Court upholds stall on EU seal product ban

“Inuit seal products are available for the European market once again”


Trade and further manufacturing of seal products within the European Union can continue for now, says an Oct. 20 judgment from the European General Court.

Members of a 16-member plaintiff alliance “welcomed the favourable ruling” from the court on their challenge to the EU’s ban on seal products, said an Oct. 20 joint press release from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Fur Institute of Canada’s seal and sealing network.

The Oct. 20 ruling, issued by the president of the general court of the EU, explains the scope of its provisional interim measures order issued on Aug. 19 which said enforcement of the proposed ban on seal product trade in the EU would be temporarily suspended until the court delivers it final ruling.

“Inuit, who are central to this case, are pleased with this week’s indications by the General Court that Inuit and non-Inuit plaintiffs can continue to place seal products on the EU market without interruption from the regulation,” said ITK president Mary Simon.

“The news from the court today indicates that trade and further manufacturing of seal products within the EU can continue for the time being, unfettered by the current regulation,” said Rob Cahill, executive director or the Fur Institute of Canada.

When the court suspended the EU’s proposed seal product ban on Aug, 19, the ruling came just one day before the measure was to take effect.

The court ruled the ban should not come into effect while Canadian opponents of the ban — including ITK, hunters and trappers groups from Nunavut and Greenland, and fur industry representatives— fight the measure in European courts.

But the European Commission’s interpretation and subsequent message to EU member states was that the plaintiffs could continue to sell seal products to third parties in the EU, but those parties could not in turn continue to market the products.

The court decision now shows sales of seal products may continue under the interim measures, the press release said.

“Inuit seal products are available for the European market once again,” Simon said. “We will continue to press this case forward to what we feel should be its logical conclusion – that the legislation is struck down.”

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