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July 6, 2016

European Parliament urges Japan to cease whaling activities

Humane Society International/Europe

  • Minke whale. Daniel Benhaim/iStockphoto

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on Japan’s decision to resume whaling in the 2015-2016 season. MEPs have voiced their support for the maintenance of the global moratorium on commercial whaling. They urge Japan to cease its ‘scientific’ whaling activities and to commit to its international obligations regarding the protection of marine mammals. Dr Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International/Europe’s executive director, issued the following statement:

“HSI/Europe applauds the European Parliament for issuing such a strong statement against Japanese whaling activities. In the June plenary debate with the European Commission and Council, which paved the way to this resolution, MEPs from across the political spectrum and from all corners of the Union displayed a rare show of unanimity in their condemnation of the cruel and unnecessary slaughter of cetaceans under the guise of ‘science’. This resolution makes unequivocal demands on the Commission, The European External Action Service and Member States to continuously engage with Japan on the ‘scientific’ whaling issue with a view eradicating the practice. Crucially, MEPs urge the Commission and Council to ensure that, when updating the EU common position on whaling, they take an approach that is at least as precautionary as their present one.”

Take action to save whales.


  • In March 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s then programme of whaling in Antarctica (JARPAII) was not in accord with the provisions of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
  • Japan cancelled this programme and did not whale in the Southern Ocean in the following season.
  • In November 2015, Japan announced that it would resume Antarctic whaling under a new programme of research it called New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean.
  • In December 2015, the European Union joined New Zealand in a démarche to the Japanese government strongly condemning Japan´s plan to continue this so-called ‘scientific’ whaling in the Southern Ocean.
  • Prior to the official launch of EU-Japan Free Trade Agreements in March 2013, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on these impending trade negotiations, which explicitly called for ‘broader discussions on the matter of the abolition of whale hunting and of trade in whale products’ within the framework of the negotiations. The FTA negotiations are due enter their 17th round in September. Reportedly the issue of whaling has thus far not yet been addressed.

Media Contacts:

US: Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 301.721.6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org
UK: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

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