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Undercover operation by conservation group reveals whale meat illegally on sale in Denmark

10/12/2012 14:16:58

Whalemeat on sale in Denmark - Photo courtesy of WDC

Commercial whaling in Greenland -
December 2012. WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation has revealed evidence from a recent undercover operation in Denmark which clearly shows whale meat from Greenland on sale commercially in Denmark.

A WDC team found Minke whale steaks and blubber openly available to buy at a tourist shop in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, thus putting Denmark in breach of European Union (EU) laws which ban EU Member States from the killing and commercial sale of whales. Ironically, the revelations by WDC also come in the week when Greenland has threatened to impose its own quotas regarding the number of whales that it will hunt for ‘local nutritional needs' in 2013.

Contravenes International Whaling Commission regulations
The sale of these whale products in Denmark also contravenes International Whaling Commission (IWC - the body that regulates whaling) regulations, and also those of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Earlier in the year, a separate undercover investigation by WDC revealed that Greenland (a Danish overseas territory) had been actively undermining the IWC ban on commercial whaling by selling whale meat to tourist visiting Greenland from whales that are allowed to be killed only for the nutritional needs of local aboriginal people.

This latest undercover operation by WDC in Denmark itself clearly shows that this form of illegal commercial whaling has now extended into mainland Europe and makes a mockery of Greenland's requests to hunt more whales to feed native Greenlanders.

WDC is also requesting:

  • That the EU should immediately re-examine the legitimacy of allowing the export of whale products into the EU
  • All exports should cease immediately until the IWC has granted an ASW quota to Greenland.
  • The EU should require Denmark to put in place all such measures to ensure that whale meat and products cannot be moved around within the EU outside of Denmark.
  • The IWC should not allocate any quotas to Greenland unless satisfied that the EU has complied with the above recommendations.

"Denmark is an EU member and so is bound by EU law", says WDC chief executive, Chris Butler-Stroud. "Yet individuals from WDC posing as tourists visiting Copenhagen were able to make two independent purchases of both whale steaks and blubber. When notified that the individuals concerned were not resident in Denmark, the sales staff didn't seem to care. 

Commercial whaling - Not subsistence
"This is clearly commercial whaling. IWC rules state that the taking of whales is permitted only when the meat and products are to be used exclusively for local consumption. Our investigation report shows that this demand for more whale meat is driven by the commercial consumer market not by aboriginal needs."

WDC has now presented the findings of its latest undercover investigation in a full briefing report sent to the EU Commission and also to the IWC and CITES relevant international authorities.

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