Procedure : 2008/0160(COD)
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Document selected : A6-0118/2009

Texts tabled :

A6-0118/2009

Debates :

PV 04/05/2009 - 21
CRE 04/05/2009 - 21

Votes :

PV 05/05/2009 - 5.9
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2009)0342

REPORT     ***I
PDF 471kDOC 693k
5 March 2009
PE 418.166v02-00 A6-0118/2009

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning trade in seals products

(COM(2008)0469 – C6-0295/2008 – 2008/0160(COD))

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Rapporteur: Diana Wallis

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning trade in seals products

(COM(2008)0469 – C6-0295/2008 – 2008/0160(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2008)0469),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Articles 95 and 133 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0295/2008),

–   having regard to the declaration of the European Parliament of 26 September 2006 on banning seal products in the European Union(1),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Agriculture (A6-0118/2009),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

Amendment 1

Proposal for a regulation

Recital - 1 (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1) In its declaration of 26 September 2006 on banning seal products in the European Union1, the European Parliament requested the Commission to immediately draft a regulation to ban the import, export and sale of all harp and hooded seal products. In its resolution of 12 October 2006 on a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-20102, the European Parliament called on the Commission to propose a total import ban on seal products. In its Recommendation 1776 (2006) on seal hunting of 17 November 2006, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommended to invite the Member States of the Council of Europe practising seal hunting to ban all cruel hunting methods which do not guarantee the instantaneous death, without suffering, of the animals, to prohibit the stunning of animals with instruments such as hakapiks, bludgeons and guns, and to promote initiatives aimed at prohibiting trade in seal products.

 

_________

1 OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 194.

2 OJ C 308 E, 16.12.2006, p. 170.

Justification

The European Parliament’s Resolution on the Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006 2010 calls on the Commission to propose a total import ban on seal products and its Written Declaration Banning Seal Products In The European Union, signed by 425 MEPs and which prompted the proposed prohibition on seal product trade, and the Recommendation of the Council of Europe urged its members to promote initiatives aimed at prohibiting trade in seal products and, in part, prompted the proposed Regulation.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) Seals are animals that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering.

(1) Seals are sentient animals that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering. The importation into Member States for commercial purposes of skins of certain seal pups (harp seal and hooded seal pups) and products derived therefrom is prohibited1.

 

_______

1 Council Directive 83/129/EEC of 28 March 1983 concerning the importation into Member States of skins of certain seal pups and products derived therefrom (OJ L 91, 9.4.1983, p. 30).

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) Seals are hunted within and outside the Community and used for obtaining products and articles, such as meat, oil, blubber, fur skins and articles made therefrom, which are sold commercially on different markets, including the Community.

(2) Commercial seal hunting is conducted within and outside the Community to obtain products and articles, such as meat, oil, blubber, fur skins and articles made therefrom, which are sold commercially on different markets, including the Community market.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) The hunting of seals has led to expressions of serious concerns by members of the public, governments as well as the European Parliament sensitive to animal welfare considerations since there are indications that seals may not be killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering. The European Food Safety Authority concluded, in its scientific opinion on the Animal Welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals, that it is possible to kill seals rapidly and effectively without causing them avoidable pain or distress, whilst also reporting that in practice, effective and humane killing does not always happen1.

(3) The hunting of seals has led to expressions of serious concerns by members of the public, governments as well as the European Parliament sensitive to animal welfare considerations since there is clear evidence that seals killed in commercial seal hunts consistently suffer pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

1 Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare on a request from the Commission on the Animal Welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals. The EFSA Journal (2007) 610, 1-122.

 

Justification

The concern of European citizens is about a trade involving suffering of wild animals, not only suffering which is avoidable. Unavoidable suffering may be very considerable. The question is that, regardless of whether some seals can be killed humanely or not, seals cannot be consistently killed humanely in the field environments in which commercial seal hunts occur.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3a) In 2007, the Commission gave a mandate to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to assess the most appropriate or suitable killing methods for seals which reduce unnecessary pain, distress and suffering to the greatest extent possible, but did not request that the EFSA evaluate whether the killing in commercial seal hunts is in fact humane or could ever be made humane, given the conditions under which the hunting occurs.

Justification

The Commission did not ask EFSA to assess whether commercial seal hunting is currently conducted in a humane fashion, but rather the most appropriate killing methods for seals to reduce as much as possible unnecessary pain, distress and suffering. The killing methods recommended in EFSA’s report and the draft Regulation do not prescribe humane killing as any reputable veterinary authority would define it.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 3 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3b) The Commission has received thousands of letters, e-mails and petitions expressing EU citizens’ overwhelming opposition regarding the trade in seal products undertaken in unregulated circumstances which render the killing inherently inhumane.

Justification

This addition records the public opposition to seal product trade reflected by European citizens and others in recent years. It is taken from the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Commission’s draft Regulation.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) In response to the concern about the animal welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals, several Member States have adopted or intend to adopt legislation regulating trade in seal products, by prohibiting their import, and production, while no restrictions are placed on the trade in these products in other Member States.

(4) In response to the concern about the animal welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals, several Member States, including Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Slovenia, as well as, internationally, Croatia, Mexico, Panama, Switzerland and the United States of America, have adopted or intend to adopt legislation regulating trade in seal products, largely on the basis of ethical considerations related to animal welfare, by prohibiting their import, and production, while no restrictions are placed on the trade in these products in other Member States.

Justification

This amendment highlights the animal welfare motivations for existing Member State prohibitions on seal product trade.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) To eliminate the present fragmentation of the internal market, there is a need to provide for harmonised rules while taking into account animal welfare considerations. A ban on placing seal products on the market is appropriate to that effect.

(6) To eliminate the present fragmentation of the internal market and to meet the animal welfare concerns of European citizens, and taking into account nature conservation issues, there is a need to provide for harmonised rules based on these considerations. A ban on placing seal products on the market is appropriate to that effect. It is appropriate to provide for a limited derogation from the general ban on the placing on the market and the import to, or export from, the Community of seal products for products of seal hunts conducted by Inuits.

Justification

54.The Regulation also aims at meeting animal welfare concerns and, more generally, nature conservation issues. It is important to underline these considerations, in particular to meet certain provisions within the WTO context.

53. It is important to clearly define what trade would be allowed for traditional purposes by Inuit communities in line with Parliament's Written Declaration. Reference to or other aboriginal communities clarifies that these provisions are objective and non-discriminatory.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 10

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare and potential conservation concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

Justification

The removal of the word “avoidable” is warranted since all the evidence indicates that EC citizens are concerned about the suffering caused by the hunting of seals, not only suffering which is avoidable. Unavoidable suffering may be very considerable given the term in not quantifiable.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 11

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(11) It is appropriate, however, to provide for the possibility of derogations from the general ban on the placing on the market and the import in, or export from, the Community of seal products insofar as the appropriate conditions based on animal welfare considerations are met. To that effect, criteria should be provided for the compliance with which should ensure that seals are killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering. Any such derogation should be granted at Community level so that uniform conditions apply throughout the Community with respect to the trade specifically allowed under those derogations and the smooth functioning of the internal market is preserved.

deleted

Justification

Commercial seal hunts are inherently inhumane because humane killing methods cannot be effectively and consistently applied in the field environments in which they operate. Moreover, seal hunts occur in remote locations, and are conducted by thousands of individuals over large, inaccessible areas, making effective monitoring of seal hunting impossible. As such only a comprehensive ban without the derogation drafted by the Commission would meet citizens' demands to see an end to the trade in seal products.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 12

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(12) Seal products should only be placed on the market, imported, transiting, or exported if they meet the conditions provided for to that effect by this Regulation. However, if placed on the market, imported or exported in accordance with a derogation granted under this Regulation, seal products will also have to comply with the relevant Community legislation, including animal health and food and feed safety provisions, as appropriate. This Regulation should not affect the obligations under Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 October 2002 laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption1 concerning the disposal of seal products for public and animal health reasons.

deleted

1 OJ L 273, 10.10.2002, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 523/2008 of 11 June 2008 (OJ L 153, 12.6.2008, p. 23).

 

Justification

Consequent to deletion of derogation for certain killing methods, recital 11.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13) The fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit communities traditionally engaged in the hunting of seals as a means to ensure their subsistence should not be adversely affected. The hunt is an integrated part of the culture and the identity of the members of the Inuit society. It represents a source of income and contributes to the subsistence of the hunter. Therefore, seal products deriving from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities and which contribute to their subsistence should not be covered by the prohibitions provided for in this Regulation.

(13) The fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit communities engaged in the hunting of seals as a means to ensure their subsistence should not be adversely affected by this Regulation, since subsistence hunting involves personal or family consumption only and does not constitute intra-Community trade. The hunt is an integrated part of the culture and the identity of the members of the Inuit society, and as such is protected by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Seal products deriving from hunts conducted by Inuit communities and which enter the Community market for personal use, cultural exchange purposes, such as education or ceremony, and small-scale trade should be authorised under this Regulation insofar as the appropriate conditions relating to animal welfare are met and insofar as these conditions can be effectively enforced by the relevant authorities. To that effect, criteria should be provided for, compliance with which should ensure that seals are killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress or other forms of suffering.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 13 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(13a) Seal products should only be placed on the market, imported, transited or exported if they meet the conditions provided for to that effect by this Regulation. However, if placed on the market, imported or exported in accordance with a derogation granted under this Regulation, seal products should also comply with the relevant Community legislation, including animal health and food and feed safety provisions, as appropriate. This Regulation should not affect the obligations laid down by Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 October 2002 laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption1 concerning the disposal of seal products for public and animal health reasons.

