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March 12, 2013

HSI Congratulates Italian Authorities for Seizure of Illegal Seal Products

Humane Society International

  • This seizure is the first known case of illegal seal products being seized by a Member State authority since the ban on commercial seal products entered into force in the EU. Kathy Milani/The HSUS

LONDON — Humane Society International congratulates the Italian authorities for taking swift action to investigate a company suspected of placing illegal seal products on the European Union market. Acting on a complaint made by HSI in February 2013, the Italian State Forestry Department carried out a raid on the clothing manufacturer, Creative Ltd (owner of the brand H:CE Footwear), seizing 90 sealskins and more than 100 pairs of shoes made from harp seal fur.

“We urge the Italian authorities to prosecute and penalise this company to the fullest extent of the law,” said Joanna Swabe, Ph.D., HSI/EU director. “Not only has this company allegedly flouted EU law on trade in seal products, but they are also accused of hoodwinking consumers by claiming that these products were certified as being compliant with the EU legislation.”
In 2009, the EU adopted a ban on commercial seal products in response to widespread public opposition to the cruelty inherent in international seal slaughters. The EU ban allows, in principle, for the import of seal products resulting from traditional subsistence hunts by Inuit or other indigenous communities. Though the company claimed that the products originated in Greenland, as of yet there is no recognised entity in Greenland, which has been recognised by the EU to attest to the origin of seal products and certify products accordingly.
HSI urges all EU Member States to ensure that this legislation has been properly implemented and enforced.  
This Italian seizure is the first known case of illegal seal products being seized by a Member State authority since the legislation entered into force. HSI calls on the European Commission to ensure that other Member States follow the Italian example to guarantee that these products of animal cruelty are not being placed on the EU market.

Note: A copy of the letter sent to the Italian authorities and the European Commission is available to journalists on request. 

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — on the Web at hsi.org.

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