Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sadly, No Real Surprise

Minke whale steaks have been found by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) society on sale commercially in Denmark.
The whale meat, sourced from Greenland, was discovered at a tourist shop in Copenhagen, thus putting Denmark in breach of European Union (EU) laws which ban EU member states from the killing and commercial sale of whales. The sale of these whale products in Denmark also contravenes International Whaling Commission (IWC) regulations and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Ironically, this discovery comes just as Greenland threatens to impose its own quotas regarding the number of whales it'll hunt for 'local nutritional needs' in the coming year. Earlier in 2012, a separate WDC undercover investigation revealed Greenland had been "actively undermining" the IWC ban on commercial whaling, by selling whale meat to tourists visiting the country.
WDC's chief executive, Chris Butler-Stroud: "Denmark is an EU member and bound by EU law. This is clearly commercial whaling. Our investigation report shows this demand for more whale meat is driven by the commercial consumer market not by aboriginal needs."
Curiously, not EVERYONE is
happy with Denmark...
Last June, I wrote how Denmark - while holding the position of Presidency of the EU - opposed a EU pro-conservation position on whaling and, without consulting other EU members, applied for a whaling quota increase for Greenland. Its reasoning must surely include this latest commercial discovery. And back in 2010, NY Times reported Icelandic minced whale meat may be making its way into Danish pork. 
Denmark always takes a back-row seat in any discussions over Faroe Islands whaling: it continuously supports the islands' autonomy in virtually all issues, while maintaining the FIs are Danish citizens. FIs brutally massacre pilot whales on a regular basis, even though the whales are protected under the Bern Convention, which Denmark signed. Chapter 3, Article 6 of the Convention prohibits "all forms of deliberate capture and keeping and deliberate killing" as well as the "internal trade in these animals, alive or dead". As the Faroes are a territory of Denmark and the people are Danish citizens, Denmark is therefore in violation of the Bern Convention.
WDC has now presented its latest findings to the EU Commission. It is requesting the EU re-examine the legitimacy of allowing the export of whale products into the EU, and that all exports cease immediately until the IWC has granted an ASW ('aboriginal subsistence whaling') quota to Greenland.

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