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Switzerland will never be a market for seal fur
01
Jun '12
Humane Society International applauds the Swiss National Council, for voting 132 to 28 in favour of a prohibition on commercial seal product trade on May 29. The Council noted the cruelty associated with commercial seal hunting, the opposition of many of its citizens to this practice, and the need to ensure the Swiss market does not operate as an alternative for the European Regulation banning commercial seal products trade. The Swiss National Council is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland.

“Global markets for seal products are closing for good, climate change is devastating the seals' sea ice habitat, and it is very clear there is no future in commercial sealing,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International Canada. “Instead of providing artificial life support to this dying industry, our government should do as Canadians want and stop the senseless slaughter of baby seals for good."

“I have personally observed Canada's commercial seal slaughter since 2006, and both the cruelty of the killing and the serious impact of climate change on these ice dependent seals have been very difficult to witness,” said Vera Weber, vice president of the Franz Weber Foundation, a Swiss organization who has been working worldwide. The Swiss National Council is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland. “I am exceptionally proud of my government for taking action to stop our trade in seal products. While the Senate still has to vote on the ban, the people of Switzerland have been heard and my country will never be a market for seal fur.”

Last year, the Customs Union compromising the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Belarus prohibited the import and export of fur from harp seals, the primary markets of Canada's commercial seal slaughter. The United States and the  European Union – Canada's two largest trading partners also prohibit trade in commercial seal products. The Canadian government has confirmed that 70,000 seals were slaughtered in the 2012 commercial seal hunt. Local government financed the kill, funding a seal processor to purchase and stockpile seal skins, despite an apparent lack of markets.

HSI/Canada calls on the Canadian and provincial governments to support a  federal buyout of the commercial sealing industry, which would involve ending the seal hunt, providing immediate compensation for sealers, and investing in economic alternatives in the communities involved.

Government landings reports confirm that more than 98 percent of seals killed in Canada's annual slaughter are less than three months of age.

Veterinary reports consistently reveal high levels of animal suffering in commercial sealing, and leading veterinary experts have suggested in recent years that Canada's commercial slaughter is inherently inhumane.

Sealers are commercial fishermen who, on average, earn less than 5 percent of their annual incomes from sealing killing seals – the remainder comes from seafood such as crab, shrimp and lobster.

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