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WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...

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!