By Kevin Heath
The appeal by seal hunters to the European Court of Justice against the ban on seal products in the European Union has been thrown out. The case was bought by commercial seal hunters and representatives of the Inuit community. They wanted to have the European General Court’s 2011 decision that the applicants’ action against the EU ban was inadmissible overturned.
The decision announced today means that the European Union can continue to ban the sale and trade in seal products. The decision effectively means that there are no further legal actions within Europe that commercial sealing operations can undertake.
A decision is currently awaited on the application of declaring the ban illegal that was submitted to the World Trade Organisation. The final report into the investigation is expected this month.
Humane Society International/Canada’s executive director, Rebecca Aldworth, issued the following statement: “We applaud the Court of Justice of the European Union for rejecting this senseless challenge and upholding the right of the EU to prohibit commercial trade in seal products. The EU’s decision was the result of a complex, democratic process that involved substantial consultations with the commercial sealing industry, Canadian government and other stakeholders. The applicants simply do not have the legal standing to challenge this decision.
“Eighty-six percent of Canadians support the right of the European Union to prohibit trade in commercial seal products. These senseless legal challenges against the EU decision are doomed to failure and fly in the face of Canadian and European values. It is time the commercial sealing industry and Canadian government accept that global markets for seal products are closing and work together to move Canada beyond commercial sealing.”