IFAW WTO Seal briefing
The EU legislation being challenged by Canada and Norway is Regulation (EC) No. 1007/2009, also known as the “EU seal regime”, effectively banning the import and placing on the market of seal products in the EU. The legislation exempts products coming from subsistence hunts carried out by indigenous communities, and allows exceptions for trade in by-products from sustainable marine resources management and products for personal use of travelers or their families. These exceptions represent non-commercial use of seal products.
The EU seal regulation was adopted after massive public outcry about the cruelty involved in the seal hunt and the rejection of EU citizens to accept these products on the EU market. After three EU Member States (Belgium, The Netherlands and Slovenia) adopted national bans on seal products and several others (Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, UK and France) were reported to be considering legislation of their own, the EU considered it important to harmonise this policy at EU level.