Loophole allows whale meat to be shipped across Canada

A worker hoses a fin whale down as others tow it up a ramp to a processing plant at the Hvalfjordur...

A worker hoses a fin whale down as others tow it up a ramp to a processing plant at the Hvalfjordur whaling station, about 70 km (43.5 miles) north of Reykjavik, Iceland June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Ingolfur Juliusson

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 5:28 PM ET

OTTAWA - Despite being a signatory to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Canada continues to allow shipments of endangered whale meat from Iceland to be transported across the country to Japan, breaking its own trade and animal protection laws.

Questions were lobbed at Environment Canada back in February after a shipment of 12 containers of fin whale meat - given the highest level of protection against commercial trade, according to CITES, because of their endangered status - was discovered traveling through Canada on its way to Japan.

Countries that have signed on to CITES implement the convention through their own laws, as Canada did when it enacted the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).

In a letter to Environment Canada in February, lawyers acting for the International Fund for Animal Welfare said that "under Canadian law, whale meat cannot be imported to Canada without a permit under ... WAPPRIITA," adding that "Canada has issued no such permit."

 

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