Labour MEPs: No trade deal with Japan unless it bans “barbaric practice” of whaling

Labour MEPs have called on the European Commission to lead international pressure against Japan over its resumption of whaling, and said there should be no EU trade deal with the country unless it ends the “barbaric practice.”

MEPs today asked the Commission if they would condemn the decision of Japan to resume whaling; consider any other means to put pressure on Japan through bilateral or multilateral channels; and undertake legal action to ensure Japan complies with the 2014 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling ordering the halting of Japan’s annual slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean. The ICJ ruled the hunts are not, as Japan claims, conducted for scientific research.

Last November, the Japanese Fisheries Agency notified the International Whaling Commission it would resume whaling under a revised plan. The 12-year plan would allow the killing of 333 minke whales during the 2015-2016 season, and a total of nearly 4,000 whales during the whole 12-year period.

David Martin MEP, honorary secretary of the European Parliament animal welfare intergroup, said:

“As well as boosting our economies and jobs, trade deals are an important opportunity to spread our values to our partners. ‘Scientific whaling’ is a sham – the International Court of Justice has confirmed as much. Scientific research no longer requires the slaughtering of whales.

“The hunts are in clear breach of international law and undermine the protection of biodiversity and marine ecosystems. The abolition of whaling is a key European value and must be on the table when the EU negotiates a trade deal with the Japanese. No ‘ifs’, no ‘buts’, this barbaric practice has to end.

“The EU strictly protects all species of whale, dolphin and porpoise and any incidental capture, killing or sale of whales or whale products by EU countries is prohibited. The EU leads the world in environmental and marine protection, and must send a strong message to Japan that whaling must end.”