December 15, 2014
Norway Cancels Subsidies to Commercial Sealing Industry
The Norwegian government voted to end subsidies to the Norwegian commercial sealing industry, earning praise from Humane Society International/Canada. The move follows a failed attempt by Norway and Canada to overturn the European Union ban on trade in products of commercial seal hunts at the World Trade Organization.
Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada, said:
“Norway has always played a significant role in global commercial sealing. The government has heavily subsidized the slaughter of thousands of seals annually, while a Norwegian company has purchased and processed millions of seal skins from Canada in recent decades. This decision will save thousands of seals in Norway each year from a cruel slaughter. But just as importantly, it sends a very clear message to the Canadian government that even the staunchest supporters of commercial sealing are moving beyond this dying, inherently inhumane industry.
“I sincerely hope this news, paired with the closing of much of the world market for seal products in recent years, will encourage the Canadian government to support a buyout of Canada's commercial sealing industry. This simple plan, which involves compensating commercial sealers for their licenses and investing in economic alternatives, has already achieved broad support within the sealing community and general public. What we need now is for the Canadian government to show true leadership and end this slaughter for good."
- In addition to the EU, the United States, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Mexico and Taiwan have ended some or all trade in products of commercial seal hunts.
- Up to 80 percent of the income earned by Norwegian sealers came from government subsidies.
- In the past three years, a Norwegian owned seal processor in Canada, Carino Company Ltd., has received millions of dollars in financing from the Newfoundland government to allow the company to purchase seal skins.
- Humane Society International has never opposed the Inuit subsistence seal hunt.
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