 

___________

1 OJ L 273, 10.10.2002, p. 1.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 14

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(14) Appropriate requirements should be provided for ensuring that derogations to trade prohibitions can be properly enforced under this Regulation. To that effect, provisions should be made relating to certification schemes as well as on labelling and marking. Certification schemes should ensure that seal products are certified as coming from seals which have been killed and skinned in accordance with the appropriate requirements, which are effectively enforced, and whose object is to ensure that seals are killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and any other form of suffering.

deleted

Justification

Consequent to deletion of derogation for certain killing methods, recital 11.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 16

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(16) In particular, the Commission should be empowered to adopt all measures necessary to ensure that procedures are in place allowing applications for derogation to the trade prohibitions set out in this Regulation to be lodged and handled in an efficient manner, as well as to ensure the proper implementation of the provisions of this Regulation concerning certification schemes and labelling and marking. Since those measures are of a general scope and are designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, inter alia, by supplementing it with new non-essential elements, they must be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny provided for in Article 5a of Decision 1999/468/EC. The Commission should also be empowered to decide on derogations to trade prohibitions under this Regulation, suspension or revocation thereof. Since those measures are adopted to ensure the management of the scheme provided for in this Regulation and apply it in individual cases, they must be adopted in accordance with the management procedure provided for in Article 4 of Decision 1999/468/EC.

deleted

Justification

Consequent to deletion of derogation for certain killing methods, recital 11.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 18

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(18) Member States should report on a regular basis on the actions taken to enforce this Regulation. On the basis of those reports, the Commission should itself report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Regulation.

(18) Member States should report on a regular basis on the actions taken to enforce this Regulation. Member States in which seal hunts take place should report on a regular basis on the cultural, economic, social and seal welfare implications of this Regulation in the light of the Convention on Biological Diversity. On the basis of those reports, the Commission should itself report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application and implications of this Regulation.

Amendment  17

Proposal for a regulation

Article 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

This Regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the placing on the market and the import in, transit through, or export from, the European Community of seal products.

This Regulation establishes harmonised rules prohibiting the placing on the market and the import to, transit through, or export from, the European Community of seal products. Only products derived from the subsistence hunting of seals conducted by Inuit or other aboriginal communities may be traded as part of a commercial exchange between such communities for cultural, educational and/or ceremonial purposes.

Justification

This amendment acknowledges an exception for seal products derived from Inuit hunts that are traded as part of a non-commercial cultural exchange. Because subsistence hunting involves personal or family consumption only, and does not involve placing seal products on the market or importing or exporting them, seal products from these subsistence hunts do not fall within the Regulation.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. 'seal' means specimens of Pinnipeds belonging to the species listed in Annex I;

1. 'seal' means specimens of Pinnipeds;

Justification

To leave some species of seal out of the Regulation could add to complications and identification problems and risks creating a loophole in the provisions.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. 'seal product' means all products, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or obtained from seals, including meat, oil, blubber, and raw fur skins and fur skins, tanned or dressed, including fur skins assembled in plates, crosses and similar forms as well as articles made from seal fur skins;

2. 'seal product' means all products, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or obtained from seals, including meat, oil, blubber, organs and raw fur skins and fur skins, tanned or dressed, including fur skins assembled in plates, crosses and similar forms as well as articles made from seal fur skins;

Justification

Inclusion of seal organs for clarity.

Amendment  20

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 3

 

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. 'placing on the market' means introducing onto the Community market, thereby making available to third parties, whether in exchange for payment or not;

3. ‘placing on the market’ means introducing onto the Community market, thereby making available to third parties, in exchange for payment;

Justification

The proposal goes far too far since it prevents not just marketing but also any other transfer (‘making available’), even when this is without payment. It would thus prohibit the sending of samples to research laboratories.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

3a. 'Inuit' means indigenous members of the Inuit homeland – i.e. those arctic and subarctic areas where, presently or traditionally, Inuit have Aboriginal rights and interests – recognized by Inuit as being members of their people and includes Inupiat, Yupik (Alaska), Inuit, Inuvialuit (Canada), Kalaallit (Greenland) and Yupik (Russia);

Justification

This definition refers to article 1, paragraph 2 in the ILO convention (169/1989) while incorporating central elements of the definition in the ICC Charter, article 6 and 7.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. 'import' means any entry of goods into the customs territory of the Community, with the exception of imports that:

4. 'import' means any entry of goods into the customs territory of the Community, with the exception of imports that consist exclusively of goods for the personal use of travellers or their families; the nature and quantity of such goods may not be of such a kind as to indicate that they are being imported for commercial reasons;

(i) are of an occasional nature, and

 

(ii) consist exclusively of goods for the personal use of the travellers or their families;

 

Justification

This amendment clarifies that imports for personal use must be of a non-commercial quantity and nature. This is necessary to ensure that a loophole is not created by allowing trade for personal use without any restrictions as to quantity or nature of the products involved.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

7. 'applicants requesting a derogation' mean countries, including Member States, requesting a derogation under Article 5 of this Regulation on whose territory or under whose jurisdiction the seals from which seals products are made, have been killed and skinned as well as the country under whose jurisdiction fall the persons who kill and skin seals where the killing and skinning take place on the territory of another country. When adopting the implementing measures referred to in Article 5(5), the Commission will decide, in line with the objectives of this Regulation, under which conditions entities other than countries should be included.

deleted

Justification

A definition of 'applicants requesting a derogation' is unnecessary in view of amendments to the nature of the Proposal.

Amendment  24

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7a.'hunts traditionally conducted' means the commercial hunting for seals traditionally undertaken by Inuit communities;

Justification

The definitions 7a and 7b are added to clearly specify the meaning of the exemption which should only apply to products coming from commercial subsistence hunting by Inuit communities for personal or family consumption.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7b. 'subsistence purposes' means the customary and traditional uses by Inuit communities of seal products for direct personal or family consumption as food, shelter, fuel, clothing, tools; for the making and selling of handicraft articles out of non-edible seal by-products taken for personal or family consumption; and for exchange of seals or their parts, if the exchange is of a limited and commercial nature, or sharing for personal or family consumption.

Justification

The definitions 7a and 7b are added to clearly specify the meaning of the exemption which should only apply to products coming from commercial subsistence hunting by Inuit communities for personal or family consumption.

Amendment  26

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. The placing on the market and the import in, transit through, or export from, the Community of seal products shall be prohibited.

1. The placing on the market and the import to, transit through, or export from, the Community of seal products shall be prohibited.

Justification

Changing ‘in’ to ‘to’ makes it consistent with cat and dog fur ban.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3 - paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to seal products resulting from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities and which contribute to their subsistence.

2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to seal products resulting from hunts conducted by Inuit communities for seal products that are traded as a part of a small-scale commercial exchange vital for personal and subsistence needs or for cultural, educational or ceremonial purposes.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 4

deleted

Conditions of placing on the market, import, transit and export

 

1. Notwithstanding Article 3(1), the placing on the market, and the import in, transit through, or export from, the Community of seal products shall be allowed where the following conditions are met:

 

(a) they have been obtained from seals killed and skinned in a country where, or by persons to whom, adequate legislative provisions or other requirements apply ensuring effectively that seals are killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and any other form of suffering;

 

(b) the legislative provisions or other requirements referred to in point (a) are effectively enforced by the relevant authorities;

 

(c) an appropriate scheme is in place whereby seal products, including seal skins and other raw materials derived from seals used to produce seal products, are certified as coming from seals to which the conditions laid down in points (a) and (b) apply, and

 

(d) the fulfilment of the conditions laid down in points (a), (b) and (c) is evidenced by:

 

(i) a certificate, and

 

(ii) a label or marking, where a certificate does not suffice to ensure the proper enforcement of this Regulation,

 

in accordance with Articles 6 and 7.

 

2. Member States shall not impede the placing on the market, import and export of seal products which comply with the provisions of this Regulation.

 

Justification

Commercial seal hunts are inherently inhumane because humane killing methods cannot be effectively and consistently applied in the field environments in which they operate. Moreover, seal hunts occur in remote locations, and are conducted by thousands of individuals over large, inaccessible areas, making effective monitoring of seal hunting impossible. As such only a comprehensive ban without the derogation drafted by the Commission would meet citizens' demands to see an end to the trade in seal products.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 5

deleted

Derogations

 

1. Applicants requesting a derogation which demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the conditions provided for in Article 4(1) are met shall be granted a derogation.

 

2. The Commission shall appraise the fulfilment of the conditions laid down in point (a) of Article 4(1) on the basis of the criteria set out in Annex II.

 

3. Derogations granted pursuant to paragraph 1 shall be suspended or revoked where any of the conditions referred to in that paragraph would cease to be met.

 

4. The Commission shall grant derogations, and decide on suspension or revocation thereof, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 9(2).

 

5. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article, such as measures on the applications to be submitted to the Commission, including evidentiary requirements, in order to obtain a derogation. In doing so, the Commission shall take into consideration the different conditions which may occur in the territories of different countries.

