The WTO’s final hearing on the issue will be held in Geneva on 29 April. Law’s letter comes just days after the start of Canada’s annual baby-seal slaughter. Because of the worldwide outcry, all major markets have banned seal-fur imports, including the EU, Mexico, Taiwan, the US and even Russia, which had been importing 95 per cent of Canada’s seal fur. The Canadian government is challenging the EU ban as a last-ditch effort to revive the trade, even though local sentiment is turning and lack of markets has led Canadian officials to examine seriously whether the slaughter should end.
“As an actor who will always consider Britain home, I was proud to learn that the European Union has banned seal-fur imports,” wrote Jude. "In light of next week’s seal-products dispute hearing, I’m writing to urge the panel to uphold this ban, which is in line with the wishes of compassionate people all around the world, including the majority of European citizens. The US, Taiwan, Mexico and even Russia (which had been importing 95 per cent of Canadian seal pelts) have also banned seal-fur imports. Even local sentiment is turning and a lack of markets has led Canadian officials to seriously examine whether the slaughter should end.
“In addition to the fact that it’s inherently cruel to bash in the heads of baby seals when they are only weeks old, there are several other points to consider:
· Canada argues in favour of the seal slaughter based on science, but there are now questions about whether the science it is using is manipulated, controlled, censored and not independent.
· The purpose of the WTO is to support efficient markets, not government decisions to prop up dying industries like the seal slaughter. For the second year, Newfoundland will give a $3.6 million loan to a seal processing plant to boost the industry, even though reports show that hundreds of thousands of seal skins are already in storage.
· The commercial slaughter has nothing to do with the native Inuit hunt, and there is a clear exemption for it in the EU ban. The Canadian government tries to hide behind native people in an attempt to justify the commercial seal slaughter, but it’s dishonest to tie the two together.
“Rather than using the WTO to prop up a dying industry, Canada should pursue a buyout of the commercial sealing industry – a move that would help both seals and sealers.
“The world is watching and waiting – please uphold the EU ban. Thanks for your time.”