Canada’s seal fur trade industry has tried its best to overturn the European Union’s (EU) ban on seal products. Thankfully, the EU remains impervious to such attacks and is committed to its four-year-old ban of seal products.


Just this past week, the EU’s top court, based in Luxembourg, rejected yet another appeal to overturn the ban—an appeal submitted by 17 organizations including Inuit seal hunters and fur traders, reports AFP via Yahoo News.

The ban does exempt products that come from traditional hunts by indigenous communities, which is one of the reasons why this recent appeal was dismissed. According to Courthouse News, Inuit Tapiritt Kanatami, a Canadian nonprofit representing over 50,000 Inuit, has challenged the ban since 2011, citing that their economy has been decimated by its approval back in 2009.

The nonprofit’s appeal was rejected first in a lower court and then in the EU’s high court on the grounds that the ban can only be challenged by those directly affected by the legislation (i.e. those who are not exempt), reports Courthouse News.

Yet the group’s appeal was supported by non-exempt fur traders, which shows that the EU is quite intent on upholding its ban.


“We applaud the court for rejecting this senseless challenge and upholding the right of the EU to prohibit commercial trade in seal products,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Humane Society International/Canada via Courthouse News.

“The EU’s decision was the result of a complex, democratic process that involved substantial consultations with the commercial sealing industry, Canadian government and other stakeholders. The applicants simply do not have the legal standing to challenge this decision,” said Aldworth.

Since its approval in 2009, the EU’s seal product ban has been very effective in reducing the number of seals killed commercially. In 2006, 354,000 harp seals were slaughtered for their fur, and by 2011, that number was reduced to 40,000. The price of seal pelts have also gone down from about $118 to just $12 in the same time frame, reports AFP.

While thousands of seals are still clubbed to death in Canada each year, the industry’s diminishing profitability is a good sign. If this trend continues and the Canadian government eventually stops subsidizing it, we may see the end of this cruel industry sooner than we thought.


Learn more about what you can do to help stop the seal hunt here.

Image source: CaroLa / Flickr