Germany’s National Veterinary Association demands a trade embargo on all seal products

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Bonn, Germany
Germany’s National Veterinary Association (Bundestierärztekammer) this week demanded that the German government place a national trade embargo on all seal products, citing the cruel methods with which seals are hunted in Canada. The action was applauded by experts with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) , who campaign to end Canada’s annual slaughter of more than 300,000 seals, some as young as twelve days old.
Dr. Ernst Breitling, president of the National Veterinary Association submitted the written request to top government officials including Prime Minister Angela Merkel. “Veterinarians, as the best protectors of animals, are outraged by the gruesome methods with which seals are often killed,” he wrote.
 
The association’s claim that Canada’s seal hunt is cruel is backed by footage obtained by IFAW, which has documented the Canadian seal hunt for more than three decades. This footage exposes the methods used by sealers, which often include the skinning of live seals.
 
 “IFAW and its 2.5 million supporters are shocked each year by the cruelty of Canada’s annual seal hunt,” said IFAW’s Canada Director, Olivier Bonnet, “and now veterinarians with Germany’s National Veterinary Association have validated these claims of cruelty. It’s time to end this hunt once and for all.”
 
The association also criticized the number of seals killed by Canadian sealers, which often exceeds the total allowable catch numbers, thus threatening the sustainability of the species. In 2006, more than 354,000 seals were killed during the Canadian seal hunt, surpassing the 335,000 quota.
 
The veterinarian’s request comes at a crucial time in Europe. The European Parliament is reviewing a resolution to impose a Europe-wide ban on seal products while the German parliament is discussing their own ban. National bans currently exist in the U.S., Mexico, Croatia and Italy; while bans in Belgium and the Netherlands are soon to be adopted.
 
 “A German trade ban on seal products will bring us closer to closing the door on this cruel trade,” said IFAW’s Germany Director, Ralf Sonntag. “The action today by Germany’s National Veterinary Association shows the high level of condemnation that exists for Canada’s annual commercial hunt of more than 300,000 seals.”
 
To learn more about IFAW’s efforts to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt, visit www.ifaw.org today.

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Experts

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