News Index > Apr-Sept 2006 > Sept 2006
MEPs vote to halt seal slaughter

September 06, 2006

From the office of the South-East England's Green MEP Caroline Lucas


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

Ben Duncan
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 said.

"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
last year.

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