MONTREAL—Humane Society International commended a landmark decision by the European General Court to dismiss a case challenging the 2009 European Union prohibition on trade in products of commercial seal kills. The world’s largest commercial sealing interests, together with fur industry lobby groups and a number of Inuit sealing advocates, put forward the case in 2010.
“This cynical attempt to overturn European law, by those who seek to profit from the mass commercial slaughter of baby seals, has failed,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. “This is an important victory for the overwhelming majority of Europeans and Canadians who want the seal slaughter to end, and for the countless seals who will be spared a horrible fate because of this decision. Today’s ruling is yet more evidence that the commercial sealing industry is coming to an end. It is time for the Canadian government to respect Canadian and global opinion and implement a fair plan to compensate sealers and bring the seal slaughter to a final close.”
The dismissed case (T-18/10) was an application to the European Court requesting an annulment of European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009, which prohibits the placing on the market of products from commercial seal hunts throughout the European Union. The European Court did not have to reach the merits of the case having found that the applicants were not “directly concerned” by the seals regulation, a key factor in determining whether a legal challenge is admissible.
Case T-526/10, a secondary application by the same group, is still before the Court. It requests an annulment of European Parliament and Council Regulation No 737/2010, which outlines how the ban is enforced.
This ruling comes on the heels of the Canadian government challenge of the EU ban at the World Trade Organization, which has been perceived by many in the EU as a baseless attack on European values and democratic processes. In response, a number of Members of the European Parliament have indicated they are less likely to ratify the pending Canada-European Union Economic and Trade Agreement—a deal reportedly worth $12 billion annually to Canada’s economy—unless Canada withdraws its WTO challenge.