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March 2, 2009

Landmark Victory for Seals in European Parliament

Europe takes first step towards banning seal product trade

Humane Society International/Canada

  • One step closer to safety.  HSI 

Update: Victory for seals! In May 2009, the European Union banned trade in seal products

Today, the Internal Markets and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of a strong prohibition on trade in seal products in the European Union. The IMCO’s Opinion will go forward to plenary weeks from now.

“This vote brings us one step closer to ending the senseless slaughter of millions of seals throughout the world,” said Mark Glover, director of HSI UK. “The vast majority of Europeans want the EU to enact a strong prohibition on seal products, which will end the suffering I witness on the Canadian ice floes each year.”

Canada’s commercial seal kill is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth, with hundreds of thousands of baby seals killed annually for their fur. The overwhelming majority of Canadians are opposed to the commercial seal hunt and so the vast majority of seal products are exported to Europe for resale in fashion markets. Sealing industry representatives in Canada have stated than an EU prohibition on seal product trade could spell the end of commercial seal hunting in Canada.

Veterinarians have studied Canada’s commercial seal hunt for five decades and have consistently found high levels of suffering. Veterinary experts say commercial seal hunting is inherently inhumane because of the remote, extreme environments in which hunts operate and the speed at which they must be conducted. This is a primary reason why nations around the world are taking action on behalf of their citizens to end their trade in seal products.

The ProtectSeals team is on Canada’s East Coast to visit the spectacular harp seal nursery.