EU Parliament committee approves ban on the import of seal products
EU Parliament committee approves ban on the import of seal products BRUSSELS (AP) - A European Parliament committee has approved a proposal that would prevent EU countries from importing seal products.The proposed ban, approved Monday by a 27-7 vote, would not affect imports from Canada's and Greenland's Inuit communities.The vote appeared to reflect Europe's widespread public opposition to seal hunting, which many people regard as cruel.To become law, the ban on products such as pelts, blubber, oil and meat would still need the approval of the entire EU assembly and EU governments.Nordic EU countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland have opposed such a ban, and EU legal experts say it could violate world trade rules.Canada and Greenland have warned the EU that they could challenge such a ban before the World Trade Organization.
EU panel OKs partial ban on seal products
Last Updated: Monday, March 2, 2009
The Canadian Press
A European Parliament committee has backed a proposal for a partial ban on the import of seal products from Canada and other sealing countries.The legislators rejected an initial bill that recommended tough labelling rules instead of a ban.The amended bill, approved by a vote of 27 to 7, calls for a ban but includes an exemption for Canada's and Greenland's Inuit communities.The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on the proposed ban April 2. The European Council will then make a decision on the matter, likely in June.Canadian politicians, including Sullivan and federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, have met with their European counterparts in recent weeks in an effort to convince them that the commercial harp seal hunt is humane.The import ban could deliver a devastating blow to Atlantic Canadian fishermen who rely on the annual hunt as a source of income, shutting down critical shipment points, including in Holland and in Germany.Canada's largest markets for seal products, such as Russia, China and Norway, are outside the EU. But sealing industry experts fear a ban would curb the demand for seal fur from the fashion industry and disrupt shipping routes.In the past three years, the total allowable catch in Canada has hovered between 270,000 and 335,000 seals annually.Shea is expected to announce this year's seal hunt quota by the middle of this month.Nordic EU countries, including Denmark, Sweden and Finland, have all voiced opposition to a ban on seal hunting