Seal ban appealed

The European Union’s ban on imports of seal products is an unfair trade restriction and Canada will appeal it at the World Trade Organization, says Trade Minister Stockwell Day.

Stockwell Day

OTTAWA — The European Union’s ban on imports of seal products is an unfair trade restriction and Canada will appeal it at the World Trade Organization, says Trade Minister Stockwell Day.

“It’s very important when you’re dealing with WTO matters that trade decisions are based on scientific evidence, not just on an emotional whim,” Day told a news conference Monday. “We are taking the EU decision to task because of that.”

Canada wants countries that abide by EU sealing guidelines exempted from the ban, Day said.

“The Canadian hunt follows the humanitarian, scientific norms established by veterinarians,” he said.

Canada will request WTO consultations, which last 60 days. Canada will appeal if the consultations don’t yield an agreement. A formal appeal may take years but will result in a decision that’s considered binding.

Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said the EU “caved” to pressure from non-governmental organizations and “professional seal hunt lobbyists” — whose motives she questioned.

“This has become a cash cow for them,” she said. “They can appeal to the emotions of the supporters who want to stop the seal hunt . . . .

“I contend that they continue to spread misinformation because it brings a significant amount of dollars into their organization.”

Animal-rights activists call that point of view “inaccurate and cynical.”

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