The federal government says Canada’s seal hunt is humane and sustainable and the government will defend it on the world stage.
“The decision by the European Parliament lacks any basis in facts,” said the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
“The Canadian seal hunt is guided by rigorous animal welfare principles which are internationally recognized by independent observers. I once again caution my European counterparts about the dangers of pursuing politically motivated bans on other countries’ traditional industries. Our government will stand up for the jobs and communities that depend on the seal hunt.”
Canada's federal government is deeply disappointed in, concerned by, and opposed to the vote by the European Parliament to move towards a ban on products from Canada's seal hunt.
“If the EU imposes a trade ban on seal products it must contain an exemption for any country, like Canada, that has strict guidelines in place for humane and sustainable sealing practices," said the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway.
"If there is no such acceptable exemption, Canada will challenge the ban at the World Trade Organization (WTO).”
The Government of Canada is studying the exact wording of the proposed regulation and will take appropriate action to protect the Canada’s sealing industry and continue to defend the interests of Canadian sealers.
It will also continue to work with provincial, territorial and industry partners to maintain access to other markets for seal products and to identify and build new markets.
“A European ban would have a devastating impact on thousands of Canadian families in remote coastal communities who rely on the seal hunt for 25 to 35 per cent of their annual income,” added Minister Shea. “In these difficult economic times the impact of such a loss is even more serious and many families will have to make tough decisions about their future if access to the European market is lost.”
The European Parliament’s proposed ban cannot become law until it has been adopted by the Council of the European Union, which represents the member states. Ministers Shea and Day announced that the Government of Canada will continue to aggressively counter the misinformation campaign being waged by professional anti-seal hunt lobby groups in order to ensure that the decision of the Council would be based on accurate information.