Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Colombia's President Santos: Nobel Peace Prize 'a gift from God'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

After latest Snowden leaks, is it time to use carrier pigeons?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Taiwan on the line: Trump phone call alarms China (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Taiwan on the line: Trump phone call alarms China (part 2)

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

France's ex-foreign minister talks Syria, Iran and climate change

Read more

FOCUS

Ghana votes in tight presidential race

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Graduation', 'Go Home' & Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas turns 100

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French educational system 'as mediocre as always'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Southern India bids farewell to 'Amma'

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)