An overwhelming majority of Euro-MPs voted in favour of a ban on the commercial trade of seal products in the EU today in a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg (550 votes in favour, 49 against, 41 abstentions).
This is an issue I've had several emails about - and covered it previously - see most recent comment here. We know that closing markets saves seals’ lives. Even the prospect of an EU ban on seal product trade was enough to drive the prices for seal fur down to just $15 Canadian per skin this year - a decline of 86 percent since 2006. Indeed many sealers chose not to hunt seals this year as a result - and to date, out of a quota of 338,200 seals, just 57,622 have been killed. It is likely that when the seal hunt officially ends on 15 May, a quarter of a million seals will have been spared a horrible death. Now that the EU has banned its trade in seal products, countless more seals will live out their lives in peace from this year forward.
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP co-sponsored the original Written Declaration against the trade in seal products in 2006. Here is what she said today in her press release: “As one of the co-sponsors of the original Declaration which, almost 3 years ago, called for a ban on the import of seal products, I am delighted that Parliament has finally voted in favour of a ban. This vote is a victory for the global campaign against animal cruelty, and a victory for European democracy. Nearly one million seals are slaughtered annually in commercial seal hunts around the world, and the products of those slaughters - primarily fur - are legally traded in the EU. By closing the door on fur and other seal products, Parliament has taken meaningful action to reduce the scale of cruel commercial seal killing. Thankfully, compromises such as replacing a proposed ban with a labelling system have been strongly rejected, meaning that we can fully meet the expectations and demands of millions of European citizens. I am optimistic that this ban on the trade in seal products will save hundreds of thousands of seals from being clubbed and shot under cruel conditions in Canada and elsewhere.”
Dr Lucas MEP concluded: “I remember many meetings with Commission officials at which we were told a ban on the trade of seal products would be impossible. This vote goes to show that, with political will, the support of NGOs and the overwhelming balance of public opinion, seemingly impossible things become possible.”