In October 2016 WDC and Care2 represented almost 270,000 EU citizens when we submitted a petition to the European Parliament. The petition called on the EU to raise the issue of whaling in its trade negotiations with Japan and to say ‘no’ to a Free Trade Agreement while Japan kills whales.
In June last year, MEPs echoed our campaign and voted overwhelmingly in support of stronger EU measures against Japanese whaling.
We would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to those of you who added your voice to our campaign.
The EU Commission has now considered our petition and has responded. But, sadly, it has stated that Japan’s whale hunting will not be a factor in the trade deal negotiations.
This is not welcome news. The EU needs to demonstrate that it will use every opportunity to deliver on its public commitments to protect whales. If it doesn’t, the European public will have no choice but to assume that the EU’s conservation policies are trumped by economic imperatives.
On 31 March, 2017 the Japanese fleet returned from the Antarctic, having killed 333 minke whales – 178 females and 155 males. After the outcry it sparked last year, the Japanese government hasn’t yet released figures on how many of them were pregnant but if we go by the 2016 figures then we can guess that well over 100 of the whales they killed could have been carrying a baby.
The Japanese whaling fleet will shortly start whaling in the North Pacific under a whaling programme condemned by the global community and unsanctioned by the International Whaling Commission (the body that regulates whaling).
According to recent media reports, the Japanese National Diet (parliament) will soon be debating a draft law on whaling, which is calling for ‘stable and continuous research whaling in order to resume commercial whaling and protect the Japanese whale meat food culture’. The Japanese government is also discussing the construction of a new industrial whaling ship.
Given this situation, WDC has written to the EU Commission to urge it to reconsider its position and raise the subject of whaling in the next round of trade talks with Japan.