VIENNA, AUSTRIA--(CCN Matthews - April 25, 2007) - Late yesterday the Austrian Parliament voted unanimously in support of a ban on importation, processing and distribution of seal skins. IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) has been lobbying for years to achieve national bans in different countries and is also working for an European Union-wide ban.

Austrian Minister for the Environment, Josef Proll (OVP), stated that he will also work for a ban on the EU-level. National bans already exist in the USA, Mexico, Croatia and Belgium.

Despite decades of worldwide protests, the Canadian government has continued to allow the slaughter of more than a million harp seals in the last three years. In response many countries are now introducing national bans on seal products in order to close the markets and send a clear message to Canada.

"The Austrian government has joined a growing chorus in Europe calling for an end to this cruel hunt by introducing national bans," said IFAW spokesperson, Sheryl Fink.

"The Canadian government has wasted countless thousands of taxpayer dollars sending delegations to Europe in support of Canada's commercial seal hunt.

Yet Europeans are listening to the facts and the facts are that this is a cruel, unsustainable and wasteful hunt which must be stopped, and they want no part of it."

The quota for this year's hunt has been set at 270,000 harp seals. To date, at least 195,693 harp seals have been reported killed.

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