European Union Makes History by Banning Trade in Seal Products

    Humane Society International Applauds Major Victory for Seals

    STRASBOURG, France, May 5 /CNW/ -- Humane Society International
congratulated the European Parliament for voting overwhelmingly in favour of a
strong ban on trade in seal products.

    "Today's vote in the European Parliament marks a historic victory in the
campaign to stop the commercial slaughter of seals around the world," said
Mark Glover, director of Humane Society International/UK. "The European Union
has acted on behalf of its citizens, and its decision will save millions of
seals from a horrible fate."

    "The European Union has made history by ending its trade in seal
products," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society
International/Canada. "This ban spells the beginning of the end of Canada's
globally condemned seal slaughter."

    The Parliament voted for a strong Regulation that will eliminate the
placing of seal products on the EU market, closing a primary market for
Canada's commercial seal hunt. The Council and Commission have already agreed
to the text, making Tuesday's plenary vote the final step in achieving the
regulation. In light of the overwhelming vote in favour of the agreed upon
regulation by the Parliament, the regulation will go into effect in 2010.

    The EU has been a primary market for the Canadian sealing industry,
accounting for about one-third of reported seal skin exports. Globally, the EU
accounts for one-quarter of the world trade in seal products.

    In recent years, 11 countries have banned their trade in seal products or
announced their intentions to do so. They join the United States, which
prohibited seal product trade in 1972.

    --  April 2009 - Prices for seal fur in Canada declined to just $15 CAD --
        a drop of 86 percent from 2006 -- largely due to the pending EU
        prohibition. As a result, many sealers chose not to participate in the
        slaughter. Out of a quota of 338,200 seals, less than 60,000 have been
        killed to date -- making it likely that a quarter of a million baby
        seals will have been spared a cruel death this year.
    --  March 2009 - Canadian Senator Mac Harb introduced the first bill in
        Canadian history to end the commercial seal hunt.
    --  March 2009 - The U.S. Senate introduced a resolution calling upon the
        Canadian government to end the seal hunt, and on the European Union to
        introduce a strong prohibition on seal product trade.
    --  2006 - Four hundred twenty-five members of the European Parliament
        introduced a historic resolution to ban EU trade in seal products.
        year, the Council of Europe passed its own resolution calling on its
        member states to promote initiatives aimed at banning the trade in
    --  2006 - Croatia and Mexico banned their trade in seal products.

    --  In the past decade - Nine EU Member states banned their trade in seal
        products or announced their intentions to do so.

    Facts about the seal slaughter:
    --  Canada's commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine
        mammals on earth, with hundreds of thousands of pups killed annually
        for their fur.
    --  Veterinary experts have concluded that the commercial seal hunt is
        inherently inhumane because of the conditions in which it operates and
        the speed at which it must be conducted.
    --  Canada's commercial seal hunt accounts for less than one-half of one
        percent of the GDP of Newfoundland, and on average, less than 5
        of the annual incomes of the individuals who kill the seals.

    --  The overwhelming majority of Canadians is opposed to the commercial
        seal slaughter (Environics Research 2005) and supports foreign nations
        ending their trade in seal products (Pollara 2007).

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    Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane
Society of the United States, one of the world's largest animal protection
organizations -- backed by 11 million people. HSI is creating a better future
for animals and people through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs.
Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide-- On the web at


For further information:

For further information: Heather Sullivan, +1-240-477-2251,, or Camille Labchuk, +1-613-252-4570, Web Site:

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