Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

The booming business of cannabis in Spain

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Tanzanian President dismisses almost 10,000 public servants over forged college certificates

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French Election: Abstention, Anger & Apathy

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Macron vs. Le Pen: France's bitter presidential run-off race (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump's First 100 Days, The Pope in Egypt (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Egypt's Coptic Christians targeted by Islamic State group

Read more

THE CAMPAIGN BEAT

France's wartime past takes centre stage in presidential campaign

Read more

#TECH 24

How one NGO is using 3D printers to improve disaster relief

Read more

REVISITED

What remains of Nicaragua’s revolution?

Read more

EU proposes partial ban on imports of seal products

Latest update : 2008-07-23

The European Union has proposed a ban on products derived from seals killed inhumanely, provoking the irritation of Canada. Animal rights groups have welcomed the proposal but one activist has already denounced its limits.

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday to ban products made from seals killed in inhumane ways in a measure fuelling tensions with major seal skin exporter Canada.

Under the proposal, seal products would be banned from the EU market unless they were certified to be the result of "hunting techniques consistent with high animal-welfare standards" and "that the animals did not suffer unnecessarily.

The ban targets mainly Canada, where hunters were allowed this spring to slaughter 275,000 seals on the country's Atlantic coast, nearly a third of the young seals killed each year.

"The images of seal hunting that circulate around the globe every year are a reminder of the often times gruesome practices used to kill seals," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told journalists.

"European citizens find these practices repugnant and in contradiction to our standards of animal welfare," he added.

Dimas said that the commission was proposing a ban, which must be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament, after receiving a flood of letters urging action not only from Europe but across the world.

The proposals were welcomed by animal protection groups.

"This announcement is a historic step forward in the campaign to end cruel commercial seal hunts," said Mark Glover, head of the British arm of the Humane Society.

However, French actress-turned-animal-activist Brigitte Bardot, who has led a campaign against the killing of seals, regretted that "slaughters will continue as long as they are done in a humane way."

Dimas acknowledged that it was difficult to say exactly what a humane way of killing seals was.

Traditional hunting by Inuits living in the Arctic regions will not be covered by the ban.

Seals are hunted mainly for their pelts but also for meat and fat, which is used in beauty products.

According to the commission, Canada, Greenland, and Namibia account for about 60 percent of the 900,000 seals hunted each year although Canada is the biggest source.

Seals are also hunted in Iceland, Norway, Russia, and the United States as well as in EU members Britain, Finland and Sweden.

The prospect of a ban has triggered tensions with Canada, with Prime Minster Stephen Harper saying earlier this month that Ottawa "will not stand by and accept measures that fly in the face of accepted international practices."

Each year, anti-sealing activists clash with sealers and Canadian fisheries officials on Canada's Atlantic coast, denouncing the hunt as cruel.

Date created : 2008-07-23

COMMENT(S)