Ivory tusks from endangered African elephants.

Thursday, 8 February, 2007
London, United Kingdom
IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) welcomes the statement made today by Ian McCartney MP, the Minister for Trade, calling upon the European Commission to propose an EU-wide ban on the import of seal products. The statement comes in response to the Government’s deep concern about the cruelty of the Canadian seal hunt.
The statement has been welcomed by IFAW as a sign of the growing opposition to Canada’s cruel commercial seal hunt, which is now the biggest marine mammal hunt in the world. During last year’s hunt more than 350,000 seals were killed after being clubbed or shot.
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW said:

“IFAW welcomes the call by the UK Government for an EU ban on seal products. There is huge public and political opposition to Canada’s seal hunt in Britain and throughout Europe. This move sends a strong message to the Canadian Government  that the cruelty of the seal hunt won’t be tolerated. We now urge the EU to take urgent action and implement a ban.”

Eric Martlew MP, Chair of the All-Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare, said:

“This is excellent news. The Government has clearly listened to the concerns of the public, MPs and NGOs. We need Europe to make a united stand to close down the markets and stop importing cruelty but it is important that action is taken immediately as this year’s hunt is approaching rapidly.”

Throughout the past year, there have been strong steps to stop the trade of seal products in Europe. The German Parliament voted unanimously on a motion urging the government to ban seal products, just one month after the EU Parliament passed a Written Declaration in support of an EU-wide trade ban.
Last month Belgium became the first EU nation to implement a ban on the import of seal products. There is also currently a proposal for a national ban before the Dutch parliament.
Canada’s annual seal slaughter is due to begin next month in the Gulf of St Lawrence and IFAW will be monitoring the hunt to document the inherent cruelty involved.

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