MEPs defy legal threats and ban seal products

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The Independent Online

The European Parliament has voted to ban imports of seal products, a step Canada and Norway have said they will challenge in the world's top trade court. "This is what the citizens of Europe want," said Arlene McCarthy, a Briton who chairs the parliament's internal market committee.

The 15 seal species now hunted are not endangered but European politicians demanded action after finding what they said was evidence that many are skinned while still conscious. EU lawmakers dismissed a possible challenge at the World Trade Organisation as "blustering and threats". The ban affects around €4.2m (£3.7m) of business. The European Commission had proposed a partial ban coupled with clear labelling of products to show that they contain culled seals, but the European Parliament said this was not enough.