OTTAWA, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's sealing community today condemned
a report issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute
Settlement Panel that upholds a current ban on seal products throughout
the European Union.
Stating that the WTO Dispute Settlement Panel ruling will have far
reaching implications for Canada's domestic sealing community, the
Seals and Sealing Network is confident the Government of Canada will
continue to defend the seal hunt and will appeal the decision and
address the ongoing European ban. In its decision, a WTO panel that
reviewed the ban in Europe on seal products said that it is legal,
however they did not find that the ban is correct.
"The WTO panel decision is hypocritical given that Canada has as high a
standard as anywhere in the world for hunting wild animals - seals
included. Yet European seals, wild boar and deer are hunted without
any rules governing animal welfare or ecosystem management," said
Eldred Woodford, Chair of the Canadian Sealers Association. "What's
next? Beef? Pigs? Chicken?"
The decision by the WTO panel to reaffirm the European ban on seal
products could have broad and unintended impacts on other trade sectors
in Canada such as agriculture and fishing where the morality of animal
production practices could be called into question. Furthermore, the
WTO panel ruling is discriminatory to countries such as Canada that
treat seals as marketable resources rather than pests that are disposed
of out of convenience.
Aaju Peter, a lawyer and activist who is committed to preserving Inuit
culture, says that the seal community is part of the indigenous way of
life in Canada and is now under threat by the ongoing ban of seal
products in countries that comprise the European Union.
"I have been trying to communicate to the Europeans for many years that
these bans will hurt the Inuit. They are not listening! Any ban on any
seal product anywhere hurts Inuit everywhere," said Ms. Peter.
"In Canada this 'small industry' is a legal business and is a necessary
contributor to the long term viability of small coastal communities and
economies," said Dion Dakins, Chair of the Seals and Sealing Network.
"The majority of seal populations around the world are more abundant
than ever and wild caught fisheries are challenged. Collectively we
need to seek to find solutions and not bring problems, like this EU
ban. Seal management is done in virtually every country that has wild
ocean fisheries, including in the European Union."
About the Seals and Sealing Network:
The Seals and Sealing Network is a national non-profit organization
promoting sustainable and wise use principles is committed to the
conservation and respectful harvesting of the world's seal species
through sound scientific management and internationally accepted
sustainable use practices. The Seals and Sealing Network is comprised
of Conservationists, Inuit, Veterinarians, Health care practitioners,
Government, and Industry representatives. For more information, please
go to or www.sealsandsealing.net
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SOURCE: Seals and Sealing Network
For further information:
To speak with a representative from Canada's sealing community, please contact:
Seals and Sealing Network
NATIONAL Public Relations
1-613-233-1699 X 6226