07/01/08 International Demonstration to Call for a Ban on Seal Fur Trade in the EU

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After demos in Ljubljana and Zagreb, Animal Friends invites to Brussels to international demonstration to call for a ban on seal fur trade in the EU

- Fifty people from Croatia will be joining campaigners from all over Europe in Brussels on July 1 to demonstrate in support of the unconditional EU-wide ban on seal products

Organised by IFAW, Humane Society International (HSI), GAIA and Eurogroup for Animals, the demonstration will take place outside the offices of the European Commission, to urge them to impose a strong ban now. Arrival of Croatian demonstrators is organized by Animal Friends.

The Commission is expected to adopt a proposal on a possible ban this year. Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said in April they would go ahead if countries were unable to prove the animals were being killed humanely.

Considering all known killing and hunting methods, Animal Friends president Luka Oman says: "There has never been a better opportunity to achieve the unconditional ban on seal products. Having a strong trade ban in the European Union would do much to reduce the seal hunt and eventually would help to end it. Since Croatia has already banned the import of seal fur, we consider it highly important for Croatian citizens to participate in this crucial demonstration for prevention of killing of animals for fur."

The Commission is only weeks away from making a decision on a ban, and the demonstration will show them the strength of feeling. Pictures and footage released at simultaneous press events all over Europe on April 25 demonstrated why the commercial seal hunt could never be humane. The evidence taken during the annual hunt in Canada showed hunters ignoring the regulations, failing to kill seals quickly, and hooking and hoisting live seals into boats.

This ban addresses the large scale commercial seal hunting in Canada, but it also applies to seal products deriving from commercial hunts elsewhere, such as in Namibia and Russia.

A ban on seal products is widely supported by European parliamentarians. In 2006 425 MEPs signed a resolution to urge the Commission to ban all seal products.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia, Slovenia, Latvia, the US and Mexico have already banned seal products, while Germany and Italy are planning to do so.

This year, more than 200,000 seals have been killed in the Canadian hunt alone. Some of the video footage of the seal hunt combined with the footage from a Zagreb demo can be seen in a short film edited especially for Animal Friends by Animal Rights Media from the Netherlands. You can watch the film at www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCIzGDcyeww.

The coach for Bruxelles leaves on Monday, June 30 at 10 A.M. in front of the Concert Hall Vatroslav Lisinski. Since there is only a few seats left, we invite everyone who is interested to register at our web site as soon as possible.

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