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NEWS: European General Court upholds EU seal product ban

Humane Society International

Postmedia News reports, “The European General Court has dismissed a bid by Canadian commercial sealers to overturn the 2010 European Union prohibition on trade in seal products. The decision, issued Wednesday, struck down an appeal by the industry itself — which is separate from an effort by the federal government to seek a rule change from the World Trade Organization — and was applauded by animal rights groups, but lambasted by sealers. A separate application by the sealers group, which questions how the ban would be enforced in Europe, is still before the court.”

The European Union is opposed to the seal hunt and it has been identified by them as an obstacle in the continuing Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations. In May 2009, the European Parliament voted by a 550-49 margin to impose a ban on the import of Canadian seal products.

The Harper government took its challenge of the EU seal product ban to the WTO in late-March. It is likely that a WTO dispute settlement panel has now been established. As reported in Postmedia News back in February, “The process is likely to take at least a year…”

In July 2010, an Environics poll found that, “70 percent of Canadians agree that the commercial seal hunt damages Canada’s international reputation; 57 percent of Canadians feel that the EU ban on seal products is a step in the right direction; and 57 percent of Canadians say that Canadian government’s move to challenge the EU ban on seal products is a step in the wrong direction.”