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April 25, 2013

Court Dismisses Fur Industry Attempt to Overturn EU Ban on Cruel Seal Products

Humane Society International applauds ruling

Humane Society International/European Union

  • The Court's ruling ratifies the right of the EU and its citizens say no to the shameful and dying Canadian sealing industry. Katie Carrus/The HSUS

BRUSSELS — The European General Court has wisely decided to uphold the European Union’s ban on commercial trade in seal products. The court rejected a spurious attempt by the sealing and fur trade industries and some Inuit representatives to undermine the ban, which plays a key role in curbing the cruel global trade.

“The court has rejected this cynical attempt to dismantle the EU ban on commercial seal products,” said Joanna Swabe, Ph.D., HSI/EU director. “The EU was well within its right to prohibit trade in cruel seal products and has taken the necessary steps to ensure that only those products that meet the criteria of the agreed derogations can be placed on the EU market. This case, rightly dismissed, is one of several shameful attempts by the sealing and fur industries to bully the EU into accepting these immoral products of animal suffering. Thankfully the wishes of EU citizens have been upheld and long may that continue.”

The court rejected the applicants’ attempt to annul the Commission Regulation, which puts forth detailed rules for the implementation of the EU ban on commercial trade in seal products.

In September 2011, the European General Court also dismissed an action by commercial sealing interests to annul the ban, on the grounds of inadmissibility of the applicants. Another application to have the EU seal product trade ban overturned was also rejected in April 2010. 

A further legal challenge to the ban brought by the Canadian and Norwegian governments is under consideration by the World Trade Organisation. A second hearing will take place next week in Geneva on 29th and 30th April. Having recently returned from documenting the 2013 commercial seal slaughter, HSI representatives will attend the second WTO hearing and will be available for comment.

Footage and stills from the seal slaughter are available upon request.



Media Contact: Wendy Higgins, HSI EU Communications Director: whiggins@hsi.org +44(0)7989 972 423


Commission Regulation (EU) No 737/2010 contains the detailed rules for how the EU seals product ban - Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009- can be implemented.

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations. 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 hsi.org.

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