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Pamela Anderson seeks WTO seal-fur ban

Malcolm Curtis · 14 Feb 2013, 11:17

Published: 14 Feb 2013 11:17 GMT+01:00

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The World Trade Organization, based in the Swiss city, is set to begin public hearings into the issue on Monday just ahead of the annual spring hunt of seals in the Canadian province of Newfoundland.

Anderson, a Canadian citizen and honorary director of PETA, the animal rights group, fired off a letter on Wednesday to the WTO’s legal affairs department calling on the body to uphold the seal-fur ban.

“As a proud Canadian, I’m saddened that Canada is trying to use the WTO to delay the inevitable demise of the cruel commercial seal trade by challenging the EU’s ban on seal-fur imports,” Anderson says in her letter, released by PETA.

The 45-year-old TV and movie actress pointed out that the US, Mexico and Taiwan, as well as Russia — which was importing 95 percent of Canadian seal pelts — “have all banned seal fur and will not tolerate this annual slaughter.”

The harvest of seals as “inherently cruel,” she said.

“Sealers shoot and bash in the heads of helpless seals when they are just weeks old.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian department regulating the seal hunt, has approved a method of killing the seals, endorsed by veterinary experts, that it says ensures the animals die humanely.

However, this conclusion has been disputed by other scientists.

The seal harvest has long been defended as a way of life for fishermen in Canada’s poorest province.

The sealers depend on Norway for their biggest market.

But Anderson said the Canadian government “should devise a practical exit strategy: a government buyout of the sealing industry, which would benefit both seals and sealers.”  

Anderson noted that the commercial slaughter of seals had nothing to do with aboriginal practices and involved “no tribal communities”.

The Inuit First Nation conduct a subsistence hunt for adults seals in another part of Canada that is protected by Canadian laws and an exemption from the EU ban, she said.

Anderson said she became active in animal issues “well before my Baywatch days” and is now active with PETA.

The actress is following in the footsteps of another famous actress — France’s Brigitte Bardot — who has campaigned against the seal hunt and otherwise used her fame to promote animal rights.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2013-02-15 04:15:50 by Bridget
The Canadian government's claims that the "3-step process" method of killing seals is humane are bogus. The three-step process does not satisfy international veterinary standards for humane slaughter. This was simply a ploy of the Canadian government to avoid a ban on seal products in the EU. Luckily, their ploy did not work.

I am an Atlantic Canadian and live in the region of the commercial seal hunt. I have personally witnessed the slaughter both in Newfoundland and in Nova Scotia for a few years and can personally attest to the fact that the Canadian commercial seal hunt is inherently inhumane.

The majority of Canadians oppose the commercial seal hunt and object to their taxes being spent to keep the crumbling commercial sealing industry afloat. Yet each year millions of our dollars are used, and it has been estimated that the WTO challenge of the EU seal product ban will cost Canadian taxpayers $10 million. This is obscene.

The majority of Canadians agree with the EU seal product trade ban and support the right of Europeans to ban trade in products they find ethically repugnant.

The EU seal product ban has already saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of baby seals in Canada. The ban must be maintained and the Canadian government and sealing industry lobbyists must be sent home empty-handed.

Bridget Curran
Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition
Halifax, Nova Scotia
2013-02-15 17:30:00 by phrontistery2332
I reside in Atlantic Canada where one of this barbaric scenes take place. I have done much research into this deplorable practice and believe that it is totally uncalled for and cruel. I live in a fishing community and know the attitudes of most of the fishermen here. They look at seals as a nuisance and do not respect that they also have a right to their place in the world. These fishermen are not poor and they do not need to hunt seals to pad their already healthy wallets. I ask that Switzerland do not give way to political pressure by my government and ban any products arising from this inhumane blood sport, because that is all it boils down to. Thank you.
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