Friday, April 18, 2008

Commission set to propose ban on seal products

Following a lengthy campaign from animal welfare lobbyists, the European Commission has revealed it is planning to propose a ban on seal products within the EU.

EU Observer has reported that Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, plans to propose a ban on fur if a country cannot prove it has been obtained in a humane way.

The proposal should fly through the parliament if the Written Directive calling for a ban on the import, export and sale of seal products is anything to go by. Back in September 2006 it was signed by a record number of MEPs and as such became the position of the parliament.

The article suggests that Dimas has no plans to call for an outright ban but wants to ensure that any seals culled are done so quickly and cleanly. His main intention, it would appear, is to help stop the practice of skinning seals while they are still alive.

Some will be disappointed that the plans do not go further but it is a start and, should it be approved, will help drive up standards and eliminate the very worst aspects of the cull.

It is also an example of how EU citizens can play a part in influencing legislation. The campaign for a ban on seal products came from animal welfare charities and lobbyists and was driven by the sheer weight of mail many MEPs received on the issue. With the European Parliament’s support the case for a ban was strengthened and the European Commission has now responded with these early proposals, which will hopefully improve the welfare of thousands of seals.

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