 

Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Justification

Consequent to deletion of derogation for certain killing method in Article 4.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a regulation

Article 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 6

deleted

Certificates

 

1. Certificates referred to in Article 4(1)(d)(i) shall fulfil the following minimum conditions:

 

(a) they shall display all relevant information necessary to attest that the seal product or products they refer to meet the condition laid down in Article 4(1)(c); and

 

(b) they shall be validated by an independent body or public authority attesting the accuracy of the information displayed therein.

 

2. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article. It may, in particular, specify the information to be displayed and the evidentiary requirements to be submitted to attest that the condition laid down in point (b) of paragraph 1 is met.

 

Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Justification

Consequent to deletion of derogation for certain killing method in Article 4.

Amendment  31

Proposal for a regulation

Article 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 7

deleted

Labelling and marking

 

1. The label or marking referred to in Article 4(1)(d)(ii) shall be affixed in an intelligible, indelible and visible manner.

 

2. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article, such as measures specifying the conditions which marking and label shall meet and the circumstances under which they shall be affixed. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Amendment  32

Proposal for a regulation

Article 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 8

deleted

Amendments to the Annexes

 

The Commission may amend the annexes. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this regulation, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Justification

Consequent to the deletion of the annexes.

Amendment  33

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 4 and Article 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.

deleted

Justification

The derogation provisions and, consequently, the provisions on certification and labelling are deleted. However, the regulatory procedure with scrutiny is still relevant for the requirements relating to the proof of origin of Inuit seal products coming from subsistence hunting by Inuit communities.

Amendment  34

Proposal for a regulation

Article 11

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Member States shall send every five years to the Commission a report outlining the actions taken to enforce this Regulation.

1. Member States shall send by ...* and thereafter every three years to the Commission a report outlining the actions taken to enforce this Regulation.

 

1a. Member States in which seal hunts take place shall send every three years to the Commission a report outlining the cultural, economic, social and seal welfare implications of this Regulation in the light of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

2. On the basis of the reports referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Regulation within twelve months of the end of the five-year reporting period concerned.

2. On the basis of the reports referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application and implications of this Regulation within twelve months of the end of each reporting period concerned.

 

________

* Two years from the date of entry into force of this Regulation.

Justification

A two-year timeframe allows any problems with enforcement to be identified and addressed.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a regulation

Article 12 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Articles 3 and 4 shall apply 6 months after the date of entry into force of the Regulation unless the implementing measures referred to in Articles 3(3), 5(5), 6(2) and 7(2) are not in force on that date, in which case they shall apply on the day following the entry into force of those implementing measures.

Article 3 shall apply from ...*.

 

* 6 months from the date of entry into force of this Regulation.

Justification

Consequential of eliminating Article 4 etc.

Amendment  36

Proposal for a regulation

Annex I

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Annex deleted

Justification

Consequent to the application of the regulation to all pinniped species, Article 2.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Annex deleted

Justification

Consequent to deletion of derogation for certain killing method in Article 4.

(1)

OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 194.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

On the 15th September 2006, a Written Declaration of the European Parliament on banning seal products in the European Union attracted 425 signatures from Members of the Parliament and thus became a resolution pursuant to which the Commission has been required to act.

The resolution itself is quite short and direct in its wording. However, it is clear that it contains two main policy considerations: firstly to place a ban on the trade in certain seal products within the European Union, and secondly to respect the traditions and cultures of indigenous peoples of the Arctic, a consideration again recently repeated in the parliamentary resolution on Arctic Governance policy of 9th October 2008.

However, analysis of the Written Declaration shows that it would not have achieved the animal welfare considerations intended by its authors. For example, the Written Declaration omits several species of seal, such as the ringed seal, which is hunted in high numbers in Canada and Greenland, and the cape fur seal, the seal species predominantly hunted in Namibia, the world's third largest exporter of seal skins.

In adopting its Proposal for a Regulation on the trade in seal products, the Commission has, rightly, been diligent in trying to respect Parliament's wishes as identified in its resolution. Despite this, the submission of a legislative proposal without any chance for debate on a Green or White Paper as to the best methods of achieving the goals of the Written Declaration is perhaps regrettable. Accordingly, Your Rapporteur feels it important that, at the draft report stage, the Parliament takes the opportunity to consider fully the policy options and their consequences. This is particularly so in relation to the Internal Market consequences and the International or WTO ramifications of any proposed ban.

Structural flaws of the Commission Proposal

The current proposal for a Regulation is constructed on a well intentioned, but nevertheless conflicting, set of policy goals, and Your Rapporteur consequently questions whether the current structure of the proposal is appropriate to attain the aims of Parliament’s resolution, and, more importantly, to satisfy the concerns of EU citizens.

In responding to the European Parliament's Written Declaration, the Commission correctly identifies an overwhelming desire to secure animal welfare standards of the highest order in relation to the hunting, skinning and killing of seals for commercial products. As the majority of these activities which it seeks to regulate occur outside of the European Union in Greenland, Namibia, Canada and Russia, and given the EU's limited competence in this field, the Commission suggests a ban on the trade in these products.

In addition to its wish to secure high standards of animal welfare, however, the Parliament in its resolution also expressed the wish to respect the culture, tradition and subsistence lifestyle of Inuit communities. In attempting to respect this policy preference, the Commission's proposal consequently contains a so-called ‘Inuit exception’ to the total ban.

As a result of these twin policy goals contained in Parliament’s Resolution, and to which the Commission rightly responds in its draft proposal for a Regulation, there is an underlying contradiction in the structure of the proposal put forward.

On the one hand, the Inuit exception could, on certain interpretations of its scope, apply to a large majority of the traded products, thus defeating the animal welfare intentions of the proposal. On the other hand, the existence of a policy instrument expressed in terms of a ‘ban’ is so damaging to any trade or market in seal products (which is after all the purpose of a ban) that it renders the exception useless to those Inuit communities whom it was designed to assist in the first place.

Furthermore, despite the headline of a 'ban' under Article 3 of the Commission Proposal, it is unclear whether this proposal does indeed achieve this effect. The current structure of the proposal for a Regulation starts with an overall ban or prohibition on the placing on the market of seal products, the Inuit exception then takes a first tranche of goods out of the ban completely. Despite the ‘ban’, the Regulation then continues to construct a system of conditions and derogations to the ‘ban’ which allow certified goods reaching appropriate welfare standards expressed in the Annex to be placed on the Internal Market. It is thus possible for a whole country, for arguments sake say Canada, to remove itself from the ‘ban’ or ‘prohibition’ by use of the conditions.

In view of the underlying and initial contradiction inherent in the structure of the proposed Regulation and added to this a system of exception and derogations it has to be questioned whether such an instrument incorporating a so-called 'ban' is the correct starting point to achieve the policy goals sets out in Parliament's resolution.

Respect for International Commitments of the EU

In addition to the concern that the Proposal does not achieve the policy goals set out in the Parliament's resolution, there are important question marks on whether the Proposal would comply with WTO rules. For example, given the relatively high contribution of products from Inuit hunting to Greenland's trade in seal products compared to other countries, there is a strong argument that a proposal that maintains the Inuit exception is discriminatory towards other countries, in practice providing an advantage to a good portion of the hunt of seals in Greenland.

Furthermore, there are concerns over whether any such trade ban, with or without derogations, can be properly justified according to WTO rules. The general exception in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which seems to best fit the justifications for the proposed trade ban, and which is also referred to by the Commission in its explanatory memorandum, is that provided under Article XX(a), where it is “necessary to protect public morals". In order to justify a ban on the grounds of the protection of public morals, it must therefore be shown that such measures are 'necessary' to achieve these aims. In previous WTO rulings, this has been determined by "whether a WTO-consistent alternative measure which the Member concerned could ‘reasonably be expected to employ’ is available, or whether a less WTO-inconsistent measure is ‘reasonably available"(1). In this regard it could be argued that a certification or labelling scheme ensuring appropriate information of the public is sufficient to protect public morals and that a trade ban has not been proven necessary, given that alternative measures have not been appropriately tested or considered.

Where third countries or Member States have introduced bans on seal products, it has not been without the threat of challenge. Furthermore, as no ban has been tested according to WTO rules, it remains uncertain whether they would withstand WTO scrutiny. This is also the case for long-term bans such as that in place in the US, which, from its background, is largely based on biodiversity concerns in an homogeneous national market.

Internal Market

The Commission Proposal is based on Article 95 EC, which confers on the Community the powers to adopt measures for the harmonisation of national laws having as their object the establishment and functioning of the Internal Market. Whereas disparities are evident in the marketing of seal products across the European Union, a complete ban on the trade in seal products may not be the appropriate means to achieve the aim of ensuring the smooth functioning of the internal market in this respect.

So far, where bans have been introduced on the basis of Article 95 EC, such as the ban on dog and cat fur, or on tobacco advertising, such bans have been justified with regard to internal market insofar as they contributed to improve intra-Community circulation of other products, namely the free circulation of press and other media in the case of tobacco advertising, and of other fur clothing products and accessories in the case of dog and cat fur. The nature of the market for seal products appears to be such that there are no such other products that would benefit from a ban.

Finally, it must be admitted that competence for regulating hunting practices per se is for Member States and third countries. The European Union is unable to legislate in this area. The Community's competence is therefore limited to controlling the circulation of products within the Internal Market, and attempts to influence hunting practices within a country, be it a Member State or third country, can only be driven through market demand and consumer pressure.

