Canada angry at seal trade ban

2011-12-22 22:46

Ottawa - Canada lashed out on Thursday against a ban by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on the trade in harp seal skins.

"Our government remains committed to defending Canada's sealing industry," Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a statement.

He said he had instructed Canadian diplomats to "convey Canada's concerns over these proposed restrictions and to examine options for ensuring continued market access for Canada's sealing industry".

French actor Brigitte Bardot and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) revealed the ban this week when they lavished praise on Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for having imposed it.

Bardot went so far as to rank Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as "her favourite prime minister".

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which form a customs union, quietly adopted the ban this year. It went into effect on August 20.

Ottawa maintains that the 350-year-old commercial seal hunt is humane and crucial for around 6 000 North Atlantic fishermen who rely on it for up to 35% of their annual income.

Animal rights groups, however, say it is a barbaric ritual and have waged an aggressive campaign in recent years to stop it, leading to a European ban which took effect in 2010.

Russia's ban was seen as a greater victory because it received up to 90% of Canadian seal exports, the IFAW said, citing Canadian government figures.

  • Andries - 2011-12-23 01:17

    So what is the big huha then about commercial killing of Namibian seals for their fur and saving the millions of tons of fish they eat? Good for you,Canada. It is a resource like mutton,so use it.

      Eugene - 2011-12-23 06:24

      Yup. Trust a brainless Barbie like Brigitte Bardot to get it all wrong. These animal rights nuts are the single greatest danger to the species they are supposedly trying to protect.

      Murray - 2011-12-23 09:56

      Do some reading on the subject and you will soon discover that it is only profitable due to heavy government subsidies.Take away the subsidies and you don't have business. So it should die out like any other unprofitable business.

      Eugene - 2011-12-23 10:25

      It is not clear to me by how much seal hunting is subsidized; I couldn't get hold of much relevant information. It is also a good question whether seal hunting would remain unprofitable if the animal rights nuts would stop destroying the market for seal products. Incidentally, I have a seal leather wallet that I got in Namibia. After more than ten years of continuous use, it is still as good as new. Seal skin makes extremely durable, high-quality leather.

  • Boer - 2011-12-23 02:30

    Good for Russia.

      Eugene - 2011-12-23 11:09

      No, they club seals to death to make a living, and the alternatives (all petroleum based) are not nearly as sustainable or as kind to environment as seal hunting.

  • markohorn101 - 2011-12-23 07:36

    Its amazing to think a first world government like Canada actually has the balls to say this. Russia,i commend your actions!!!Well done!!! And FYI,its only a resource because its based on the needs of an overpopulated world,take away he demand and voila,no culling needed!

      Don - 2011-12-23 08:26

      Same could be said for all animals we eat then

      Eugene - 2011-12-23 08:48

      Marko: There has been a demand for seal skin and meat for the past 50 000 years, since long before the world became overpopulated. How exactly do you propose to "take away the demand" anyway? The fact that there is a demand is GOOD news for the seals. It makes them valuable, which means the Canadian government will not allow them to be hunted to extinction. Take away the demand, and seals become valueless vermin. Not only do the seal hunters lose their livelihood, but no one will care if the seals lose their habitat either.

  • Alan - 2011-12-23 14:22

    I wouldn't be so anti seal culling if it was done humanely. I remember when this was an issue in 1990 in South West Africa/Namibia. They club the seal to stun it then kill it by stabbing it in the heart. Hardly humane.

      Eugene - 2011-12-23 16:40

      Still vastly more humane than what mother nature herself will do to the seals.

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