The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Adrian Hiel (IFAW - European Union)
+32 (0)472 51 70 38

European Union Bans the Sale of Seal Products


The European Parliament today voted 550 to 49 in favour of a ban on the trade of all seal products within the EU. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - applauded the decision as a significant victory in IFAW's 40 year campaign to end Canada's commercial seal hunt. The ban will forbid the sale of seal products for profit within the EU with an exception for Inuit and other indigenous peoples.

"The Parliament has hammered the final nail in the coffin of the sealing industry's market in the EU," said Lesley O'Donnell, Director of IFAW EU. "MEPs clearly heeded the tens of thousands of emails, postcards and messages sent by IFAW supporters from across Europe."

It is a testament to the strong political will and determination of the three European political institutions that they were able to come to a first agreement reading.

"From Mexico City to Milan and all the way to Moscow, the world is uniting in opposition to commercial seal hunts," continued O'Donnell. "A complete collapse of Canada's commercial seal hunt may now be inevitable."

Prices for pelts in 2009 have dropped to 9EUR , down by half from last year's prices. A total of 30 countries have now banned the sale of seal products, including 7 of Canada's top 10 export markets.

The ban comes just weeks after another victory for IFAW's campaign against commercial sealing. This March, Russia announced a ban on the hunting of seals under one year of age in the White Sea, effectively ending the Russian seal hunt. IFAW's focus now shifts to Canada where Canadian Senator Mac Harb recently introduced a bill to end commercial sealing.

IFAW is calling on the public to increase pressure on Canada by contacting their Canadian embassies and demanding an immediate end to Canada's commercial seal hunt.

For more information, including Canadian embassy contacts, please visit

The International Fund for Animal Welfare works to improve animal welfare, prevent animal cruelty and abuse, protect wildlife and provide animal rescue around the world. From stopping the elephant ivory trade, to ending the Canadian seal hunt and saving the whales from extinction, IFAW works to create solutions that benefit both animals and people.