An alternative measure

If Parliament remains equally committed to both of its original policy goals, those of animal welfare and of respecting an minimising the impact on Inuit communities, then arguably a better proposal might be based on a robust system of labelling and marking which might use some of the machinery in the current proposal but not under the perhaps misleading heading and structure of an overall ban or prohibition.

Your Rapporteur therefore considers that an appropriately and robustly constructed mandatory labelling system would have more chance of achieving both of Parliaments policy goals, allowing public opinion - through informed consumers - much more effectively to assist in guaranteeing high animal welfare standards, whilst equally assisting Inuit communities. Such a proposal would also demonstrate greater compliance with EU and International Trade Law, thus increasing certainty and minimising risks against legal challenge from either Member States or third countries. Your Rapporteur has therefore amended the proposal, to put forward such a system but also, as stated above, to provoke full discussion.

In an ideal world, the issues raised by this draft report would have been presented in the form of some kind of working or options paper, but in the timescale allowed by the current legislative process the only possibility has been to come forward with a fully reasoned alternative proposal.

(1)

WT/DS161/AB/R and WT/DS169/AB/R, Korea - Measures Affecting Imports of Fresh, Chilled and Frozen Beef, adopted 11 December 2000, paragraphs 164 and 166.


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY (26.1.2009)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning trade in seal products

(COM(2008)0469 – C6-0295/2008 – 2008/0160(COD))

Rapporteur: Frieda Brepoels

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

1. Background

Seal hunts

Seals live predominantly along coasts of polar, sub-polar and temperate regions. There are 33 species of Pinnipeds, of which at least 15 species are currently hunted. The hunted population accounts for approximately 15-16 million animals.

Each year around 900.000 seals are killed in the large-scale commercial hunt (number uncorrected for struck and lost or unreported killings), of which 60% in Canada, Greenland and Namibia. Norway and Russia are the other main countries conducting a large-scale commercial seal hunt. Within the Community Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom (Scotland) engage in a small-scale seal hunt, mainly for fish stock management and pest control reasons.

Products derived from seals are traded within and outside the Community.

Growing public concern

Seals are sentient mammals that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering. The methods used for seal hunts are often considered inhumane and cruel. Precisely the animal welfare aspects of the seal hunts raised significant public concern over the past years:

(1) Various opinion polls in the different EU Member States show that an overwhelming majority of the EU citizens opposes the large-scale commercial seal hunt and its methods and moreover a clear majority supports a total ban on trade in seal products. Also on the international level, even in seal hunting countries like Canada, opposition against the commercial seal hunt is significant.

(2) To respond to their citizens' animal welfare concerns, several EU Member States have already adopted legislation to ban seal product trade, while others are preparing legislation going in the same direction. On the international level, other countries have taken similar actions that are also largely based on public moral and ethical considerations related to animal welfare. The USA for example included a ban in its 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act.

(3) With the adoption of the written declaration 38/2006 (with 425 signatories) on 26 September 2006, the European Parliament asked to ban the import, export and sale of all harp and hooded seal products, while ensuring that the regulation would not have an impact on traditional Inuit seal hunting.

(4) Having conducted an impact assessment, the European Commission published its proposal for a regulation on 23 July 2008. Based on articles 95 and 133 of the Treaty, the draft regulation envisages a ban on trade, with an exemption for Inuit communities. However it also provides for significant derogations to allow trade in seal products which are obtained without causing avoidable pain or distress to the animals.

2. Position of the rapporteur

Total ban

Seal hunts occur in remote, widespread and poorly accessible areas, under extreme weather conditions and on unstable ice. Each year independent observers witness that these specific conditions form a severe obstacle to comply with the so-called three-step procedure (stunning, checking, bleeding). The EFSA opinion confirms this. Moreover, the same unverifiable conditions make effective monitoring and enforcement by the responsible authorities virtually impossible. The fact that those same authorities should provide certificates and labels would raise a lot of practical problems and would fail to meet the requirements asked for by European citizens and the European Parliament. The rapporteur therefore considers the Commission's proposal unenforceable and argues that the European public moral can only be sufficiently protected by a full ban on trade in seal products with a limited exemption for Inuit communities, in line with the Parliament's request of 2006. Moreover, only the highest level of protection of the existing national legislations, will grant legitimacy to the proposed harmonisation.

Threefold objective

The rapporteur strongly believes a total ban on trade in seal products with a limited exemption for Inuit communities can be justified based on the following threefold objective:

(1) Public moral: only a total ban meets the widely demonstrated concern of European citizens;

(2) Animal welfare: the proposed measures aim at putting an end to hunting methods which are perceived as cruel;

(3) Environmental concerns: the prevention of a decline of the seals population and the possible extinction of certain species. The total allowable catch (TAC) of today's commercial hunt is set above the sustainable limit. And the TAC is uncorrected for struck and lost and unreported killings. In addition, the new threat of climate change and global warming may lead to an increasing rate of pup mortality.

Concrete proposals

The rapporteur thus proposes to delete the derogations from the Commission's proposal and to ask for a full trade ban on seal products. Furthermore, she proposes to tighten the exemption for the Inuit. This type of exemption is internationally accepted for example in the International Whaling Commission, the USA Marine Mammal Act and various national legislations in the EU-27. By bringing the proposal in line with existing legislation in the USA, it could contribute to a coherent international regime against commercial seal hunt.

As regards a possible WTO Panel, the rapporteur believes a ban can be justified under article XX (a) of the GATT (protection of public moral), since moral concerns of the European public have been widely demonstrated and documented and there is no viable less trade-restrictive measure available which would address these concerns in an adequate way. A ban applied equally to all EU Member States and third parties is non-discriminatory. Today there is no WTO-jurisprudence available in this area. This is however a weak argument for adopting unenforceable measures, rather than opting for a total trade ban.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a regulation

Recital -1 (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1) The European Parliament called on the Commission to propose a total import ban on seal products, under point 70 of its Resolution of 12 October 2006 on a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006 – 20101,

 

1 OJ C 308E, 16.12.2006, p. 170.

Justification

This makes reference to the European Parliament’s Resolution on the Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006 – 2010 which calls on the Commission to propose a total import ban on seal products.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Recital -1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1a) On 26 September 2006 the European Parliament adopted a Written Declaration on banning seal products in the European Union1,

 

1 Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0369.

Justification

This refers to the European Parliament's its Written Declaration Banning Seal Products In The European Union which prompted the proposed prohibition on seal product trade.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Recital -1 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1b) In Recommendation 1776 of 17 November 2006, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe invited its Member States, inter alia, to:

 

a) ban all cruel hunting methods which do not guarantee the instantaneous death, without suffering, of the animals, prohibiting the stunning of animals with instruments such as hakapiks, bludgeons and guns; and

 

b) promote initiatives aimed at prohibiting the import and marketing of seal-derived products,

Justification

This makes reference to the Recommendation of the Council of Europe, which urged its members to promote initiatives aimed at prohibiting trade in seal products and, in part, prompted the proposed Regulation.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) Seals are animals that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering.

(1) Seals are sentient animals that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering.

Justification

This makes an explicit reference to the generally acknowledge term describing animals who feel pain, stress and other emotions.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) The hunting of seals has led to expressions of serious concerns by members of the public, governments as well as the European Parliament sensitive to animal welfare considerations since there are indications that seals may not be killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering. The European Food Safety Authority concluded, in its scientific opinion on the Animal Welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals, that it is possible to kill seals rapidly and effectively without causing them avoidable pain or distress, whilst also reporting that in practice, effective and humane killing does not always happen.

(3) The hunting of seals has led to expressions of serious concerns by members of the public, governments as well as the European Parliament sensitive to animal welfare considerations since seals killed and skinned in commercial hunts consistently suffer pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

Justification

The question here is not whether seals can be killed humanely in theory but if they can be consistently killed humanely in the field environments in which seal hunts occur. To avoid confusion, the statement is deleted.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 10

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare and potential conservation concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

Justification

Animal welfare and potential conservation concerns of European citizens are exponents of the European public moral. As they form an important underlying reason for this Regulation, both should be mentioned.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 10

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

Justification

Unavoidable suffering may be very considerable given the term is not quantifiable.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 11

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(11) It is appropriate, however, to provide for the possibility of derogations from the general ban on the placing on the market and the import in, or export from, the Community of seal products insofar as the appropriate conditions based on animal welfare considerations are met. To that effect, criteria should be provided for the compliance with which should ensure that seals are killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering. Any such derogation should be granted at Community level so that uniform conditions apply throughout the Community with respect to the trade specifically allowed under those derogations and the smooth functioning of the internal market is preserved.

deleted

Justification

The deletion of this recital is a logical consequence of the deletion of possible derogations to the Regulation. Cf. Justification of article 4 and following.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 12

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(12) Seal products should only be placed on the market, imported, transiting, or exported if they meet the conditions provided for to that effect by this Regulation. However, if placed on the market, imported or exported in accordance with a derogation granted under this Regulation, seal products will also have to comply with the relevant Community legislation, including animal health and food and feed safety provisions, as appropriate. This Regulation should not affect the obligations under Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 October 2002 laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption1 concerning the disposal of seal products for public and animal health reasons.

deleted

OJ L 273, 10.10.2002, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 523/2008 of 11 June 2008 (OJ L 153, 12.6.2008, p. 23).

