Target: World Trade Organization
Goal: Commend the World Trade Organization (WTO) for upholding the European Union’s ban on imported products made from clubbed seals.
Europe moved to halt the clubbing to death of hundreds of thousands of seals every year in 2009. Members of European Parliament (MEP) voted overwhelmingly to ban trading in seal products, hoping that the collapse of the market would drastically reduce the massacre.
This decision to outlaw virtually all trade in seal products was directed mainly at Canada. In that country, a yearly cull kills around 300,000 seals. Arlene McCarthy, the labor MEP, said that Canadians had slaughtered less than a quarter of the number of seals in 2009 compared to 2008, because trading bans were destroying the market for seal products. Besides seal pelts, seal products are found in Omega 3 ‘fish oil’ pills, leather goods, and meat from the Arctic.
Many industry representatives were upset over the ban, saying it was against the law. MEPs expected complaints about the ban. “The ban does nothing to improve the welfare of hunted seals but sets a dangerous precedent by ignoring WTO rules,” said the International Fur Trade Federation.
The World Trade Organization recently upheld the ban on imported seal products, finding it addressed “public moral concerns” about the controversial hunt. Their recent ruling did find some flaws in the ban, but found that, “It fulfills the objective of addressing EU public moral concerns on seal welfare to a certain extent, and no alternative measure was demonstrated to make an equivalent or greater contribution to the fulfillment of the objective.”
“The report from WTO panel is a victory for seals, animal welfare and Europeans,” Sonja Van Tichelen, EU regional director for the International Federation for Animal Welfare, said. Commend the World Trade Organization for upholding this move to protect seals from horrible massacre.
Dear World Trade Organization,
Thank you for upholding the EU’s ban on seal products. Because of this ban, many seals are spared from being brutally murdered for human use. This decision may not be popular with industry, but it is what is right for animal welfare.
The European Union did a good thing by taking this step, and I commend you for upholding the ban. Seals do not deserve to be massacred by the hundreds of thousands, and this ban will help prevent that massacre.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Mike Cameron via National Marine Mammal Laboratory via Wikimedia Commons