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Contact: Katie McConnell (IFAW) -- U.S. Tel: 1 (508) 744-2237, E-mail: kmcconnell@ifaw.org

Germany moves forward with proposed legislation to ban the import of all seal-derived products

(Berlin, Germany -- 26 February 2007) -- Horst Seehofer, German Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection today announced that Germany will move forward with plans to implement a national ban on the import of all seal products. This decision will make Germany the second nation in the European Union to do so, following Belgium's national ban on January 27. If passed, the ban will eliminate the German market from the commercial seal trade, putting further pressure on the Canadian government to end the commercial seal hunt. The vote was applauded by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org), which has campaigned to achieve a national ban in Germany for several years.

This decision follows the German Parliament's October 19 motion calling for a national ban on seal products until an EU-wide ban is passed. As there is no immediate response on the EU-level, Mr. Seehofer will move forward with the German national ban. "We appreciate Horst Seehofer's decision on the quick implementation of a national trade ban. This is a clear signal from the German government that it wants no part of Canada's commercial seal hunt this March," said Dr. Rolf Sonntag, Director of IFAW's German Office.

Throughout the past year, there has been strong opposition to this hunt and many nations have taken action to stop the trade of seal products in Europe. Last month, Belgium became the first EU nation to pass a national ban following the European Parliament's resolution in support of an EU-wide trade ban. IFAW continues to urge other governments as well as the European Parliament to follow Belgium and Germany by closing their markets for seal products.

"We are asking the Minister to use his influence within the EU Commission and to keep lobbying for an EU-wide ban on seal products," added Dr. Sonntag.

This proposition for a German ban on seal products comes just a few weeks before Canada's commercial seal hunt is set to begin off the coast of St. Lawrence. Last year, more than 354,000 harp seals were killed, 97% of which were under 3 months of age.

To learn more about IFAW's efforts to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt, visit www.ifaw.org today.


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