Canada’s commitment to end wildlife crime needs to start at home
Canadians awoke to the shocking news this morning that a shipment of meat from endangered fin whales was allowed to be shipped across Canada.
The meat comes from Iceland and is destined for markets in Japan. Between 2008 and 2012, Iceland exported 1.6 million kg of whale meat, and is currently being threatened by sanctions from the United States government for its continued slaughter of whales and trade in whale meat.
Fin whales — and other endangered whales — are listed under Appendix 1 on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, meaning that no commercial trade in their products is permitted.
A spokesperson for Environment Canada claimed that Canada was required to allow the shipment, and that even though they knew the meat was from an endangered species, they “lacked authority” to do anything about it.
If true, this is clearly a problem that needs to be fixed. We would not allow illegal drugs or arms to be transported across the country, so why should Canada facilitate the trade in an endangered species?
— John Baird (@HonJohnBaird) February 12, 2014
At the summit, decision makers from around the world pledged to take decisive and urgent action to tackle illegal wildlife trade in endangered species. We at IFAW could not agree more.
We commend Minister Baird for taking a strong stand against illegal wildlife trade, and for his commitment to protecting threatened species. IFAW will continue to speak out against commercial whaling, and work to ensure that Canada is not a trade route for threatened and endangered species.