 

Justification

The deletion of this recital is a logical consequence of the deletion of possible derogations to the Regulation. Cf. Justification of article 4 and following.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13) The fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit communities traditionally engaged in the hunting of seals as a means to ensure their subsistence should not be adversely affected. The hunt is an integrated part of the culture and the identity of the members of the Inuit society. It represents a source of income and contributes to the subsistence of the hunter. Therefore, seal products deriving from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities and which contribute to their subsistence should not be covered by the prohibitions provided for in this Regulation.

(13) The fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit communities engaged in the hunting of seals for subsistence purposes as defined in Article 2 will not be adversely affected by this Regulation. Seal products deriving from hunts conducted by Inuit communities for subsistence purposes should not be covered by the prohibitions provided for in this Regulation.

Justification

This amendment acknowledges an exception for seal products derived from Inuit hunts that are traded as part of a non-commercial cultural exchange. Because subsistence hunting (as that term is normally and properly understood) by its nature involves personal or family consumption only, and does not involve placing seal products on the market or importing or exporting them, seal products from these subsistence hunts do not fall within the Regulation, which deals with international trade. However, this amendment recognizes that in some instances, Inuit seal products may enter or exit the EU as part of a non-commercial, cultural exchange. This amendment allows that trade to continue to preserve tradition and culture.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 14

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(14) Appropriate requirements should be provided for ensuring that derogations to trade prohibitions can be properly enforced under this Regulation. To that effect, provisions should be made relating to certification schemes as well as on labelling and marking. Certification schemes should ensure that seal products are certified as coming from seals which have been killed and skinned in accordance with the appropriate requirements, which are effectively enforced, and whose object is to ensure that seals are killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and any other form of suffering.

deleted

Justification

The deletion of this recital is a logical consequence of the deletion of possible derogations to the Regulation. Cf. Justification of article 4 and following.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 16

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(16) In particular, the Commission should be empowered to adopt all measures necessary to ensure that procedures are in place allowing applications for derogation to the trade prohibitions set out in this Regulation to be lodged and handled in an efficient manner, as well as to ensure the proper implementation of the provisions of this Regulation concerning certification schemes and labelling and marking. Since those measures are of a general scope and are designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, inter alia, by supplementing it with new non-essential elements, they must be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny provided for in Article 5a of Decision 1999/468/EC. The Commission should also be empowered to decide on derogations to trade prohibitions under this Regulation, suspension or revocation thereof. Since those measures are adopted to ensure the management of the scheme provided for in this Regulation and apply it in individual cases, they must be adopted in accordance with the management procedure provided for in Article 4 of Decision 1999/468/EC.

deleted

Justification

This Recital becomes irrelevant if the Rapporteur's amendments are adopted.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a regulation

Article 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

This Regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the placing on the market and the import in, transit through, or export from, the European Community of seal products.

This Regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the banning of the placing on the market and the import in, transit through, or export from, the European Community of seal products.

Justification

By adding the words "the ban of", the subject matter is brought in line with the changes proposed by the rapporteur to the proposal, i.e. the deletion of the derogations.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. 'seal' means specimens of Pinnipeds belonging to the species listed in Annex I;

1. 'seal' means all specimens of Pinnipeds (Phocidae, Otariidae and Odobenidae);

Justification

This Regulation should apply to all seals. Therefore the definition is adapted, in line with the proposed deletion of Annex I.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. 'seal product' means all products, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or obtained from seals, including meat, oil, blubber, and raw fur skins and fur skins, tanned or dressed, including fur skins assembled in plates, crosses and similar forms as well as articles made from seal fur skins;

2. 'seal product' means all products, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or obtained from seals, including meat, oil, blubber, organs and raw fur skins and fur skins, tanned or dressed, including fur skins assembled in plates, crosses and similar forms as well as articles made from seal fur skins;

Justification

By changing the definition of seal products, the Inuit exception will then apply to import, export and Intra-EU trade.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – paragraph 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. 'import' means any entry of goods into the customs territory of the Community, with the exception of imports that:

4. 'import' means any entry of goods into the customs territory of the Community, with the exception of imports that

(i) are of an occasional nature, and

 

(ii) consist exclusively of goods for the personal use of the travellers or their families;

consist exclusively of goods for the personal use of the travellers or their families; the nature and quantity of such goods should not be such as might indicate they are being imported for commercial reasons.

Justification

This amendment clarifies that imports for personal use must be of a non-commercial quantity and nature. This is necessary to ensure that a loophole is not created by allowing trade for personal use without any restrictions as to quantity or nature of the products involved.

Amendment  17

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

7. 'applicants requesting a derogation' mean countries, including Member States, requesting a derogation under Article 5 of this Regulation on whose territory or under whose jurisdiction the seals from which seals products are made, have been killed and skinned as well as the country under whose jurisdiction fall the persons who kill and skin seals where the killing and skinning take place on the territory of another country. When adopting the implementing measures referred to in Article 5(5), the Commission will decide, in line with the objectives of this Regulation, under which conditions entities other than countries should be included.

deleted

Justification

The deletion of this paragraph is a logical consequence of the deletion of possible derogations to the Regulation. Cf. Justification of article 4 and following.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7a. 'hunts traditionally conducted' means the non-commercial hunting of seals traditionally undertaken by Inuit communities.

Justification

This new definition clarifies the exemption for Inuit communities, stipulated in article 3, paragraph 2.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7b. 'subsistence purposes' means the customary and traditional uses by Inuit communities of seal products for direct personal or family consumption as food, shelter, fuel, clothing, tools; for the making and selling of handicraft articles out of non-edible by-products taken from seals for personal or family consumption; and for the exchange of seals or their parts if the exchange is of a limited and non-commercial nature, or for sharing for personal or family consumption.

Justification

This new definition clarfies the exemption for Inuit communities, stipulated in article 3, paragraph 2 and is in line with the USA Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Amendment  20

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to seal products resulting from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities and which contribute to their subsistence.

2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to seal products resulting from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities for subsistence purposes.

Justification

The wording "for subsistence purposes" is more precise than the wording of the proposal and is also in line with the wording of the USA Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 4

deleted

Conditions of placing on the market, import, transit and export

 

1. Notwithstanding Article 3(1), the placing on the market, and the import in, transit through, or export from, the Community of seal products shall be allowed where the following conditions are met:

 

(a) they have been obtained from seals killed and skinned in a country where, or by persons to whom, adequate legislative provisions or other requirements apply ensuring effectively that seals are killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and any other form of suffering;

 

(b) the legislative provisions or other requirements referred to in point (a) are effectively enforced by the relevant authorities;

 

(c) an appropriate scheme is in place whereby seal products, including seal skins and other raw materials derived from seals used to produce seal products, are certified as coming from seals to which the conditions laid down in points (a) and (b) apply, and

 

(d) the fulfilment of the conditions laid down in points (a), (b) and (c) is evidenced by:

 

(i) a certificate, and

 

(ii) a label or marking, where a certificate does not suffice to ensure the proper enforcement of this Regulation,

 

in accordance with Articles 6 and 7.

 

2. Member States shall not impede the placing on the market, import and export of seal products which comply with the provisions of this Regulation.

 

Justification

Seal hunts occur in remote, widespread and poorly accessible areas, under extreme weather conditions and on unstable ice. Each year independent observers witness that these specific conditions form a severe obstacle to comply with the so-called three-step procedure (stunning, checking, bleeding). The EFSA opinion confirms this. Moreover, the same unverifiable conditions make effective monitoring and enforcement by the responsible authorities virtually impossible. The fact that those same authorities should provide certificates and labels would raise a lot of practical problems and would fail to meet the requirements asked for by European citizens and the European Parliament. The rapporteur therefore considers the Commission's proposal unenforceable and argues that the European public moral can only be sufficiently protected by a full ban on trade in seal products with a limited exemption for Inuit communities, in line with the Parliament's request of 2006. Therfore, the provisions for derogations are deleted.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 5

deleted

Derogations

 

1. Applicants requesting a derogation which demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the conditions provided for in Article 4(1) are met shall be granted a derogation.

 

2. The Commission shall appraise the fulfilment of the conditions laid down in point (a) of Article 4(1) on the basis of the criteria set out in Annex II.

 

3. Derogations granted pursuant to paragraph 1 shall be suspended or revoked where any of the conditions referred to in that paragraph would cease to be met.

 

4. The Commission shall grant derogations, and decide on suspension or revocation thereof, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 9(2).

 

5. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article, such as measures on the applications to be submitted to the Commission, including evidentiary requirements, in order to obtain a derogation. In doing so, the Commission shall take into consideration the different conditions which may occur in the territories of different countries.

 

Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Justification

Cf. Justification of article 4.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a regulation

Article 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 6

deleted

Certificates

 

1. Certificates referred to in Article 4(1)(d)(i) shall fulfil the following minimum conditions:

 

(a) they shall display all relevant information necessary to attest that the seal product or products they refer to meet the condition laid down in Article 4(1)(c); and

 

(b) they shall be validated by an independent body or public authority attesting the accuracy of the information displayed therein.

 

2. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article. It may, in particular, specify the information to be displayed and the evidentiary requirements to be submitted to attest that the condition laid down in point (b) of paragraph 1 is met.

 

Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Justification

Cf. Justification of articles 4 and 5. As stipulated in article 3, paragraph 3 the Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement the exemption for the Inuit Communities, including evidentiary requirements relating to the proof of the origin of Inuit seal products.

