Negotiations for a European Union-wide ban on the sale and import of seal products are reaching a critical climax. The European Parliament will vote in May. Please help ensure that a total ban – the only humane option – is adopted.
The largest commercial seal hunts take place in the icy environments of Greenland and Canada and the remote beaches of Namibia. Seal skins and fur sourced there are used for coats, bags and other fashion accessories currently imported to Europe.
Evidence shows that large-scale sealing is inherently inhumane. None of the methods used ensure a swift death for these intelligent mammals.
Canadian hunts target pups at just a few weeks old, while in Namibia terrified unweaned seal pups are separated from their mothers and beaten to death.
The two most widely used methods – clubbing and shooting – frequently cause slow and agonising deaths. To sealers, time is money; they often kill hundreds of animals in just a few hours.
The speed of the killing, combined with the adverse conditions, frequently leads to animals being wounded and immobilized but not killed. It can be tens of minutes before the sealer returns to end their suffering.
It is estimated that thousands are skinned alive.
The cruelty of sealing is recognised in a scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority.
In 2006, 425 MEPs reflected public concern by signing a written declaration which called for an EU ban on the import and sale of seal products.
At the time, this was the highest ever number of signatories to a declaration by the Parliament.
But recently, Diana Wallis MEP has tried to change that text, replacing the ban with a call to label seal products from so-called ‘humane hunts’.
Such a scheme will not only be difficult to enforce and impossible to police; animal welfare experts know that there is no such thing as a humane commercial seal hunt.
Ban is only humane answer
Decades of studies of seal hunts by veterinarians and slaughter experts have proven that even where welfare regulations exist, they are neither adequate nor enforced.
The only way for the EU to reject the cruelty of sealing is to enforce a ban on the import and sale of seal goods, with exemptions only for products from Inuit subsistence hunts.
This is an historic opportunity for Ministers and Members of the European Parliament to save millions of seals from indiscriminate slaughter.
Please join a Humane Society International action that asks MEPs to vote for a ban >>