Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada

February 18, 2013 08:00 ET

Media Advisory/Available for Comment: Humane Society International Available for Comment as First Hearing on EU Seal Product Trade Ban Begins at WTO Geneva (Feb. 18, 2013)

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 18, 2013) -

Jo Swabe, Ph.D., director of HSI Europe Union and Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, will be available for comment as the first hearing on the EU ban on the trade in commercial seal products begins on Monday at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

WHAT: The WTO dispute panel established for the case will hear arguments from Canada, Norway, the EU and other parties regarding the European Union ban on seal product trade. The move comes in the midst of negotiations for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

WHEN: Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 18-20, 2013

WHERE: Aldworth and Swabe are available in person in Geneva, Switzerland or by telephone. Interviews can be arranged through media contacts listed below.

WHO: Rebecca Aldworth is executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. She has witnessed the Canadian commercial seal hunt at close range for each of the past 14 years.

Jo Swabe, Ph.D. is the EU director for Humane Society International. She oversees the development and implementation of HSI animal welfare policies in the European Union.

VISUALS: Broadcast quality video and stills of commercial seal slaughter are available for media download. Email or call the media contact below.


  • 2009 polling showed that 86 percent of Canadians supported the right of the EU to prohibit seal product trade.

  • The EU Regulation passed in July 2009, and Canada and Norway initiated the challenge at the WTO several months later, in November of 2009. After consultations failed to resolve the matter, Canada and Norway requested a dispute panel in February of 2011, but did not follow through to actually compose a panel until recently.

  • In June 2011, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution: on EU-Canada Trade Relations threatening to block ratification of CETA if Canada fails to withdraw its WTO challenge. More than 100 MEPs have signed an open letter to the Canadian government saying the EU Parliament should not ratify CETA until Canada drops its challenge.

  • 2010 polling shows that half of Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion support a federal sealing industry buyout - a plan in which sealers would be compensated for their licenses, and funds invested in economic alternatives in the communities involved.

  • Veterinary experts have concluded Canada's commercial seal hunt is inherently inhumane given the extreme environmental conditions in which the sealers operate, the speed at which the killing must be conducted, and the unique physical characteristics of seals as deep diving marine mammals.

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