EU Seal Ban comes into full effect

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Brussels, Belgium

The General Court of the European Union (EU) today rescinded the temporary suspension of the EU regulation banning the trade in seal products. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – http://www.ifaw.org/) applauds the decision which allows the full implementation of this momentous legislation. The ban is a significant victory in IFAW’s 40 year campaign to end  commercial sealing. 

“We are pleased that the court has made the right decision and lifted the suspension. This ban is about the right of Europeans to say ‘No’ to products that stem from cruel and unnecessary hunts. IFAW will continue to work to defend this right and to defend the EU seal ban,” said Lesley O’Donnell, IFAW’s EU Director. 

The EU ban is significant in that it prohibits the trade in products from all commercial seal hunts, including those in Canada, Namibia, and Norway, while protecting sealing by Inuit and other indigenous peoples.

“The applicants in the court case included most of the Canadian and Norwegian commercial sealing industry, and as such, had the suspension not ended there could be no guarantee to Europeans that they are not providing a market for products from cruel commercial seal hunts,” said O’Donnell. “The European parliament had no desire to damage the Inuit traditional way of life and the EU ban specifically exempts Inuit seal products.” 

The EU will likely have to defend its seal ban at the WTO. Canada recently requested additional WTO consultations with the EU on the ban. The consultations are expected to take place before the end of the year.

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Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
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Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union