David Martin MEP, along with his Labour colleagues, today voted in the Strasbourg Parliament to strengthen the EU ban on the trade in seal products, aligning it with World Trade Organization (WTO) standards.
A ban on the commercial sale of seal products was introduced in 2009 following overwhelming public and political outrage and had an immediate impact. In Canada, the site of the world’s largest seal kill, prices for seal fur came crashing down.
Despite being challenged by Canada and Norway, the Regulation has been twice upheld by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rulings. However, in order to be fully WTO compliant, the Marine Resource Management (MRM) hunts had to be removed from the current legislation.
Earlier in the year, despite heavy lobbying by hunters, the European Parliament's Internal Market committee voted against reintroducing the MRM exception – a vote that was today upheld by the full parliament in Strasbourg.
Commenting on today’s vote, David Martin MEP, a member of the Parliament’s International Trade Committee said:
“The only way such bans work is through cooperation and international action, and on issues like this the EU has led the way, reflecting Europe’s, and the world’s, concerns on animal rights.
“European citizens were clear, the commercial hunt is cruel and there is no place for the skins of slaughtered baby seals on the European market.
"Since the existing EU ban came into force in 2009, two million seals have been saved from being clubbed to death or shot and left to bleed to death".
The ban will not stop the Inuit communities hunting for the purpose of self-sustainment, nor does it stop Member States from allowing seals to be killed, but rather it restricts the sale of the products of these kills for commercial purposes.