The Guardian reports that the US and 25 other countries, all from the EU, have released an official, formal diplomatic position, or démarche, to the Icelandic ambassador in the UK condemning Iceland’s practice of whale hunting.
The statement, delivered to the embassy today while anti-whaling protestors gathered in front of the embassy, reads in part, “We were deeply disappointed with the former Icelandic government’s decision to authorise the hunting of fin and minke whales over the next five years on 27 January 2009. The authorisation was put in place without presentation to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and without regard for the long term interests of cetacean conservation. We wish to express our support for the government of Iceland’s decision to review and reassess its position on the hunting of whales. We encourage Iceland to adhere to the internationally agreed moratorium on commercial whaling and to re-examine the decision to increase its fin and minke whale quota. We remain extremely concerned with Iceland’s reservation, entered in 2000, for these and other cetacean species. We urge Iceland to withdraw this reservation and safeguard these species from international trade.”
Robbie Marsland, UK director of the Internation Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), was quoted as saying, “We ask Iceland, what is the point of slaughtering whales? Iceland has killed more than 200 whales including 125 endangered fin whales – yet no market has been found for fin whale meat.”
The diplomatic note is considered significant, and could be a sign that Iceland’s desire to join the EU may be hampered unless it adopts an absolute no-whaling policy.