MEP CALLS FOR EU TO BAN SEAL FUR IMPORTS LUCAS SPEAKS OUT AS CANADAIAN SEAL HUNT KILLS THOUSANDS
THE EU is facing calls to ban the import of seal fur as the world’s largest seal hunts get underway in Canada and Russia.
Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas has called for an EU-wide ban of all seal products after it emerged that more than a million wild harp and hooded seals have been slaughtered in Canada in just the last three years – and over a hundred thousand seal pups have suffered a similar fate in Russia.
Dr Lucas, who is vice-president of the RSPCA and the European Parliament’s cross-party animal welfare group, said: “More than 20 years after the EU banned the import of fur products from the very youngest seal pups, hundreds of thousands of seals pups annually – most just a few weeks old – are clubbed on the ice floes or shot from moving boats as they attempt to flee. Many are skinned alive.
“And every year there is public outrage when pictures of the hunt are broadcast around the world – but the most ‘telegenic’ pictures are taken near the end of the annual hunt, and the outrage comes too late for another generation of seals.”
“It is high time the EU adopted a complete ban on the import of all seal products to try and cut off the demand for fur that fuels this barbaric annual ritual, in line with the wishes of EU citizens and the EU’s own recently-adopted ‘Animal Protection Action Plan’.”
Adopting an import ban would be entirely consistent with EU and world trade rules enshrined in the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), both of which allow exceptions to free trade on the grounds of ‘public morality’, a concept understood to include concern over animal welfare issues.
Dr Lucas added: “Banning the import of all seal fur would be a simple and relatively cheap way of saving thousands of animals’ lives and showing the EU takes animal welfare and protection issues seriously.”