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October 3, 2013

European Court of Justice Dismisses Sealing Industry Appeal

Humane Society International/Canada

  • No to cruelty. Nigel Barker

MONTREAL—The Court of Justice of the European Union has preserved the European Union’s ban on commercial seal product trade by dismissing an appeal by commercial sealing and fur trade interests and some Inuit representatives. The appeal sought to overturn the European General Court’s 2011 decision that the applicants’ action against the EU ban was inadmissible. Humane Society International/Canada’s executive director, Rebecca Aldworth, issued the following statement:

“We applaud the Court of Justice of the European Union for rejecting this senseless challenge and upholding the right of the EU to prohibit commercial trade in seal products. The EU’s decision was the result of a complex, democratic process that involved substantial consultations with the commercial sealing industry, Canadian government and other stakeholders. The applicants simply do not have the legal standing to challenge this decision.

“Eighty-six percent of Canadians support the right of the European Union to prohibit trade in commercial seal products. These senseless legal challenges against the EU decision are doomed to failure and fly in the face of Canadian and European values. It is time the commercial sealing industry and Canadian government accepted that global markets for seal products are closing and worked together to move Canada beyond commercial sealing.”

In the five years since the EU ban on trade in products of commercial seal hunts came into effect, prices for seal fur in Canada have declined significantly and remained low. As a result, most commercial fishermen have chosen not to participate in the annual slaughter and more than 1.4 million baby seals have been spared a horrible fate.


  • In April 2013, the European General Court rejected a separate action brought by commercial sealing industry interests and Inuit representatives, which sought to annul the European Commission Regulation that provides detailed rules for the implementation of the EU ban on trade in seal products.
  • An appeal to this decision was lodged in July 2013.
  • A separate application to have the EU seal product trade ban overturned was rejected in April 2010.

Media Contact: Christopher Paré, 514.395.2914/438-402-0643, cpare@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection with 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—on the Web at hsicanada.ca.

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