European seal ban to go ahead with temporary suspension for Inuit and sealing Industry

Friday, August 20, 2010
Brussels, Belgium
Today the EU seal ban has gone into effect making it illegal to place seal products derived from commercial sealing on the EU market. However, yesterday the President of the General Court of the European Union issued an order suspending the EU seal ban solely for the applicants in case T-18/10 R. The applicants include Inuit associations, hunting organisations and commercial sealing interests.

“We expect this to be a brief delay in the full implementation of the EU seal ban. According to the EU Commission written submissions from all of the parties in the court case are due by Sept. 7th and an oral hearing will likely be held shortly thereafter to determine whether the suspension in implementing the ban should remain or not,” said Adrian Hiel, IFAW EU Communications Officer. “Given that the EU seal ban provides a clear exemption allowing Inuit and non-commercial seal hunters to place products deriving from the seals on the EU internal market we are confident that the suspension will be lifted and the EU seal ban will be implemented shortly.”

Sealing organisations, including several Inuit groups, led by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and other parties directly affected by the ban (including fur industry representatives from Canada and Norway) had filed a second application for interim relief from the EU Ban in late July 2010. A previous application submitted by the same parties was rejected by the Court earlier in the year.

As the Court had not yet ruled on the second application, the President undertook his decision, “in the interest of the proper administration of justice,” following established procedures.

“The EU restrictions on the trade in products from commercial seal hunts reflects the values of European citizens who, over the years wrote thousands of letters, protested in the streets and appealed to their political representatives to take a stand against a cruel and unnecessary industry,” said Lesley O’Donnell, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) EU Director.

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