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Most European countries back seal products embargo

Latest update : 2009-03-29

At a meeting of ambassadors of the 27 European Union states, most countries came out in favour of a total ban on importing seal-related products because of Canada's controversial slaughtering methods.

AFP - Most European countries favour a total ban on importing seal-related products because of Canada's controversial slaughtering methods, diplomatic sources said Saturday.

At a meeting of ambassadors of the 27 European Union states Friday, most of the countries present came out in favour of such a ban, an official said.

"One has the impression that the European states are ready now to choose this option," the source added.

The meeting had only an advisory status, with a final decision on EU policy set to be taken at a later date by the member states and the multinational body.

But seven, mostly Scandinavian or Baltic countries made it clear they would not back such an embargo, according to another official.

Those countries included Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and Bulgaria. Denmark traditionally supports Greenland over its seal culls, while Finland and Sweden also hunt seals.

Talks to try to find common ground on the issue are due to begin Monday in Brussels ahead of an April 22 European Parliament vote on the issue.

A European Parliament committee came out in favour of a total ban in early March and animal rights groups have fiercely criticised the Canadian seal hunt as unnecessarily cruel.

The Canadian government counters that the 350-year-old hunt is crucial for some 6,000 North Atlantic fisherman who rely on the seal hunt for up to 35 percent of their total annual income.

Sealers taking part in Canada's controversial yearly hunt slaughtered some 19,411 seals so far this year, reaching their full kill quota, Canadian fisheries officials said Thursday.

Canada hopes that requiring training for sealers on how to humanely slaughter seals, legislating standards for seal products and taking measures to safeguard the species will silence critics of the hunt.
 

Date created : 2009-03-28

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