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Seal fur ban extended in EU court

An EU court in a much-anticipated ruling Thursday extended a 2010 ban on seal items, throwing out an appeal by fur traders including native Inuit from Canada and Greenland, and Scottish sporran-makers.

There is no market now for any seal part, the flesh is stated to be unpalatable (much of it is made use of to feed various other animals on fur factory farms) and there is a glut of seal pelts.

According to the Canadian Sealers Association, this surplus is since the number of seals killed in the past few years has actually expanded at an unbelievable rate, outpacing market demand.

The Luxembourg-based EU General Court stated EU law currently protects the interests of Inuit areas which hunt seals "as an integral part of their culture and identity" by authorizing the sale of seal products that "result from hunts generally performed by such native neighborhoods for the purpose of their subsistence". As such, it turned down a campaign led by Canada to raise the ban on the trade in seal fur and items which was signed up with by the country's largest Inuit team as well as by Scottish suppliers of the sporran pouch made from seal pelt that is part of standard Highland outfit.

Income originates from seal oil and seal penises as aphrodisiacs in some parts of Asia. Both these facets have actually been highlighted in projects, by attempting to stop the sale of seal oil and projects in Asia against using seal penises. Normally seals killed for penises have their genitals cut off leaving the body to rot.

The most significant hazard now is the apparent blossoming market for seal meat in Asia and the only obstacle to the market opening to this, is the extreme trouble in acquiring the needed documents to enable export.

It was not up until 1964 that the anti-sealing motion started, concentrating on the viciousness problems and receiving prevalent media coverage. Due to public pressure, in 1983 the European community, which had been importing nearly 75 % of Canadian seal pelts, prohibited items from whitecoats and bluebacks and the marketplace collapsed.

In the USA the Marine Mammal Defense Act forbids the import, export, sale or possession of any marine mammal product (with a few exemptions for small native hunts). In 1987 the Canadian federal government banned the commercial hunt for whitecoats. As a result of this and the collapse in the pelt market, gets rid of did not fulfill the government quotas, which remained just below 200,000 seals.

Nevertheless the intro of a seal meat subsidy in 1995 caused the official number of seals gotten rid of to increase dramatically again in 1996 to nearly 250,000. In reality overall total kills of are much higher than government figures shows. This is because government "landed catch" stats do not take account of roughly 80,000 seals of the exact same population killed in the Greenland hunt, seals injured that "escape" and will subsequently die or seals incidentally caught in fishing nets.

In 1995 Norway eliminated 2600 seals just over two weeks old under the pretext of scientific research. This acted as the reopening over of the Norwegian seal hunt which had actually been paralyzed by the European Community ban on whitecoat and blueback seal products. In 1996 27,000 seals were killed of by Norway, of which 17,000 were young seals. Commercial seal hunting also occurs in Greenland, Russia and Namibia, with varying numbers of seals being killed.


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