as argued for by Norway.

You can help WDC in our campaign to stop the use of EU ports by the whalers!