September 06, 2006
From the office of the South-East England's Green MEP Caroline Lucas
GREEN PLAN TO BAN EU SEAL FUR IMPORTS WINS MAJORITY SUPPORT
The European Parliament has adopted a proposal by South-East England's Green
Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas designed to halt the annual slaughter of
hundreds of thousands of seals in Canada and Russia.
Lucas, who is also a Vice-President of the RSPCA, which awarded her its
'Michael Kay Award' earlier this year to mark an 'outstanding contribution
to European animal welfare', co-sponsored a Written Declaration, along with
four other parliamentary colleagues, calling for a ban on the import or sale
of any products from hooded or harp seals.
Written Declarations are the European Parliament's equivalent of an Early
Day Motion in the UK House of Commons. They rarely receive the support of
sufficient MEPs to become the parliament's official policy - but with 373
signatures lodged the call for a seal fur import ban has done so two weeks
ahead of its parliamentary deadline.
Dr Lucas, also the Green Party's Principal Speaker, said: "This is fantastic
news, which brings us a significant step closer to ending the cruel and
entirely unnecessary slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seals in Canada
and Russia every year.
"I am delighted that a majority of MEPs from all political groups and EU
member nations have agreed that this barbaric practice must be ended - and
the onus is now on the European Commission to act immediately, as MEPs have
demanded, before next year's hunt."
The declaration, which will be formally adopted later today (Wednesday,
September 6th) calls for the European Commission to immediately ban the
trade in seal body parts and products - a ban already adopted in Belgium,
Italy, Luxembourg, Croatia and the US, and under consideration by the
Council of Europe.
Dr Lucas initially proposed the ban after it emerged that more than a
million wild harp and hooded seals have been slaughtered in Canada in just
the last three years - and over a hundred thousand seal pups have suffered a
similar fate in Russia.
She said: "More than 20 years after the EU banned the import of fur products
from the very youngest seal pups, hundreds of thousands of seals pups
annually - most just a few weeks old - are clubbed on the ice floes or shot
from moving boats as they attempt to flee. Many are skinned alive.
"And every year there is public outrage when pictures of the hunt are
broadcast around the world - but the most 'telegenic' pictures are taken
near the end of the annual hunt, and the outrage comes too late for another
generation of seals."
Dr Lucas added: "Banning the import of all seal fur is the only guaranteed
way of saving thousands of animals' lives and showing the EU takes animal
welfare and protection issues seriously."
Note to Editors: To read the Written Declaration in full see
For more information please contact Ben on 01273 671946, 07973 823358 or
Media Officer to Caroline Lucas MEP
01273 671946 (office)
07973 823358 (mobile)
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - The European Parliament issued a declaration
Wednesday demanding the European Union ban importation of seal
products in what animal rights activists say could spell the end of
Canada's commercial seal hunt.
The written declaration, signed by 368 EU legislators, aims to shut
the European market for seal hides and fur from Canada, officials
"Commercial seal hunting is a brutal and cruel practice, targeting
seal pups only a few weeks old," said a statement issued by Green
party members Carl Schlyter of Sweden and Caroline Lucas of Britain.
The declaration, which was not officially endorsed by the EU assembly,
called on the EU's European Commission to draft a ban "without delay,"
the two legislators said.
Canada's largest market for seal pelts is Norway, which is not an EU
member. Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands have or are currently
implementing national bans on seal products.
More than 6,000 Atlantic Canadians were actively involved in the hunt