By Owen Bennett
Attempts to overturn an European Union ban on buying and selling seal products across the continent have failed.
In May 2009 MEPs voted to ban the trade of seal fur and products, a move which campaigners hoped would stop the massacre of the animals.
The Canadian and Norwegian governments appealed against the ban, saying seal hunting was necessary in their countries to help maintain fish stocks and the selling on of fur and other products contributed to their economies.
Today, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dismissed the appeals despite ruling that the ban breached international trade agreements.
Instead, it upheld the EU's decision on the basis of a public morals clause.
The verdict was welcomed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “The report from the WTO panel is a victory for seals, animal welfare and Europeans.
“EU leaders can be proud that they have simultaneously protected seals, represented the needs of their citizens and respected EU obligations under the WTO – that is not a simple task.”
The WTO panel found the main portion of the EU ban is compatible with WTO law. More....