IFAW delighted by Council of Europe recommendation to ban seal products

Friday, 17 November, 2006
San Marino
Today, the Council of Europe reflected the concerns of millions of European citizens that the Canadian commercial seal hunt is unacceptably cruel. IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) applauds the council’s decision to speak out against the cruelty of the hunt. The Members of the Council of Europe called on European governments to introduce a ban on all seal-derived products. They also asked for better regulation of the Canadian commercial seal hunt as the killing methods (i.e. the use of hakapiks and guns) were considered inhumane. The council adopted a series of amendments to the 2004 council recommendation which are in line with recent European legislative developments for prohibiting the trade in seal products
IFAW has been campaigning to end Canada’s commercial seal hunt for more than thirty years, and experts with the organization are very pleased with the council’s decision. “This decision sends a very strong message to European governments that Canada’s cruel hunt will not be tolerated,” said Dr. Joth Singh, IFAW’s Director of Wildlife and Habitat Protection. “IFAW hopes that the council’s recommendation will be heeded and that legislation banning the trade in seal products will be put in place at the EU level.”
The Council of Europe is the continent’s oldest political organization, founded in 1949. It groups together 46 countries, including 21 countries from Central and Eastern Europe, and is currently reviewing application from two more countries (Belarus and Montenegro). The council was set up to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law,  develop continent-wide agreements to standardize member countries’ social and legal practices and to promote awareness of a European identity based on shared values cutting across different cultures. The Parliamentary Assembly is the deliberative body of the Council of Europe, composed of 315 representatives (and the same number of substitutes) appointed by the 46 member states’ national parliaments.
Canada’s commercial seal hunt is the largest hunt for marine mammals today. Just last year, over 350,000 seals were killed, 97% of which were under 3 months of age. International opposition to the hunt is increasing with bans in place in the U.S., Mexico, Croatia and Italy, while bans in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are in discussion. To learn more about IFAW’s campaign to end the Canadian seal hunt visit www.ifaw.org.

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