A key part of IFAW’s work to protect seals is to end the trade in seal products.
Thanks to years of campaign work exposing the cruelty of commercial seal hunts, in 1983 Europe banned the importation of products from “whitecoat” harp seals—seal pups less than two weeks old—saving more than a million newborn seals from slaughter over the following decade.
In 2009, the European Union banned the importation of all seal products, with an exemption for Inuit products, saving the lives of even more seals. Then in 2011, the Customs Union of the Russian Federation, Belarus and Kazakhstan banned the import and export of harp seal skins. Taiwan followed in 2013.
In China and other parts of Asia, thanks in part to our continued efforts, there is now growing opposition to products derived from cruel seal hunts.
We are campaigning to ensure that Asian consumers are aware of the cruelty involved in commercial seal hunts and that new markets for seal products do not emerge.
Our work, supported by millions of like-minded, caringindividuals around the world, has helped bring about trade bans in 34 countries and reduce the demand for seal products to historically low levels.
Together we will continue the fight until the trade in seal products ends and the killing stops.
Timeline of shrinking markets