EU’s Seal Ban Battle Won

Written by | Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
@Eubulletin

The World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday endorsed the European Union’s ban in the imports of seal products from Norway and Canada. The WTO said while its disputes panel found merit in Canada’s and Norway’s complaint against the EU, the appeal was overshadowed by the 2010 ban that “fulfills the objective of addressing EU public moral concerns on seal welfare to a certain extent”.
Canada has already announced that it would appeal the WTO ruling despite observers warning that the moral extent of the whole issue could be potentially applied to more products. According to Ottawa’s official statement, Canada remains steadfast in its stance that seal harvest is sustainable and well-regulated activity. The Canadian government added that any different views are pure myths and misinformation emphasizing that the WTO decision should be of concern to all WTO members.
On the contrary, Brussels had argued, based on scientific evidence, that seal slaughter methods, for example using a metal spike to stun animals, were undoubtedly cruel. The EU also stressed that most EU public is supportive of the current ban and WTO’s “confirmation”.
Canada and Norway slaughter thousands of seals every year claiming that this activity allows to sustain fishing communities, ensure their income, and manage fisheries and thereby the environment. Moreover, Canada’s indigenous Inuits, who have traditionally hunted seals for hundreds of years, are exempt from the ban even though the ban collapsed the seal market for them anyway. Both countries insist that current seal-slaughter methods are “no worse that those used in commercial deer-hunting, which in widespread in the EU”. Moreover, Ottawa and Oslo said that the WTO finding was discriminatory because EU’s Finland and Sweden enjoy an unlimited market access within the EU, although Brussels rejected this argument.

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