The World Trade Organization released a final report this week backing the European Union’s ban on trade in products of commercial seal hunts.
In 2010, Canada and Norway initiated a WTO challenge against the European Union in response to the ban. All parties presented their cases earlier this year.
The Humane Society International in Canada immediately praised the WTO decision.
“Virtually no one in the world wants to buy seal products, and the WTO ruling confirms that these markets won’t miraculously reopen. Instead of waging pointless WTO challenges that cost Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars, our government should invest in a one-time transition program for sealers,” said HSI/Canada Executive Director Rebecca Aldworth in a statement.
Global markets for seal products are closing fast, according to HSI. In 2009, the European Union joined the United States, Mexico and Croatia in prohibiting trade in products from commercial seal hunts. In 2011, the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus prohibited trade in harp seal fur and, in 2013, Taiwan ended its trade in all marine mammal products, including seal products.