Today (25 November 2013) the World Trade Organisation has confirmed the validity of the European Union (EU) regulation on the marketing of seals, meaning that the importing and selling of seal products is still illegal within the European Union.
David Martin MEP, Scotland’s senior European MP (MEP) and member of the International Trade Committee gave this reaction to the verdict:
‘I applaud the WTO panel for recognising that the European Union was well within its rights to ban the cruel products of the commercial sealing industry on the grounds of animal welfare. Canada and Norway's challenge to the EU ban on seal products was a cynical attack on our democratic processes and the moral values of EU citizens. This is the first time that a WTO panel has acknowledged that animal welfare is an issue of public morality, so it sets an important precedent for the future,’ explained Mr Martin who is also the Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.
Of any possible future moves Mr Martin stated:
‘While the main premise for the ban was supported by the WTO panel, the report shows that there are still issues that need to be resolved to bring the legislation into full compliance with these international trade rules. I will fight to ensure that any future amendment of the ban, which may be deemed necessary as a result, will guarantee that our borders remain firmly shut to commercial seal products.’
1. For more details on the report, see: http://www.hsi.org/world/europe/news/releases/2013/11/seals_wto_report_112513.html
2. For more details on the ruling, see: http://www.hsi.org/world/canada/news/releases/2013/11/wto-seal-ruling-112513.html