Canada Slammed For Trading Endangered Whale Meat

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Canadian officials are facing backlash for allowing whale meat shipments to travel through the country on its way from Iceland to Japan.

Last week Don Davies, a member of Parliament representing Vancouver Kingsway, publicly attacked his country's involvement, saying, "Canada is being used as a conduit to ship prohibited meat from the most endangered whales on Earth, from Iceland to Japan, despite Canada's international commitment not to trade in those species."

Despite protests from the the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the government has previously said that the shipments don't violate Canadian law because their final destination is elsewhere. IFAW argues that a special permit is required - and that Canada is an accomplice to whaling.

The commitment Davies referred to is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which prohibits the international trade of certain species based on their conservation status in the wild.

Iceland, one of the only countries that still allows commercial whaling, reported a catch of 137 fin whales earlier this year. A coalition of 35 governments penned a démarche calling on Iceland to respect the International Whaling Commission's global moratorium on hunting whales.

"Fin whales and minke whales are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I ... and we remain extremely concerned with Iceland's reservation, entered in 2000, for these and other cetacean species."

Now, Canada has been exposed as complicit in the whaling industry, and even members of the government are calling on it to stop.

When pressed, International Trade Minister Ed Fast said, "We stand against the trade in endangered animals." He also said that the government is taking the issue under advisement.

A petition calling on Canada to halt whale meat shipments has gained over 60,000 signatures.