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article imageEU approves seal product ban

By Bob Ewing     Jul 27, 2009 in Business
A ban on the import of seal products has been approved by the European Union (EU). The Canadian government has called the ban an unfair trade restriction.
There was no debate when the ban was approved at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Denmark and Romania abstained from backing the measure. Austria is seeking a stronger ban so it also abstained.
All products and processed goods derived from seals are affected by the ban. This includes fur, meat, oil blubber and even omega-3 pills made from seal oil.
The traditional hunts conducted by Inuit in Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia are exempt.
Non-commercial and "small-scale" hunts to manage seal populations are allowed, however seal products derived from those hunts are banned.
Canada can still ship seal products through Europe but cannot promote the products.
The ban will come into effect in the 2010 season.
In a statement, Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said the European parliamentarians should think twice about supporting the ban:
"The government of Canada is gravely concerned that the European Union is continuing to push for a ban on seal products without any consideration of an exemption for Canada's humane and sustainable seal hunt. The proposal currently being considered within the EU will serve no purpose other than to damage the livelihood of coastal and northern Canadians and their families. We are particularly concerned that no one in the European Union has listened to the Inuit on this matter. This misinformed and ill-considered regulation will strike at some of Canada's most vulnerable communities.
In 2008, Canada exported around $2.5 million worth of seal products to EU countries.
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