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September 14, 2011

HSI Applauds European General Court Ruling on Seal Products Ban (Europe release)

Humane Society International/Europe

  • Seal product trade bans are reducing demand. HSI

STRASBOURG—Humane Society International commended a landmark decision by the European General Court to dismiss a case challenging the 2009 European Union prohibition on trade in products of commercial seal kills. The world’s largest commercial sealing interests, together with fur industry lobby groups and a number of Inuit sealing advocates, put forward the case in 2010.

“The overwhelming majority of European Union citizens strongly oppose the trade in products of commercial seal hunts,” said Joanna Swabe Ph.D., HSI EU director. “We are glad, though not surprised, that the European General Court has decided to dismiss this spurious court case. It was an attempt to undermine legislation, which was brought about as a result of democratic decision-making. Commercial sealing interests simply need to accept that Europe never will be a market for products of cruelty again.”

The dismissed case (T-18/10) was an application to the European Court requesting an annulment of European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009, which prohibits the placing on the market of products from commercial seal hunts throughout the European Union. The European Court did not have to reach the merits of the case having found that the applicants were not “directly concerned” by the seals regulation, a key factor in determining whether a legal challenge is admissible.

Case T-526/10, a secondary application by the same group, is still before the Court. It requests an annulment of European Parliament and Council Regulation No 737/2010, which outlines how the ban is enforced.

This ruling comes on the heels of the Canadian government challenge of the EU ban at the World Trade Organization, which has been perceived by many in the EU as a baseless attack on European values and democratic processes. In response, a number of Members of the European Parliament have indicated they are less likely to ratify the pending Canada-European Union Economic and Trade Agreement—a deal reportedly worth $12 billion annually to Canada’s economy—unless Canada withdraws its WTO challenge.

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Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations—backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsieurope.org.

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