May 25, 2014 – Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, is reminding the public of the European Union’s  hypocritical stand in light of a World Trade Organization’s ruling upholding the EU’s import ban on seal products based on what they say is “moral” grounds. Frank Pinhorn says he’s not one bit surprised by the decision, given what the process involved. He says the moral argument and debate doesn’t hold up given what goes on in Spain with it’s tourist attractions involving glorified butchery for sport, of bulls, in an arena for all to see as a spectacle of sorts.  Read more here from  VOCM:

Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings says they are making gains in other markets, and will continue to do so. China and the rest of Asia, as well as Northern climates, are showing growth.

VOCM Radio sound clip:
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May 23, 2014: Frank Pinhorn, Executive director to the Canadian Sealers Association,  talks with NTV news about the WTO appeal decision to uphold the European Court import ban and how hard it is to win an appeal in these cases.


May 22 2014: WTO upholds seal import ban into European countries.

The Canadian Sealers Association strongly objects to the decision by the WTO / European Court on denying the appeal of the seal ban and conclude that the process has no foundation in law or science or animal welfare and is being treated in such a frivolous manner.

Partial excerpt:

The Appellate Body upheld the Panel’s finding that the EU Seal Regime is “necessary to protect public morals” within the meaning of Article XX(a) of the GATT 1994. As regards the chapeau of Article XX of the GATT 1994, the Appellate Body found that the Panel erred in applying the same legal test to the chapeau of Article XX as it applied to Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement, instead of conducting an independent analysis of the consistency of the EU Seal Regime with the specific terms and requirements of the chapeau. The Appellate Body therefore reversed the Panel’s findings under the chapeau, and consequently found that it did not need to address the participants’ claims on appeal in relation to those findings.

The full WTO decision can be read here:

National Post (Toronto) article is here

Seal Day 2014 Ottawa

Minister Leona Aglukkaq

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq is in Geneva, Switzerland, to argue against Europe’s ban on seal products.

Despite aggressive opposition from Canada and to a lesser degree Norway, the EU’s ban on seal products was upheld late last year by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Canada announced its intention to appeal almost immediately and Aglukkaq leads a delegation to participate in three days of hearings before the WTO.
In its ruling, the WTO indicated that while the ban may have broken trade rules, it was justified because of “public moral concerns” with the seal hunt. The ruling didn’t specify that public outrage had to be founded, something with which Aglukkaq takes issue.

“When you start making conservation decisions on moral issues, we’ve lost the battle on conservation,” Aglukkaq told QMI Agency.

As a native Northerner, Aglukkaq calls the ban “emotional” and “discriminatory,” despite an apparent lack of clarity on what the ban actually entails.

Though the WTO ruling specifically deals with commercial sealing and protects Aboriginal seal hunts, Aglukkaq explains that farms and greenhouses “aren’t in the Arctic” and Northerners need to eat.  Read more from the Toronto Sun:

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UPDATE: May 21, 2014
Executive Director of the Canadian Sealers Association Frank Pinhorn questions the reasons given by the WTO for the seal import ban from the onset of the dispute. He doubts the decision was based on science, because the existing stocks are very high. He says it cannot be based on humane reasons either, as the International Veterinary Association has stated that the seal industry here is run better than any other animal harvest in the world.

VOCM Radio sound clip:
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May 15: Poll: Many Europeans Opposed to WTO “Public Morality” Trade Ban

A new poll conducted in Europe by Abacus Data shows that the WTO’s excuse of “public morality”  as a means to uphold an import ban of seal products into Europe was not holding up in over 60% of those polled. The same poll and survey found that up to 75% thought the use of animal consumption was acceptable so long as it is done in a way that protects animal welfare and that resources are sustainable and no species numbers is ever at risk.

“It’s clear that Europeans are concerned about publicly morality trumping scientific evidence,” said David Hutton, Co-Chair of the Trade Fairness Coalition (TFC). “It’s also clear they see the very dangerous precedent this could set for the fair trade in other sustainable use, natural resource and energy products.”

Survey Methodology:
Abacus Data has just completed a survey of 2,407 residents aged 18 living in Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain. A total of 400 interviews were conducted online with a representative sample of residents in each country from April 11 to 22, 2014. The data was weighted by age, gender, and region according to national population statistics in each country. The overall six country average was weighted according to the population of each country.

Full survey details on

Abacus – Poll results are here (PDF)