Victory for Seals as EU ban on Seal Products Takes Full Effect
Great news for seals! The EU ban on the marketing of seal products can finally take full effect, thanks to a court order issued earlier this week.
The general court of the European Union has lifted the interim measures that had temporarily suspended the EU regulation banning the trade in seal products for litigants in an application to the court.
The litigants included most of the commercial sealing industry, including those in Canada, Norway and Greenland. The order of the court provides an independent look at the arguments being used by the Government of Canada and sealing industry.
Refreshingly, the court notes - several times - the complete lack of evidence provided to support any of the claims made by the litigants, and effectively dismisses many of the arguments presented as being without basis.
Arguments that the recent drop in market conditions for seal products was directly linked to the EU Regulation were deemed unfounded (and in fact, they contradict earlier claims made by sealing industry representatives themselves). And while the EU ban has a complete exemption for the products of Inuit seal hunting, the ruling also noted the minimal participation of Canadian Inuit in the seal economy and the low export rate of Inuit seal products.
Interestingly, the court noted that no entity governed by public law (such as the Canadian federal government) - was among the applicants in the present case. In stark contrast to all the hot air in Ottawa about "standing up for sealers", when the applicants needed the support of government, it wasn't there. Perhaps this one just wasn't up to their usual tacky photo-op standards, like chowing down on seal meat for the cameras.
This is great news for seals, the European public, and for compassionate citizens around the world - but the fight to defend the EU ban from attack is far from over. There is still a pending court case asking for the total annulment of the EU ban, and it remains to be seen how that will proceed. In addition, the Canadian and Norwegian governments have indicated their intention to challenge the EU regulation at the WTO. Further attempts from the sealing industry to undermine this critical piece of legislation are expected, but IFAW will continue to support and defend the EU ban on seal products for as long as necessary.
For more information on IFAW efforts to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt, visit http://ifaw.org.