Government refuses to halt post-Brexit Faroes trade deal despite whale and dolphin massacres
Exclusive: Department for International Trade defies plea for sanctions after nearly 1,500 mammals killed
The government has refused to suspend a free-trade deal with the Faroe Islands over whale and dolphin massacres, in defiance of calls from conservationists.
Just 10 days later, they responded to the global revulsion by slaughtering 53 pilot whales only a few miles from the first massacre.
Wildlife campaigner Dominic Dyer has called for ministers to suspend the £580m post-Brexit agreement that the government agreed with the Faroe Islands in 2019 “until the slaughter ends for good”.
More than 21,000 people have signed a petition on the government website backing the plea in three days.
The government told The Independent it is “extremely concerned about the sustainability and welfare implications for the animals involved in these hunts” but that it would not review the trade deal.
Instead, it says it will “continue to engage in a frank and respectful dialogue” with the government of the Faroes.
Zac Goldsmith, the minister for animal welfare, tweeted of the dolphin killings: “This is one of the most sickening spectacles I’ve ever seen. It shames our species.”
Known as the “Grindadrap”, the annual hunt involves herding whales and dolphins on to a beach where they are knifed to death as their blood turns the sea red.
The practice has been branded “barbaric”, “sick” and “sadistic” but those who defend it say it is a tradition that does not risk driving the animals into extinction.
Mr Dyer said: “We are currently granting the Faroe Islands a preferential trade agreement worth over £500m a year – it’s time for sanctions to stop this barbarism.”
The deal accounts for more than 25 per cent of the Faroes’ global trade, he said, with exports from the islands – mostly fish sold in British supermarkets – worth £582m a year.
UK exports to the islands amount to £34m, said Mr Dyer, whose petition reads: “If the UK is to be considered a world leader in the protection of marine mammals, it must use this leverage now.”
When asked by The Independent whether it would agree to suspend or review the deal, the Department for International Trade said it had no plans to do so.
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “The UK is strongly opposed to the hunting of any cetaceans and continues to call on all whaling nations, including the Faroe Islands, at every appropriate opportunity to cease their whaling activities in favour of well-managed, responsible tourism, such as whale-watching.
“We recognise there is a long tradition in the Faroe Islands of killing pilot whales and dolphins for meat and other products, and we wish to continue our frank conversations relating to cetacean conservation, to encourage them to stop these hunts.”
Government policy is to “maintain diplomatic pressure” on the islands to end the hunts and re-engage with the International Whaling Commission.
Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie, and his father, Stanley, have previously joined campaigns against whaling outside the Japanese embassy in London.
We tried 30 years ago to make this an issue in England, and to bring it to peoples attention.
When was this ? – around 1991 probably. Joanne; Mark (WAV) and Trevor (at front) campaign outside an English local supermarket buying produce from the Faroe Islands – responsible for the whale slaughter (see picture below).
As an Englishman, I am sickened to the core that our limp wristed, gutless government are not making this a big issue in the trade deal currently in progress. It simply shows that money talks louder than anything else, and governments (in this case the British government) are happy to look the other way and ignore the killing of over 1,400 marine animals in the last week. God knows how many since we were on the streets – too many, and something should have been done about this decades ago.
Read the article below by clicking on https://serbiananimalsvoice.com/about-us/ and then scrolling down to the same picture, which you can click on to enlarge and read.