Minister must take immediate action against slaughter of seals

6 September 2006

Minister must take immediate action against slaughter of seals

SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen is urging agriculture and fisheries minister Cees Veerman to bring pressure to bear within the EU's Council of Ministers for a Europe-wide ban on trade in seal products. The European Parliament today adopted a resolution demanding an end to the import, export and sale of all such goods. Although the resolution is not binding on member states, it represents an important first step towards ending the cruel hunting of seals, as Europe forms an important market for these products.

Krista van VelzenMs Van Velzen is pleased that virtually all parties in the European Parliament supported the proposal for a ban. Her own proposal for a ban on imports into the Netherlands, put forward in the national parliament six months ago, won support from only three small parties: the Green Left, D66 and the Christian Union, with every other group arguing that it would be better to wait for legal measures to be taken, whilst in the meantime investigating alternative methods of culling the seals. Since then, however, nothing has changed.

"Mr Veerman has always said that we must wait to see whether a ban on imports would be in keeping with international trade agreements," Van Velzen said. "In this way he has left the initiative for other countries to take. Now it's his turn! I intend to ask him immediately how he himself will ensure that Europe ceases to go along with this cruel slaughter of seals."

Members of the European Parliament can make use of a resolution of this type to put an issue back on to the table. The European Commission is not obliged to follow its wishes, but in the wake of last year's rejection of the European Constitution it would make sense if Europe were for once to listen to what the European public wants. In this case this is clear: an end to the mass slaughter of seals. "If Mr Veerman emphatically declares himself a supporter of this resolution, it would help ensure that the Commission takes it very seriously," Van Velzen concluded.

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