David Martin, Scotland’s senior European MP has welcomed the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgement that Japan’s Southern Ocean whale hunt is illegal under international law.
As a Member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) David Martin believes that the EU should integrate into its trade policy commitments on sustainability, the environment and animal welfare. Negotiations for an EU-Japan trade agreement began in 2012 and prior to this Mr Martin was delighted when the European Parliament voted to endorse his amendments noting the serious divergences between the EU and Japan on issues relating Japan’s so called ‘scientific research’, commonly believed to be simply whaling under the guise of science. Mr Martin’s amendments called on Japan to review its whaling strategy and respect the global ban. Although commercial whaling is prohibited under the international Whaling Commission (IWC) Japan has continued to hunt whales under this exception for scientific research.
On hearing the judgment David Martin MEP, a long time campaigner to outlaw the barbaric practice of commercial whaling, said: ‘This is a great day for the animal welfare movement, I and others have been campaigning for this decision for over twenty years’.
The World Court found that Japan’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling programme in the Antarctic failed to meet the conditions for scientific whaling under regulations set by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the body charged with the conservation of whales and the regulation of whaling.
‘This is a major victory for whale conservation and international law. The landmark ruling means whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary will be fully protected from commercial slaughter conducted under the guise of science’, said Scotland’s senior MEP.