International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

November 02, 2009 14:52 ET

IFAW Condemns Canadian WTO Challenge on EU Ban of Seal Products

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 2, 2009) - The announcement that Canada has formally requested consultations at the World Trade Organizations was met with derision today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org).

"Apparently the sky's the limit when it comes to bailing out special interests like commercial seal clubbing. There seems to be no end in sight to the use of Canadian's tax dollars to try and keep the sinking sealing industry afloat" said Sheryl Fink, Senior Researcher with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The value of the 2009 seal hunt was the lowest in recent memory, with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reporting a landed value of just over one million dollars. A WTO challenge will cost Canadians an estimated $10 million, and take an estimated 3 years. According to an economic study by Dr. John Livernois of the University of Guelph, recently published in the journal Marine Policy, the benefits of ending Canada's commercial seal hunt would exceed the costs.

The announcement also is in stark contrast to Canadian public opinion. According to a public opinion poll conducted by Environics Research in September 2009, 73% of Canadians say the EU should be able to restrict trade in seal products, if it chooses to. 

"With the complete lack of labelling requirements on fur, a ban is the only way the European public can be assured they are not buying products of cruel commercial seal hunts. Canada is simply acting like an arrogant bully, trying to shove our dead seals into markets where they are simply not wanted" said Fink.

The majority of Canadians disapprove of the federal government challenging the EU ban on seal products at the WTO, and two-thirds believe that even if Canada wins a WTO challenge against the EU ban, in the long run the seal hunt is doomed.

"The Harper government continues to bring shame upon our country on the international stage" continued Fink. "It's time this government stopped catering to special interest lobby groups and stood up for Canadians".

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