German parliament votes unanimously to ban seal product imports

Friday, October 20, 2006
Berlin, Germany
Germany’s parliament voted unanimously late last night on a motion to ban the import of seal products, eliminating the German market from the commercial seal trade, and sending a strong message to the Canadian government that it wants no part of Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt. The vote was applauded by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org), which has campaigned to achieve a national ban in Germany and continues to campaign throughout the world to protect seals.
Over the past five years, more than 1.25 million seals have been hunted in Canada’s annual commercial hunt – making it the largest marine mammal hunt in the world.

Recently, in opposition to the hunt, the European community has taken strong steps to stop the trade of seal products. Germany’s trade ban vote comes just one month after the EU Parliament passed a resolution in support of an EU trade ban on seal products. The German parliament motion calls for the government to work towards a European ban and to introduce a temporary ban in Germany until the EU ban is passed.

“This decision by the German parliament is very significant in its own right, but also in that Germany will be presiding over the EU-presidency in the first half of 2007,” said Dr. Ralf Sonntag, Director of IFAW-Germany. “Germany should use this leadership role to push for a Europe-wide ban on seal products.

“The Canadian government needs to understand that Europe wants nothing to do with its seal trade, and with dwindling markets for seal products, this cruel hunt should end once and for all,” added Dr. Sonntag.

The global community has denounced Canada’s seal hunt and responded with other seal trade bans. National bans currently exist in the USA, Mexico, Croatia and Italy; while bans in Belgium and the Netherlands are soon to be adopted.

To learn more about IFAW’s efforts to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt, visit www.ifaw.org today.

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