LUCAS CALLS FOR EU-WIDE BAN TO HALT CRUEL SEAL SLAUGHTER
GREEN Party MEP Caroline Lucas has launched a cross-party bid to ban all imports of seal fur into the EU. Dr Lucas has joined a group of concerned MEPs to table a Written Declaration - Brussels’ equivalent of an Early Day Motion at the House of Commons – calling for a complete EU-wide ban on seal fur products. More than one-and-a-half million seals have been slaughtered in the last four years in Canada and Russia – with the pelts of many destined for the EU’s high streets, despite a 1983 ban on importing fur from the youngest pups. 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.
“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 said: “’Sealing’ is intensely cruel – as many as 40 per cent of seals are skinned while they are still conscious.
“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.”
The Written Declaration will become the official position of the European Parliament if is attracts the support of half its 732 members. Almost 50 had done so within just three days of the declaration’s launch.
It has been proposed by Dr Lucas and a cross-party group of MEPs’ from Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia and Germany.
Dr Lucas added: “This Written Declaration depends on MEPs’ support – so I urge anyone who wants to halt the horrific annual seal slaughter to call on their local MEPs’ to sign it before the deadline on September 15th.”