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February 20, 2013

Humane Society International/Canada Criticizes Canadian and Norwegian Misinformation at WTO Hearing on EU Seal Product Trade Ban

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Video evidence and scientific study confirms that commercial seal slaughter is inherently inhumane. Gray Mitchell

GENEVA — Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, issued the following in response to statements made by the Canadian and Norwegian delegations during the hearing on the European Union seal product trade ban at the World Trade Organization.

“I am deeply disappointed by statements made by the Canadian and Norwegian delegations at the WTO hearing on the European Union prohibition on commercial seal product trade. Both delegations consistently distorted facts, attempted to discredit independent scientists, and tried in vain to dismiss nearly one hour of disturbing video evidence of recent commercial seal kills.

The EU confirms that both nations block independent observation of their seal slaughters. Despite this, the small amount of video evidence available of those kills indicates unacceptable suffering. In Canada, where observation of the sealing must be permitted by law, extensive video evidence and scientific study confirms that commercial seal slaughter is inherently inhumane. This is both because of the intrinsically unreliable stunning methods and the field environment in which the sealing occurs.

Commercial sealing in Norway, Namibia and Canada share a number of common features. First, the animals targeted by the sealers are free ranging and mobile, and shooting and clubbing accuracy is compromised by this. Second, clubbing is used in all of these seal kills, and yet clubbing is not accepted as a general stunning method for animals, especially the size and weight of the seals involved. Third, all of these seal kills involve long distance shooting of moving targets and (in the case of Norway and Canada) shooting from moving platforms, which poses insurmountable obstacles to accuracy and humane slaughter. The Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing appointed by the Canadian government confirmed that it is probably impossible to achieve an acceptable degree of accuracy in clubbing and shooting of seals given the conditions in which the killing operates.

The EU demonstrated clearly that commercial sealing is inherently inhumane. The best way to stop the cruelty is to end the trade.”

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Media Contact: Dean Pogas, 514.395.2914, dpogas@humanesociety.org

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International—one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than eleven million members and constituents globally—on the Web at hsicanada.ca.

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