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Parliamentary questions
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3 February 2015
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-009544/2014

Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009(1) was adopted in reply to moral concerns of EU citizens with regard to animal welfare aspects related to seal hunts. Since it was shown that animal welfare concerns cannot be sufficiently met in the special circumstances in which the seal hunts take place, the EU has banned the placing of seal products on the Union's market.

The regulation was challenged before the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Following WTO rulings and recommendations in the EC-Seal Products case, the maritime resource management exception and the Inuit exception were found to amount to arbitrary and unjustifiable discrimination. Consequently, the regulation will need to be revised in order for the EU to be in compliance with WTO rules.

While the EU is committed to the principle of sustainable use, as enshrined in the Convention on Biological Diversity, there are other principles, also enshrined in (international) law to which it is equally committed, including those relating to animal welfare and non-discriminatory international trade. The revision of the EU seal regime, which is yet to be proposed by the Commission, will have to aim at bringing all these principles together while complying with the ruling issued by the WTO.

(1)OJ L 286, 31.10.2009, p. 36‐39.

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