On Friday, 14 October 2016, WDC’s Stop Whaling Programme Lead Astrid Fuchs and Joanne Warner, from petition site Care2, delivered almost 270,000 signatures from our campaign to make whaling a deal-breaker in the EU’s trade negotiations with Japan to Bernd Lange, head of the European Parliament’s Committee for International Trade (INTA).
We very much appreciated the opportunity for a personal handover and had the chance to discuss the current situation and the necessity to make Japan’s whaling a topic in the ongoing free trade negotiations between the EU and Japan. Mr. Lange confirmed that the European Parliamen’s position on the topic was very clear and agreed that Japan’s whaling shouldn’t go unnoticed in these high level talks, especially with a view to the recent European parliament resolution, calling on the EU to take stronger measures against Japan’s whaling.
Unfortunately, so far the EU Commission holds the view that because the EU intends to negotiate with Japan on a whole range of environmental issues, and on biodiversity, fisheries resource and timber in particular, it doesn’t think it will be able to address specific issues like whaling in this context.
Mr Lange also pointed out that his own visits to Japan had confirmed that stakeholders there are not united in their support for whaling and many know what a difficult position it puts their country in with respect to international relations.
WDC will continue to engage with the EU institutions to make sure that the need for an end to whaling is a part of the trade talks. This is especially important in light of Japan’s recently published plans to increase the ‘scientific’ whale slaughter in the North Pacific. Protecting whales and dolphins is vital part for protecting biodiversity, our joint natural heritage and for healthy oceans. Whales are essential for a heathy planet and are our allies in combating climate change – stopping whaling is about much more than just ending a cruel practice.
A big thank you goes to all our supporters around the globe, who joined us in this campaign and made sure our voices are heard. With your help, we will keep pressing the EU to do everything they can to help bring an end to Japan’s whale slaughter.