Ban on imported seal products upheld; Ottawa to appeal
The European Union (EU) will continue its ban on imported seal products, despite the Canadian government’s appeal that it violates fair trade agreements.
In February 2011, Canada requested that the World Trade Organization (WTO) create a dispute settlement panel to challenge the ban set by the EU.
However, the WTO decided that the ban was justified due to public concerns on seal harvesting.
The WTO agreed that the ban is “discriminatory and treats Canadian seal products unfairly,” according to a government press release, but that isn’t enough for them to reverse the decision.
Canadian officials from the Ministries of International Trade, Fisheries and Ocean, Environment, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and the Arctic Council stated that they would continue to “stand up for Canadian sealers and to vigorously defend the interests of Canada’s Inuit and Indigenous communities.
They feel that the seal harvest is a “humane, sustainable and well-regulated activity.”
Ottawa plans on appealling to the WTO Appellate Body.
Seal hunting is a traditional source of food and income for people living along coastal waters, but Canada has come under fire due to the large amounts of seals that are slaughtered, the method the seals are dispatched and because young seal pups are often killed.