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April 23, 2009

HSI Applauds Progress of EU Ban on Seal Product Trade

Humane Society International

On Thursday, Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States congratulated the European Union on taking a significant step toward passing a prohibition on trade in seal products. The three levels of government needed to pass legislation in the EU — the Council, the Commission and the Parliament — have come together and agreed on draft text to be presented to plenary in the first week of May for a final vote.

"This action by the European Union brings a ban on seal products one step closer to reality," said Mark Glover, director of HSI UK. "The European Parliament now holds in its hands the fate of millions of seals and a historic opportunity to stop cruel commercial slaughter of baby seals."

The draft regulation, if passed, would prohibit seal products being placed on the market in the EU, cutting off a primary market for the Canadian commercial sealing industry and removing the world's leading fashion centers from the sealskin trade.

Representatives of the Canadian sealing industry have indicated that an EU ban on seal product trade could spell the end of the commercial seal hunt in Canada. The Canadian government — against the will of the vast majority of Canadian citizens — has repeatedly sent massive lobby delegations to Europe to counter the pending ban.

In 2009, prices paid for sealskins in Canada are reportedly as low as $15 CDN — a decline of 86 percent since 2006. Sealing industry representatives have said that the decline is largely due to the pending EU ban. The number of seals killed in the 2009 Canadian seal hunt has declined along with the prices; hundreds of thousands of seals may be spared this year alone if the EU follows through on its commitment to prohibit trade in seal products.

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Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at hsi.org.

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