Amendment  24

Proposal for a regulation

Article 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 7

deleted

Labelling and marking

 

1. The label or marking referred to in Article 4(1)(d)(ii) shall be affixed in an intelligible, indelible and visible manner.

 

2. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article, such as measures specifying the conditions which marking and label shall meet and the circumstances under which they shall be affixed. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Justification

Cf. Justification of articles 4, 5 and 6.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a regulation

Article 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 8

deleted

Amendments to the Annexes

 

The Commission may amend the annexes. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this regulation, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9(3).

 

Justification

The proposed deletion of the Annexes makes this article superfluous.

Amendment  26

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 4 and Article 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.

deleted

Justification

Only Article 5(4) referred to article 9(2). Since article 5(4) has been deleted, article 9(2) becomes superfluous.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a regulation

Article 11 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Member States shall send every five years to the Commission a report outlining the actions taken to enforce this Regulation.

1. Member States shall send within three years after the entry into force of this Regulation and thereafter every five years to the Commission a report outlining the actions taken to enforce this Regulation.

Justification

It seems too long to only receive the first report after 5 years.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a regulation

Article 11 - paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. On the basis of the reports referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Regulation within twelve months of the end of the five-year reporting period concerned.

2. On the basis of the reports referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Regulation within twelve months of the end of every reporting period concerned.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a regulation

Annex I

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

ANNEX I

deleted

Species of Pinnipeds referred to in Article 2

 

1. Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus;

 

2. Callorhinus ursinus;

 

3. Cystophora cristata;

 

4. Erignathus barbatus;

 

5. Eumetopias jubatus;

 

6. Halichoerus grypus;

 

7. Histrophoca fasciata;

 

8. Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus;

 

9. Odobenus rosmarus divergens;

 

10. Pagophilus groenlandicus;

 

11. Phoca largha;

 

12. Phoca vitulina;

 

13. Phoca vitulina richardii;

 

14. Pusa caspica;

 

15. Pusa hispida;

 

16. Pusa sibirica;

 

17. Zalophus californianus.

 

Justification

In line with the amendment on article 2, paragraph 1, this regulation shall apply to all species of Pinnipeds. Annex I is hence superfluous.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

ANNEX II

deleted

Criteria for appraising the adequacy of the legislative provisions and other requirements in force referred to in Article 5(2)

 

1. ANIMAL WELFARE PRINCIPLES:

 

Animal welfare principles are specified in the applicable legislation or other requirements.

 

2. HUNTING TOOLS:

 

The characteristics of the weapons used to kill seal are specified. It is made explicit in the legislation or other requirements which weapons are allowed for stunning and/or killing pups and which are allowed for stunning and/or killing adult seals.

 

3. VERIFYING INSENSIBILITY AND DEATH BY USING APPROPRIATE MONITORING METHODS:

 

Requirements are specifically outlined for using appropriate monitoring methods and thereby oblige the hunter to verify that the seal is irrevocably unconscious before bleeding it out and before continuing to the next seal.

 

4. BLEEDING-OUT OF STUNNED ANIMALS:

 

Bleeding-out of all animals is required directly following adequate stunning, that is, before proceeding to stun another seal.

 

5. HUNTING CONDITIONS:

 

Requirements are specified as to secure that the seal and/or the hunter is sufficiently stable and that the target can be properly visualised. Other factors, relevant for the hunt in question, are also regulated.

 

6. TRAINING OF HUNTERS:

 

A defined level of knowledge and ability of the hunter regarding seal biology, hunting methods and the "three-step" procedure, hereunder practical use of the hunting tools, such as shooting tests are required. The “three-step” procedure is a method of effective hitting/shooting, effective monitoring (by application of the blink reflex or skull palpation that the animal is irreversibly unconscious or dead), and effective bleeding-out in order to ensure that a seal is killed without avoidable pain, distress and suffering.

 

7. INDEPENDENT MONITORING:

 

A system for monitoring and observation of the hunt, securing regular supervision of the hunt and independence of the inspectors is provided for.

 

8. ABILITY OF THIRD PARTY TO MONITOR:

 

Third party monitoring of the hunt is possible, with a minimum of administrative or logistic barriers.

 

9. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:

 

Clear requirements for reporting targeting both hunters and inspectors are provided for, which cover where and when animals are killed and which weapons and ammunition are used. The range of relevant environmental factors is also to be reported.

 

10. SANCTIONS AND COMPLIANCE:

 

Statistical information on the hunt, instances of non-compliance with the applicable requirements and related enforcement actions is compiled and systemised.

 

Justification

Since the provision for possible derogations has been deleted, there is no need for establishing criteria for appraising the adequacy of legislative provisions and other requirements.

Cf. Justification of article 4 and following

PROCEDURE

Title

Trade in seal products

References

COM(2008)0469 – C6-0295/2008 – 2008/0160(COD)

Committee responsible

IMCO

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

ENVI

4.9.2008

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Frieda Brepoels

1.10.2008

 

 

Discussed in committee

1.12.2008

 

 

 

Date adopted

22.1.2009

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

43

0

1

Members present for the final vote

Adamos Adamou, Georgs Andrejevs, Liam Aylward, John Bowis, Frieda Brepoels, Martin Callanan, Dorette Corbey, Magor Imre Csibi, Chris Davies, Avril Doyle, Mojca Drčar Murko, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Anne Ferreira, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Elisabetta Gardini, Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines, Satu Hassi, Jens Holm, Marie Anne Isler Béguin, Caroline Jackson, Dan Jørgensen, Christa Klaß, Urszula Krupa, Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, Peter Liese, Jules Maaten, Linda McAvan, Riitta Myller, Miroslav Ouzký, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Guido Sacconi, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Amalia Sartori, Richard Seeber, Bogusław Sonik, María Sornosa Martínez, Thomas Ulmer, Anja Weisgerber, Glenis Willmott

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Iles Braghetto, Philip Bushill-Matthews


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (18.2.2009)

for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning trade in seal products

(COM(2008)0469 – C6-0295/2008 – 2008/0160(COD))

Rapporteur: Véronique Mathieu

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

This proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council is intended to ban the placing on the market and the import in, transit through, and export from the Community of seal products. Trade in those products would nevertheless still be authorised when certain conditions concerning the method whereby seals are killed are met, in accordance with the rules on animal welfare. The proposal excludes Inuit communities from the scope of the regulation.

Since two Member States have already taken measures to implement a ban of this type, and faced with the risk of fragmentation of the European market in seal products, the Commission has decided to take action, particularly as there has been an outcry from a section of the public over the way in which these animals were being killed.

Since the Treaties do not award the Community competence over the welfare of wild animals and the Community legislator has no general powers to regulate hunting, the Commission has chosen to circumvent that absence of a legal basis by limiting its action to the commercial facet. To do this, it is therefore proposing a total ban coupled with strict derogations.

The proposal begs several questions. First of all, it must be stressed that the study by EFSA, which the Commission takes as a basis for scientific caution, is open to many different interpretations by both defenders and opponents of seal hunting. Moreover, the study repeatedly emphasises that ‘little information was found that could be considered scientifically valid, robust and objective’ and that ‘there are only a very limited number of studies’ that can be used.

Beyond that consideration, it is the global nature of the ban which poses a real problem. What is it, in fact, that animal welfare NGOs are protesting against if not commercial hunting conducted on a large scale with reference to the hunting area and the number of animals killed? It is the pictures of the serial slaughter of thousands of animals that have brought an outcry from sections of the public and which are behind the ban introduced by some Member States. In the eyes of these NGOs, the quest for productivity in commercial hunting is bound to result in abuses.

But what do we see? The Commission proposal prohibits the marketing of any products derived from seal hunting, regardless of numbers – be it 100 or 300 000 seals killed, regardless of scale – be it a few square kilometres or thousands, regardless of motive – be it sale or the elimination of pests, and regardless of form – be it occasional hunting or hunting by a professional team. The Commission goes as far as envisaging a ban on the making available of seals to third parties free of charge, meaning that even sending samples to research laboratories would be prohibited!

By not applying the blanket ban solely to commercial hunting and by not providing a definition of commercial hunting, the Commission proposal is, in some instances, liable to have the opposite effect to the one sought, which is to reduce animal suffering.

Indeed, in some cases, seals are not hunted for commercial purposes but simply to eliminate them, since they are viewed as pests that endanger fish stocks. In such cases, even direct consumption is a secondary consideration. If the regulation were to be applied in its current form, hunters would therefore no longer be able to derive any financial benefit, no matter how small, from their activities. That ban on trade would be liable to lead to an increase in poaching and to hunters shooting seals without caring which part of the body had been hit or checking whether the animal was dead or not.

Moreover, in the absence of any regulation of seal populations, what would happen if seals, after moving southwards owing to global warming, moved into areas where they constituted a clear threat to the survival of other species? A blanket ban on trade would solely permit their killing. That would run contrary to every measure in connection with the rational use of natural resources, which advises that maximum possible use should be made of an animal after it has been killed.

It would therefore be appropriate to draw a distinction between large-scale commercial hunting and occasional hunting which, by definition, can only involve a limited number of animals. That objective could easily be achieved by means of a precise definition of commercial hunting and the specific identification of products deriving from occasional hunting, which could only be marketed at a local or regional level.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a regulation

Citation 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Having regard to the declaration of the European Parliament of 26 September 2006 on banning seal products in the European Union1,

 

1 OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 194.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) Seals are animals that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering.

