The EU has adopted strict conditions for placing seal products on the market of the European Union.
The European Union is concerned about the animal welfare aspects of the seal hunt. Doubts have been expressed about some of the methods used for hunting seals, such as shooting, netting and clubbing, that can cause avoidable pain, suffering, fear and distress.
Several EU Member States either considered introducing or introduced national legislative measures to ban the import and use of seal skins and seal products. In the light of these concerns, on 16 September 2009 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted a Regulation imposing strict conditions on the trade in seal products in the European Union. It applies both to seal products produced in the EU and to imported products.
The aim of the Regulation is to ensure that products derived from seals are no longer sold on the European market. The Regulation was published in the Official Journal on 31 October 2009, entering into force on 20 November 2009. The ban itself entered into force nine months after the entry into force of the Regulation (i.e. 20 August 2010).
The Regulation lays down limited exemptions to respect the fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit and other indigenous communities. It also contains exceptions for goods derived from seals for personal and non-commercial use and for goods derived from seals hunted for the sole purpose of the sustainable management of marine resources on a not-for-profit basis and for non-commercial reasons.Back to Political & economic relations