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The Netherlands becomes the second EU nation to ban the trade in seal products 19.07.07

One small step for seals, one giant step to end the brutal seal hunt. This is the message coming out of The Netherlands with news yesterday that all trade in seal products will now be banned.

The decree was made official in the States’ Journal. the country’s official communication of Dutch laws, decrees & statutes, of July 17th 2007. This decision makes The Netherlands the second EU nation to ban seal products this year.

The ban officially removes the Dutch market from the international commercial seal trade, sending a strong message to the Canadian government that European markets for seal products are continuing to shrink. This decision was applauded by IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare), which has actively campaigned to achieve a national ban in The Netherlands for several years.

This governmental regulation bans the trade in all products derived from harp and hooded seals, the two seals species traded in the Netherlands. The killing of their own indigenous seals, the Grey and Harbour seal, has been banned since 1969.

“IFAW would like to thank the Dutch Minister of Nature and the Members of Parliament, both from the former government and current, for their dedication and support towards this legislation. In the past couple of years many MP’s from the Labour, Liberal and Socialistic Party have made a tremendous contribution towards the cause and maintained persistence in their efforts throughout this lengthy process. This new legislation will make a large contribution to putting an end to commercial seal hunting", says Marcel Bertsch, director of The Netherlands IFAW office.

“We are delighted with this decision to ban seal-derived products from entering The Netherlands as it is a clear sign that the Dutch people want no part of Canada’s cruel and unnecessary hunt,” he added.

European opposition to the Canadian commercial seal hunt has grown in the last year with Belgium adopting the first national ban in the EU on seal products in January. This decision came shortly after the European Parliament’s resolution in support of an EU-wide trade ban. In February, the German parliament publicly reaffirmed its intention to institute a national ban and to continue to support steps for the EU-wide ban. IFAW has campaigned for trade bans within Europe, and continues to campaign throughout the world to protect seals.

“This Dutch ban sends the strong signal that EU member states are taking actions on this matter and we are positive that other countries will follow soon. We believe that all of these initiatives will lead to the closure of the EU market” said Bertsch.

The global community has denounced Canada’s seal hunt and responded with other seal trade bans. Along with The Netherlands, national bans also currently exist in Belgium, the USA, Mexico, Croatia and Italy, while a ban in Germany is soon to be adopted.

Peter Shield

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