(1) Seals are animals that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering. The importation into Member States for commercial purposes of skins of certain seal pups (harp seal and hooded seal pups) and products derived therefrom is prohibited1.

 

_______

1 Council Directive 83/129/EEC of 28 March 1983 concerning the importation into Member States of skins of certain seal pups and products derived therefrom (OJ L 91, 9.4.1983, p. 30).

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) Seals are hunted within and outside the Community and used for obtaining products and articles, such as meat, oil, blubber, fur skins and articles made therefrom, which are sold commercially on different markets, including the Community.

(2) Commercial seal hunting is conducted within and outside the Community to obtain products and articles, such as meat, oil, blubber, fur skins and articles made therefrom, which are sold commercially on different markets, including the Community market.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2a) The welfare of wild animals and the regulation of, and arrangements applicable to, hunting, do not fall within the competence of the European Union, and there is therefore no legal basis devoted to them in the Treaties.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) The hunting of seals has led to expressions of serious concerns by members of the public, governments as well as the European Parliament sensitive to animal welfare considerations since there are indications that seals may not be killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering. The European Food Safety Authority concluded, in its scientific opinion on the Animal Welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals, that it is possible to kill seals rapidly and effectively without causing them avoidable pain or distress, whilst also reporting that in practice, effective and humane killing does not always happen.

(3) Although the welfare of wild animals and the conditions governing hunting do not fall within the competence of the European Union, some aspects of commercial seal hunting, and in particular the clubbing of young seals with bludgeons or hakapiks, have led to expressions of serious concerns by a section of the public, governments as well as the European Parliament, sensitive to animal welfare considerations, since there are indications that seals may not be killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering. The European Food Safety Authority concluded, in its scientific opinion on the Animal Welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals, that it is possible to kill seals rapidly and effectively without causing them avoidable pain or distress, whilst also reporting that in practice, effective and humane killing does not always happen.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) To eliminate the present fragmentation of the internal market, there is a need to provide for harmonised rules while taking into account animal welfare considerations. A ban on placing seal products on the market is appropriate to that effect.

(6) To eliminate the present fragmentation of the internal market and respond to the concerns of a section of the public over certain forms of killing, there is a need to provide for harmonised rules. A ban on placing on the market commercially hunted seal products is appropriate to achieve those objectives.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 10

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing avoidable pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

(10) The various prohibitions provided for by this Regulation should respond to the animal welfare concerns expressed by members of the public as to the placing on the Community market, including further to imports from third countries, of seal products obtained from seals that might not have been killed and skinned without causing pain, distress and other forms of suffering.

Justification

The removal of the word “avoidable” is warranted since all the evidence indicates that EC citizens are concerned about the suffering caused by the hunting of seals, not only suffering which is avoidable. Unavoidable suffering may be very considerable given the term is not quantifiable.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 11 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(11a) In some countries, seals are viewed as pests which occasion substantial damage to fish stocks. A blanket ban on marketing would be liable to have only a minor impact on the number of animals killed but might, on the other hand, encourage poaching and also result in their being killed in a manner incompatible with animal welfare considerations since there would no longer be any incentive to kill the animals in an appropriate manner.

Justification

In some regions, the sole aim of seal hunting is to eliminate animals considered to be pests. Issues in connection with their marketing are therefore secondary and will not result in a decrease in the number of animals killed. The animals might, on the other hand, be killed in a totally different manner, or in other words without taking into account their suffering, were financial incentives to disappear.

Amendment 9

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13) The fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit communities traditionally engaged in the hunting of seals as a means to ensure their subsistence should not be adversely affected. The hunt is an integrated part of the culture and the identity of the members of the Inuit society. It represents a source of income and contributes to the subsistence of the hunter. Therefore, seal products deriving from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities and which contribute to their subsistence should not be covered by the prohibitions provided for in this Regulation.

(13) The fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit communities and of communities dependent on artisanal fishing engaged, on a small scale as regards the number of animals killed, in the hunting of seals as a means to ensure their subsistence, to control pest populations or to preserve fish stocks, should not be adversely affected. The hunt is an integrated part of the culture and the identity of the members of the Inuit society and is, as such, protected by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples.

The hunt can represent a source of income, contribute to the subsistence of the hunter and help maintain a balance between species. Therefore, seal products deriving from such hunts and used for religious purposes, direct consumption, payment-free exchanges or commercial purposes at a local or regional level should not be covered by the prohibitions provided for in this Regulation.

Justification

Inuit communities are not the only ones to view seal hunting as a not insubstantial source of income. The members of certain small coastal communities dependent on fishing also carry on this type of hunting on a very small scale in order to guarantee and preserve their income by protecting their fish stocks against predators.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 16

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(16) In particular, the Commission should be empowered to adopt all measures necessary to ensure that procedures are in place allowing applications for derogation to the trade prohibitions set out in this Regulation to be lodged and handled in an efficient manner, as well as to ensure the proper implementation of the provisions of this Regulation concerning certification schemes and labelling and marking. Since those measures are of a general scope and are designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, inter alia, by supplementing it with new non-essential elements, they must be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny provided for in Article 5a of Decision 1999/468/EC. The Commission should also be empowered to decide on derogations to trade prohibitions under this Regulation, suspension or revocation thereof. Since those measures are adopted to ensure the management of the scheme provided for in this Regulation and apply it in individual cases, they must be adopted in accordance with the management procedure provided for in Article 4 of Decision 1999/468/EC.

(16) In particular, the Commission should be empowered to adopt all measures necessary to ensure that procedures are in place allowing applications for derogation to the trade prohibitions set out in this Regulation to be lodged and handled in an efficient manner, as well as to ensure the proper implementation of the provisions of this Regulation concerning certification schemes and labelling and marking, and particularly the requirements on proof of the origin of seal products. Since those measures are of a general scope and are designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, inter alia, by supplementing it with new non-essential elements, they must be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny provided for in Article 5a of Decision 1999/468/EC. The Commission should also be empowered to decide on derogations to trade prohibitions under this Regulation, suspension or revocation thereof. Since those measures are adopted to ensure the management of the scheme provided for in this Regulation and apply it in individual cases, they must be adopted in accordance with the management procedure provided for in Article 4 of Decision 1999/468/EC.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a regulation

Article 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

This Regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the placing on the market and the import in, transit through, or export from, the European Community of seal products.

This Regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the placing on the market and the import in, transit through, or export from, the European Community of commercially hunted seal products. This Regulation does not relate to the conditions governing, or the arrangements applicable to, other forms of hunting which are the competence of the national authorities.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. 'seal product' means all products, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or obtained from seals, including meat, oil, blubber, and raw fur skins and fur skins, tanned or dressed, including fur skins assembled in plates, crosses and similar forms as well as articles made from seal fur skins;

2. 'seal product' means all products, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or obtained from seals, including meat, oil, blubber, organs, and raw fur skins and fur skins, tanned or dressed, including fur skins assembled in plates, crosses and similar forms as well as articles made from seal fur skins;

Justification

By changing the definition of seal products, the Inuit exception will then apply to import, export and intra-EU trade.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2a. ‘commercial hunting’ means organised hunting, on a wide scale with reference to the hunting area and/or the number of animals killed, by people paid to do this in order to supply seal product processing enterprises on a regular and continuous basis for commercial purposes;

Amendment  14

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. 'placing on the market' means introducing onto the Community market, thereby making available to third parties, whether in exchange for payment or not;

3. ‘placing on the market’ means introducing onto the Community market, thereby making available to third parties, in exchange for payment;

Justification

The proposal goes far too far since it prevents not just marketing but also any other transfer (‘making available’), even when this is without payment. It would thus prohibit the sending of samples to research laboratories.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 6 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

6a. 'Inuit' means indigenous members of the Inuit homeland - i.e. those Arctic and subarctic areas where, presently or traditionally, Inuit have Aboriginal rights and interests - recognised by Inuit as being of their people and shall include Inupiat, Yupik (Alaska), Inuit, Inuvialuit (Canada), Kalaallit (Greenland) and Yupik (Russia);

Justification

Inuit should be defined according to the definition in Article 1 point 2 of the ILO Convention 169/1989 and Articles 6 and 7 of the ICC Charter.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7a. ‘hunts traditionally conducted’ means types of seal hunt traditionally conducted by Inuit communities for non-commercial purposes or limited exclusively to the local level;

Amendment  17

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – point 7 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7b. ‘contribute to subsistence’ means the customary and traditional use of seal products, by Inuit communities or communities dependent on artisanal fishing, reserved for direct individual or family consumption, for food, in housing, or for the production of fuels, clothing, tools or craft items, or the sale or trading at a local or regional level of seals or seal parts.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to seal products resulting from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities and which contribute to their subsistence.

2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to seal products resulting from the limited numbers of hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities and which ensure their subsistence or by communities dependent on artisanal fishing and which contribute to their subsistence or to the regulated and controlled management of seal populations with a view to mitigating the damage occasioned to fish stocks, in accordance with a national plan for maintaining the balance of natural resources and protecting biodiversity.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point d - sub-point i

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

i) a certificate, and

i) a certificate indicating the day, month and year, and the region and country in which, the animal was killed and

Amendment  20

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point d - subparagraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

It must be possible for the products referred to in Article 3(2) to be clearly identified, in the event of their marketing, by means of a label issued by the competent national authorities indicating the year and place of killing and, where applicable, the name or means of identification of the hunter or hunt manager.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 5 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

5. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article, such as measures on the applications to be submitted to the Commission, including evidentiary requirements, in order to obtain a derogation. In doing so, the Commission shall take into consideration the different conditions which may occur in the territories of different countries.

