A regulation to ban the trade of all seal products within the EU wasadopted today (July 27) by the Council of the European Union, which will see markets in Europe officially close in 2010.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), welcomed the move as the last step of approval before the implementation of this momentous legislation. IFAW claims the ban is a “significant victory” in IFAW’s 40-year campaign to end Canada’s cruel commercial seal hunt.
Robbie Marsland, UK director of IFAW, said: “There is a wonderful sense of accomplishment today after years of hard work. Already this year we’ve seen how the prospect of the ban affected the seal hunt and saved the lives of thousands of seals.
“Over the coming year we will closely monitor the implementation of the ban until it comes into force, which should be during the summer of 2010. We expect the seal hunt to continue its inevitable decline over the coming years until it is wiped out once and for all.”
However, it has ben reprted that the Canadian government will continue to enthusiastically pursue trade negotiations with the EU over the coming months and years regardless of this trade ban.
According to IFAW, the minute financial contribution of the seal hunt in Canada is more than offset by the indirect subsidies required and the costs incurred by the hunt. The organisation quoted a Canadian government website which claimed that the 2009 commercial seal hunt was worth less than one million Euros (under £900,000). In contrast, the Canadian government expects a Canada-EU trade deal to increase trade by 26 billion Euros.
This seal ban is the culmination of years of work by IFAW which began with Belgium passing the first ban on the trade in seal products in the EU in 2007.
IFAW opposes Canada’s commercial seal hunt because it is “unacceptably cruel, unnecessary and unsustainable”. The organisation is calling on the public to increase pressure on Canada by contacting their Canadian embassies and demanding an immediate end to Canada’s commercial seal hunt.
seal ban in front of the Council of Europe in Brussels, Belgium.© IFAW/D. Legreve