Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada

February 06, 2015 08:11 ET

Media Advisory/Available for Comment: European Commission to Release Proposal for an Amended EU Ban on Seal Product Trade

Representatives from Humane Society International will be available for comment

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Feb. 6, 2015) - Representatives from Humane Society International's offices in Canada and Europe will be available to comment on the European Commission proposal to amend the EU ban on trade in products of commercial seal hunt (upon its release).

WHAT: The European Commission will today release its proposed amended regulation to prohibit trade in seal products in the European Union.
WHERE: Montreal, Canada and Brussels, Belgium
WHO: Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International Canada, who has witnessed the Canadian seal slaughter for each of the past 16 years.
Joanna Swabe, executive director for Humane Society International Europe.
HOW: Email or call media contact below to arrange an interview.


  • In 2009, the European Union prohibited trade in the products of commercial seal slaughters, a move supported by 86 percent of Canadians (Environics Research, 2008).

  • The EU ban contains a clear exemption for products of traditional Inuit seal hunts. HSI does not oppose Inuit subsistence sealing.

  • More than seven in 10 adults (72 percent) across 11 EU Member States support the ban on the sale of seal products in the EU (Ipsos MORI, 2011). More than 6,000 people were surveyed for the poll.

  • In 2010, Canada and Norway challenged the EU ban at the World Trade Organization. HSI played a central role in helping the EU to defend its ban: extensive HSI video evidence of commercial sealing was shown to the WTO Panel, HSI coauthored an amicus brief that was considered in the case and HSI representatives attended the Panel hearings.

  • In 2013, the WTO ruled that the EU ban on trade in commercial seal products is justifiable on public morality grounds. The WTO Panel noted in the decision that commercial sealing poses inherent risks to animal welfare.

  • In January 2014, Canada and Norway appealed the WTO Panel report. The EU subsequently also appealed. HSI coauthored another amicus brief that was submitted to the WTO Appellate Body, and HSI representatives again attended the Appellate Body hearing.

  • The WTO Appellate Body ruled on May 22, 2014 and upheld the EU's right to ban trade in products of commercial seal hunts for public moral reasons based on animal welfare. However, the WTO Appellate Body determined that two exemptions contained within the EU ban violated WTO principles. As a result, the EU is amending its ban to bring it into compliance.

  • With more than two million seals killed since 2002, Canada's commercial seal slaughter is one of the largest slaughters of marine mammals on earth. The seals are killed primarily for their fur and, because most Canadians oppose commercial sealing, the sealing industry relies almost exclusively on export markets to sell its products.

  • Global markets for seal products are closing fast, with more than 35 countries banning products of commercial seal hunts, including the United States, the 28-nation EU, Russia and Taiwan.

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its partners, constitutes one of the world's largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide - on the Web at

Contact Information

  • Christopher Pare
    Office: 514 395-2914 / cell: 438 402-0643