International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

November 22, 2013 09:26 ET

Media Advisory: The EU Seal Products Ban and the Challenge at the WTO-Expected Ruling of the WTO Panel

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 22, 2013) - On February 18, 2012, Canada and Norway challenged the European Union's seal products trade restrictions at the World Trade Organization (WTO). On Monday, November 25, 2013 the WTO panel in Geneva is expected to make its ruling on the challenge public. The WTO decision will be an important indicator in the discussion of whether animal welfare is a legitimate public morals concern that can justify trade-restricting measures. The panel's findings are subject to appeal and the parties have 60 days to file an appeal.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was established in 1969 in Canada in opposition to the commercial seal hunt. IFAW was instrumental in the victory to protect seals achieved when the European Union implemented restrictions on the trade in seal products. IFAW was consulted by the EU as a key stakeholder on the development of the implementing regulations of the ban, which came into force on August 20, 2010 and applies to seal products that are produced in the EU and to imported products. The regulation does not apply to seal products which come from subsistence hunts of Inuit and indigenous communities. It also contains exceptions for goods derived from seals for personal and non-commercial use and for goods derived from seals hunted for the sustainable management of marine resources and placed on the market on a not-for-profit basis and for non-commercial reasons.

IFAW has worked to support the European Commission, providing data and evidence in support of the trade ban. IFAW, together with other NGOs, submitted an Amicus Brief that compiled 40 years of factual and scientific evidence on the commercial seal hunt. This Amicus Brief was referred to by the European Commission in their defense of the EU seal ban.

Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW's Seal Campaign, is in Ottawa and available for media interviews on the WTO ruling. To arrange an interview please contact:

Michelle Cliffe
647 986 4329
@MichelleCliffe @IFAWCanada

Sonja Van Tichelen, IFAW EU Regional Director is in Brussels, Belgium and available for media interviews on the WTO ruling. To arrange an interview please contact:

Adrian Hiel
+32 473 86 34 61

About IFAW

IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) was established in 1969 and its founding campaign was in opposition to Canada's commercial seal hunt. IFAW has more than 40 years of experience raising awareness, documenting and opposing the cruel commercial hunts for seals in Canada and around the world.

For more information on the campaign visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Editors: High quality B-Roll and photos of the commercial seal hunt in Canada are available.

We have filmed several short videos in relation to the WTO dispute:

IFAW's Sheryl Fink introduces the WTO dispute over the EU seal regulation

Geneva-based WTO Lawyer Hannes Schloemann provides legal insight into the WTO case

MEP David Martin reflects on his experience in the long campaign to the EU seal trade regulation.

How Belgium led the EU to legislate the trade in seal products

Contact Information

  • International Fund for Animal Welfare
    Sheryl Fink