In advance of this year's seal hunting season, Canadian officials are scheduled to appear today at a World Trade Organization hearing in Geneva, appealing the European Union's landmark ruling banning the import of seal products. Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's environment minister, will defend the seal hunt over the next several days as "humane, sustainable and well-regulated," according to the Canadian Press.
"Any views to the contrary are based on myths, misinformation and misguided emotion," Aglukkaq said in an opinion editorial released over the weekend. "Canadian coastal and northern communities continue to depend upon the humane seal harvest as a vital economic activity and they should have every right to do so." In a statement to the WTO's appellate body, Aglukkaq called questions about the morality of seal hunting "very troubling."
In November, the WTO upheld an embargo on seal product imports to the EU, citing "public moral concerns" as justification for the ban. Aglukkaq, however, argued before the WTO that while Canadian seal products are banned, seal products from Greenland can still be marketed in the EU "without any regard for the manner in which they are hunted."