Canada urges EU rethink on seal products ban
July 27, 2009
According to the Associated Foreign Press, Canada has appealed to the European Union (EU) to "reconsider" the adoption of a ban on the sale of seal products. They also warned it would consider bringing the issue with the World Trade Organization. In a statement released by the International Trade Minister, Stockwell Day, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea, Canada is calling on the European Union to reconsider the proposed seal products trade ban. "Canada has clearly lived up to its obligations, and our position remains that any ban on a humanely conducted hunt such as Canada''s is completely without cause," the statement said. The European Parliament in May voted to endorse a EU ban on seal products in protest against commercial hunting methods, but it will only become law once the Council of the European Union adopts it. If approved, it would come into force by 2010''s seal hunting season.Ottawa argues that the ban should not target its seal products because it imposes regulations ensuring humane hunting inside its borders. "Should the EU choose to adopt a seal products trade ban that does not contain an acceptable derogation for humanely harvested seal products, Canada will defend its rights and interests under the relevant World Trade Organization agreements," the statement said. Around 6,000 Canadians take part in seal hunting each year along the Atlantic coast. The Canadian government authorizes the slaughter of 338,000 seals per season, and says the survival of the species is not in danger. The popularity of seal hunting has dropped along with a decline in demand for seal products. However, seal hunting is a particular feature of Inuit communities in the country, and the ministers'' statement made reference to the ban''s impact on that population. "We are particularly concerned that no one in the European Union has listened to the Inuit on this matter. This misinformed and ill-considered regulation will strike at some of Canada''s most vulnerable communities," the statement said.