5. The Commission shall adopt all measures necessary to implement this Article, such as measures on the applications to be submitted to the Commission, including evidentiary requirements, in order to obtain a derogation. In doing so, the Commission shall take into consideration the different conditions which may occur in the territories of different countries and ensure that those measures do not result in a lowering in the level of animal welfare already achieved in those countries.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 5 – subparagraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

The Commission shall announce its decision within three months of receiving the application. Any rejection of an application shall be duly justified. The Commission shall also establish the conditions in which applicants can appeal against a negative decision and the deadline for lodging that appeal.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. The Commission shall be assisted by the Committee established by Article 18(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97.

1. The Commission shall be assisted by the Committee established by Article 18(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97, in which the representatives of the third countries shall participate as observers.

Amendment  24

Proposal for a regulation

Article 11 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Member States shall send every five years to the Commission a report outlining the actions taken to enforce this Regulation.

 

1. Member States shall send every five years to the Commission a report outlining the actions taken to enforce this Regulation and noting its economic and social implications and impact on seal welfare, particularly with reference to the Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a regulation

Article 11 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. On the basis of the reports referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Regulation within twelve months of the end of the five-year reporting period concerned.

2. On the basis of the reports referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application and implications of this Regulation within twelve months of the end of the five-year reporting period concerned.

Amendment  26

Proposal for a regulation

Article 12 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

This Regulation shall enter into force on the 20th day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall enter into force six months after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a regulation

Article 12 – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Articles 3 and 4 shall apply 6 months after the date of entry into force of the Regulation unless the implementing measures referred to in Articles 3(3), 5(5), 6(2) and 7(2) are not in force on that date, in which case they shall apply on the day following the entry into force of those implementing measures.

Articles 3 and 4 shall apply 24 months after the date of entry into force of the Regulation unless the implementing measures referred to in Articles 3(3), 5(5), 6(2) and 7(2) are not in force on that date, in which case they shall apply on the day following the entry into force of those implementing measures.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The characteristics of the weapons used to kill seal are specified. It is made explicit in the legislation or other requirements which weapons are allowed for stunning and/or killing pups and which are allowed for stunning and/or killing adult seals.

The characteristics of the weapons and munitions used to kill seal are specified. It is made explicit in the legislation or other requirements which weapons and munitions are allowed for the shooting and, where necessary, stunning with a view to killing, of seals, as a function of their species and age category.

Justification

The reference to seal pups is superfluous, since the importation of seal pup skins and products into the EU for commercial purposes has been banned since 1983. Moreover, it should be specified that an animal must only be killed using stunning if it has not died after being shot.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Requirements are specifically outlined for using appropriate monitoring methods and thereby oblige the hunter to verify that the seal is irrevocably unconscious before bleeding it out and before continuing to the next seal.

Requirements are specifically outlined for using appropriate monitoring methods and thereby oblige a hunter to verify as quickly as possible and as a matter of priority that the seal is dead or irrevocably unconscious before bleeding it out.

Justification

In a commercial hunting context, the person shooting the seal should not be the same person who verifies whether the animal is dead as there is a risk of too much time elapsing between shooting and verification, when the most important thing following shooting is to ensure as swiftly as possible that the animal is dead. If the sequence proposed by the Commission were to be followed, a slain animal would have to be bled out immediately after verifying that it was dead, when another animal might be in its death throes whilst the hunter went about that task.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Bleeding-out of all animals is required directly following adequate stunning, that is, before proceeding to stun another seal.

Bleeding-out of all animals must be performed as quickly as possible following verification that the animal is dead or irrevocably unconscious.

Amendment  31

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Requirements are specified as to secure that the seal and/or the hunter is sufficiently stable and that the target can be properly visualised. Other factors, relevant for the hunt in question, are also regulated.

The conditions governing hunting are covered by national rules that must nevertheless set out requirements specified as to secure that shooting is performed in favourable conditions and that the target can be properly visualised.

Amendment  32

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

A defined level of knowledge and ability of the hunter regarding seal biology, hunting methods and the "three-step" procedure, hereunder practical use of the hunting tools, such as shooting tests are required. The “three-step” procedure is a method of effective hitting/shooting, effective monitoring (by application of the blink reflex or skull palpation that the animal is irreversibly unconscious or dead), and effective bleeding-out in order to ensure that a seal is killed without avoidable pain, distress and suffering.

 

A sound level of knowledge and ability of the hunter regarding seal biology, hunting methods and the ‘three-step’ procedure hereunder, including the practical use and knowledge of hunting tools and shooting and ballistics techniques in line with the practices laid down in national rules, are required. The “three-step” procedure is a method of effective hitting/shooting, effective monitoring, i.e. application of the blink reflex or skull palpation in order to ascertain that the animal is irreversibly unconscious or dead and where necessary immediate stunning of the animal in an appropriate manner, and effective bleeding-out in order to ensure that a seal is killed without avoidable pain, distress and suffering.

Justification

The killing technique employed must be shooting with a rifle using the appropriate munitions, resulting in the majority of cases in the immediate death of the animal. Stunning should only be resorted to if the bullet has not killed the animal, and only to end its suffering.

Amendment  33

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 7 – heading

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Independent monitoring:

Independent monitoring and observation:

Amendment  34

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

A system for monitoring and observation of the hunt, securing regular supervision of the hunt and independence of the inspectors is provided for.

A system for monitoring and observation of the hunt, securing regular supervision of the hunt and independence of the inspectors is provided for. That monitoring may be performed by the police or coastguard service.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 8 – heading

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

8. ABILITY OF THIRD PARTY TO MONITOR:

8. ABILITY OF THIRD PARTY TO OBSERVE:

Amendment  36

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Third party monitoring of the hunt is possible, with a minimum of administrative or logistic barriers.

Third party observation of the hunt is possible, with a minimum of administrative or logistic barriers. The conditions governing observation shall be laid down by national regulations. Third party participation must not, however, hinder or engender any risk or additional costs for hunters.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Clear requirements for reporting targeting both hunters and inspectors are provided for, which cover where and when animals are killed and which weapons and ammunition are used. The range of relevant environmental factors is also to be reported.

Clear requirements for reporting targeting both hunters and inspectors are provided for.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a regulation

Annex II – point 10

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Statistical information on the hunt, instances of non-compliance with the applicable requirements and related enforcement actions is compiled and systemised.

Statistical information on the hunt, instances of non-compliance with the applicable requirements and related enforcement actions, and on the impact of this Regulation on seal hunting, is compiled and systemised.

PROCEDURE

Title

Trade in seal products

References

COM(2008)0469 – C6-0295/2008 – 2008/0160(COD)

Committee responsible

IMCO

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

AGRI

4.12.2008

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Véronique Mathieu

9.9.2008

 

 

Discussed in committee

10.11.2008

19.1.2009

17.2.2009

 

Date adopted

17.2.2009

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

5

1

Members present for the final vote

Vincenzo Aita, Niels Busk, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Albert Dess, Constantin Dumitriu, Michl Ebner, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Lutz Goepel, Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf, Esther Herranz García, Lily Jacobs, Elisabeth Jeggle, Heinz Kindermann, Vincenzo Lavarra, Stéphane Le Foll, Véronique Mathieu, Mairead McGuinness, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, María Isabel Salinas García, Sebastiano Sanzarello, Agnes Schierhuber, Willem Schuth, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Alyn Smith, Petya Stavreva, Donato Tommaso Veraldi

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Katerina Batzeli, Ilda Figueiredo, Béla Glattfelder, Wiesław Stefan Kuc, Astrid Lulling, Maria Petre, Markus Pieper, Struan Stevenson, Vladimír Železný

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Hélène Goudin, Ewa Tomaszewska, Peter Šťastný


PROCEDURE

Title

Trade in seal products

References

COM(2008)0469 – C6-0295/2008 – 2008/0160(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

23.7.2008

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

4.12.2008

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

INTA

4.9.2008

ENVI

4.9.2008

AGRI

4.12.2008

PECH

4.9.2008

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

PECH

8.9.2008

INTA

2.2.2009

 

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

Diana Wallis

7.10.2008

 

 

Discussed in committee

10.11.2008

21.1.2009

11.2.2009

 

Date adopted

2.3.2009

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

25

7

0

Members present for the final vote

Gabriela Creţu, Mia De Vits, Janelly Fourtou, Evelyne Gebhardt, Hélène Goudin, Martí Grau i Segú, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Edit Herczog, Pierre Jonckheer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Kurt Lechner, Toine Manders, Catiuscia Marini, Arlene McCarthy, Nickolay Mladenov, Bill Newton Dunn, Karin Riis-Jørgensen, Giovanni Rivera, Heide Rühle, Christel Schaldemose, Marianne Thyssen, Jacques Toubon

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Jan Cremers, Joel Hasse Ferreira, Manuel Medina Ortega, Diana Wallis

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Richard Corbett, Ingeborg Gräßle, Jörg Leichtfried, Véronique Mathieu, Peter Skinner

Last updated: 19 March 2009Legal notice