The World Trade Organization has ruled in regards to the Canadian and
Norwegian appeal of a 2013 WTO Panel decision in favour of the European
Union ban on seal product trade. Joanna Swabe, EU director for Humane
Society International, had the following response:
"This is a historic ruling. The WTO Appellate Body has recognised the
EU's right to ban commercial seal product trade. It is also one of the
most important developments in the global campaign to protect seals.
This decision confirms that the European Union market will remain closed
to products of cruel commercial seal slaughters. EU citizens are
strongly opposed to the brutal killing of defenceless baby seals for
their fur, and we will never participate in this industry by financially
supporting it. It is time both the Canadian and Norwegian governments
listened to the world community and stopped the commercial seal
· In 2009, the EU prohibited trade in the products of commercial seal
slaughters, a move supported by 86 percent of Canadians (Environics
· The EU ban contains a clear exemption for products of traditional
Inuit seal hunts. HSI does not oppose Inuit subsistence sealing.
· More than seven in ten adults (72 percent) across 11 European Union
Member States support the EU's ban on the sale of seal products in the
EU (Ipsos MORI, 2011). More than 6000 people were surveyed for the poll.
· In 2013, the WTO ruled that the EU ban on trade in commercial seal
products is justifiable on public morality grounds. The WTO Panel noted
in the decision that commercial sealing poses inherent risks to animal
· In January 2014, Canada and Norway appealed the WTO Panel report. The
EU subsequently also appealed. HSI coauthored another amicus brief that
was submitted to the WTO Appellate Body, and HSI representatives again
attended the Appellate Body hearing.
· The WTO appellate body ruled on May 22, 2014 and upheld the EU ban on
trade in products of commercial seal hunts. It also found that the
measure is not a technical regulation and therefore the TBT Agreement
does not apply.
· With more than two million seals killed since 2002, Canada's
commercial seal slaughter is the largest slaughters of marine mammals on
earth. The seals are killed primarily for their fur and, because most
Canadians oppose commercial sealing, the sealing industry relies almost
exclusively on export markets to sell its products.
· Global markets for seal products are closing fast. In 2009, the
European Union joined the United States, Mexico and Croatia in
prohibiting trade in products of commercial seal hunts. In 2011, the
Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus prohibited trade in harp
seal fur, and in 2013, Taiwan ended its trade in all marine mammal
products (including seal products).
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal
protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and
habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and
animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society
International which, together with its partners, constitutes one of the
world's largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and
confronting cruelty worldwide - on the Web at www.hsicanada.ca
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