Austrian Chancellor signals support for a national ban on seal products

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Vienna, Austria
Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer today expressed his intent to support a national ban on the import of all seal products into Austria. Representatives from IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) presented the Chancellor with a petition requesting the implementation of a national trade ban and a poll showing that 84.7% of Austrians are opposed to Canada’s commercial seal hunt. In addition, the poll indicated that 80.5% of Austrians are in favor of passing a national ban on seal products.
This past April, the Austrian Parliament unanimously voted on a motion in favor of a trade ban. If the ban passes in early 2008, this decision could make Austria the fourth nation in the European Union to implement a ban on seal products, following Belgium, The Netherlands and Slovenia. As with other national bans, this initiative will eliminate the Austrian market from the commercial seal trade, putting further pressure on the Canadian government to end the commercial seal hunt.

“A national trade ban for seal products in Austria would be a clear signal to Canada that Austria wants no part of Canada’s cruel and inhumane commercial seal hunt,” says Dr. Ralf Sonntag, Director of IFAW’s German Office. “In addition, an Austrian seal ban would be a huge step towards securing a European-wide trade ban,” he added.
 
Recently, there has been strong opposition to this hunt and many nations have taken action to stop the trade of seal products in Europe. Belgium and The Netherlands both passed national bans following the European Parliament’s resolution in support of an EU-wide trade ban.
 
National trade bans also exist in the United States and Mexico. In addition, Germany, Italy and France are all making legislative steps towards implementing trade bans. IFAW continues to urge other governments as well as the European Parliament to close their markets to products derived from commercial seal hunts.

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Experts

Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Robbie Marsland, Regional Director, United Kingdom
Regional Director, United Kingdom
Sheryl Fink, Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union