News Round Up: Proposed EU Ban on Seal Products
In a long-awaited decision that may have significant consequences for Canadian sealers, the European Union on Wednesday moved to ban imports of products derived from seals that are inhumanely killed.
"European politicians are doing for Canadians what our own politicians will not — that is, listen to the majority opposition to this cruel, unsustainable and unnecessary hunt," said Sheryl Fink, an Ontario-based researcher with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
"Proposed seal pelt ban welcomed by animal rights groups," from The National Post
Animal rights groups are applauding a European Commission move to adopt proposals to ban the import of pelts from seals. But they also say the move falls short of what they want to see since it allows exemptions for products obtained from seal hunts that can show seals did not suffer unnecessarily.
[Spokeswoman for IFAW in Ottowa] Sheryl Fink said closing the European markets to seal products should give the Canadian government a serious wake-up call. "This proposal shows that the European Commission is concerned about the cruelty inherent in commercial seal hunts, and understands the importance of animal welfare for European citizens," Ms. Fink said. But Ms. Fink said the proposed ban falls short of what IFAW wants to see.
"EU proposes import ban on seal products to protest inhumane hunt," from The Associated Press
The plan announced Wednesday covers hunts worldwide, but focuses on Canada because of claims by anti-hunt campaigners that it is the cruelest. Canadian seal hunters use spiked clubs or hakapiks and rifles to kill seals.
The proposal followed a campaign by animal rights groups and wrangling within the European Commission about how far it could go without sparking a complaint to the World Trade Organization by Canada and other hunting nations.
"EU seeks to halt cruelty to seals," from the BBC
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas called for a ban on seal products obtained through "cruel hunting methods", which he called "repugnant".
The Commission says it is addressing concerns expressed by the European Parliament and the general public "that seals are being killed and skinned using practices that unnecessarily inflict pain and suffering".
"EU executive moves to limit cruelty of seal hunts," from Reuters
The animal welfare group IFAW welcomed the move, but a spokesman said that anything short of a full ban would be difficult to monitor or enforce.
[Environment Commissioner Stavros] Dimas said about a third of the trade in seal products made its way through the 27-state EU en route to their final markets, making EU rules a powerful tool in controlling the trade.
"EU Proposes Partial Ban on Seal Products," from Deutsche Welle
The main target country of the ban is Canada, where hunters slaughtered some 275,000 seals along the Atlantic coast this year.
French actress-turned-animal-activist Brigitte Bardot, who has led a campaign against the killing of seals, regretted that "slaughters will continue as long as they are done in a humane way." But Bardot, who has made headlines in the past few years for supporting ultra-right politicians in France, was still happy about the plan ... French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly assured Bardot that "everything would be done" during the French presidency of the European Union to adopt a law banning imports of seal products in the EU.
"Brussels plans to ban seal trading," from Financial Times
“The people of Europe and the European Parliament will accept nothing less than a total ban,” said Neil Parish, a UK Conservative MEP who is president of the Euopean Parliament’s animal welfare group.
"Seal products ban doesn't go far enough," from The Edinburgh Evening News
Lothians-based Labour Euro-MP David Martin has warned European plans for a trade ban on seal products do not go far enough. And he said only a complete ban would satisfy the people of Europe. Mr Martin, Scotland's longest serving Euro-MP and a former animal rights campaigner, said “ ... I am pleased that the European Commission has at long last come forward with proposals for a ban in the trade in seal products. However, the proposals do not go far enough and are open to abuse...”
He said a recent opinion poll in Canada found an overwhelming majority – 86 per cent – of Canadians said the EU should be allowed to restrict trade in seal products. Mr Martin said: "Let there be no more blood on the ice – only a complete ban will do.”
"N.S. fisheries minister says he'd like to see province's grey seal hunt expanded," from The Canadian Press
A day after the European Union introduced a proposal to ban the import of seal products, Nova Scotia's fisheries minister says he'd like to see the hunt expanded in his province. Ron Chisholm says he believes Canada's hunting methods are humane and he supports any effort by Ottawa aimed at getting the European Union to dump the proposed ban.
Nova Scotia has a yearly quota of 12,000 grey seals, but hunters have rarely taken more than a few hundred annually.