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April 29, 2013

Canadian and Norwegian Governments Spread Misinformation at Second WTO Hearing on EU Seal Product Trade Ban

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Studies identified a widespread disregard by sealers for sealing regulations, as well as a failure by Canadian authorities to monitor the killing and enforce the regulations. Frank Loftus

GENEVA — Humane Society International/Canada Executive Director Rebecca Aldworth, who is observing a World Trade Organization hearing on the European Union’s seal produce trade ban , issued the following in response to opening statements:

“Canada and Norway are yet again resorting to misinformation in their futile attempts to defend the indefensible. In contrast to Canada’s claims, veterinary studies suggest commercial sealing is inherently inhumane. The studies identified high levels of inaccurate shooting and clubbing; excessive delays between stunning, monitoring and bleeding; gaffing of conscious seals onto sealing vessels; a widespread disregard by sealers for sealing regulations; and a failure by authorities to monitor the killing and enforce the regulations. To support its position, Canada relies heavily on one veterinary study produced by a director of the Fur Institute of Canada, yet even this study details unacceptable suffering at the commercial seal slaughter.

“In contrast to Norway’s statements, the true threats to fisheries are primarily human caused. The greatest predator of fish in the ocean is other fish, not marine mammals. Seals are a vital part of the ecosystem of the northwest Atlantic and consume many predators of commercially valuable fish species. Scientists argue a seal cull could increase fish predation and threaten remaining fish stocks.

“The European Union has presented considerable scientific evidence that both Canada and Norway’s seal slaughters are inherently inhumane and that the EU ban on seal product trade is entirely justified from public morality and animal welfare perspectives. In making its case, the EU also showed images filmed by HSI at the 2013 commercial seal slaughter, including wounded seals suffering in agony and gaffed while presumably conscious onto sealing vessels.

“Notably, Canada claimed in its statement that some Inuit seal hunts involve greater suffering than commercial sealing by non-aboriginals. Amazingly, certain Inuit groups continue to align themselves with the Canadian government.”

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Media Contact: Dean Pogas, 514.395.2914, dpogas@hsi.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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