Russia Bans Seal Fur Products, But Canada Looks to WTO to Stop It & Build Other Markets

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Alex wrote yesterday that Russia and two of its neighbors have banned the trade of all harp seal fur products. Not to rain on the yay-Russia, boo-Canada parade, but the fight to protect baby harp seals—hundreds of thousands of which are clubbed to death every year while just a few weeks old—isn't over yet.

WTO
Canada is fighting the ban at the World Trade Organization, where it has already been arguing against a similar ban by the European Union—with the Fisheries Minister calling it a "matter of principle," according to The Globe and Mail.

Finding Other Markets
Meanwhile, AFP reports that this year, "China joined Japan and South Korea as new markets for Canadian seal products by authorizing seal meat and seal oil imports."

Indeed, Canada signed an agreement with China in January that, The Globe and Mail reports:

Fisheries Minister Gail Shea signed a co-operative arrangement with Chinese officials that she said will give Canada’s sealing industry access to the world’s largest consumer market. Perhaps fittingly, the deal was signed while Ms. Shea and a group of Canadian business people were attending the China Fur and Leather Products Fair in Beijing. Needless to say, there were no fur protesters in sight.

The agreement “will allow the export of edible seal products from Canada, such as meat and oil, to China,” Ms. Shea said.

(The deal faced opposition from activists and organizations in China.)

So while the ban from Russia is great news, it's not the end of the industry. Harp seals still need help.

Tags: Animals | Animal Welfare | Canada | Russia

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