Victory! India Bans Seal Fur

As Canada begins its annual cruel seal hunt, India just offered the species a glimmer of hope with the news that it will ban the import of seal skins and fur.

Animal advocates from around the world have been working for decades to shut down Canada’s commercial seal hunt, where young seals are shot or bludgeoned to death on the ice floes every year during what has become the largest slaughter of marine mammals on earth.

Despite ongoing pressure to end it, the government has continued to prop this dying industry up and create new markets for its seal products in nations that still allow imports, but now India won’t be one of them.

According to the Humane Society International (HSI), which has been campaigning for seals for years with People for Animals in an effort to get India’s government to take a “moral stand” on this issue, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has banned the import of seal skins.

Victory! After years of exhaustive campaigning by Humane Society International – India and People for Animals, a…

Posted by Humane Society International on Wednesday, April 4, 2018

“We are delighted that our appeal to the Government of India to take a stand against this cruelty has produced a result after 4 long years. With dwindling world markets for seal products, the Canadian sealing industry is counting on countries like India and China to import the seal fur, oil and meat that other nations refuse to buy and I am glad that India has chosen compassion over cruelty. We are certain that this choice will be the last nail in the coffin for the sealing industry,” said N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India.

India now joins more than three dozen other countries that have banned the trade in seal skins and other products, including the U.S., Mexico, Russia, Taiwan and 28 member nations of the European Union. Even when bans were challenged, they were twice upheld by the World Trade Organization, which affirmed countries’ rights to ban products that people believe are cruel or unsustainable.

While this is a major victory, the fight to end the commercial seal hunt is still far from over. Despite dwindling markets and declining prices for pelts, this week the Canadian Sealers Association called for an increase in the hunt this year, increased licenses and potential cull.

Hopefully none of that will happen. Not only because this industry is inherently cruel, but because seals are now facing additional pressure from climate change. Seals are ice-dependent, and they need enough of it to give birth, nurse and care for their young, but they’re losing it, and the problem is only expected to get worse as waters warm.

With one less major potential market and continued public pressure, the government is going to have to soon accept that this industry is dying, and begin working to transition sealers into other lines of work, instead of continuing to waste time and money subsidizing it.

For more on how to help end the hunt, check out Humane Society International.

Photo credit: thinkstock

219 comments

Chad A
Chad Anderson7 days ago

Thank you!

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Leo C
Leo Custer8 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Amanda M
Amanda M8 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M8 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Marija M
Marija M8 days ago

Thank you India.
Pat P. - very interesting comment.

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Pat P
Pat P8 days ago

How can Canada continue to justify having the largest slaughter of marine animals on earth?! I would have thought that shooting or bludgeoning to death baby seals would be against Trudeau's scruples, if he really had them. Although he may make some intelligent sound decisions, there is NO way he can rationalize this horror! If he was really cared about these precious creatures, he would not allow major business to dictate this trade. The country won't fail, if he took a stand and banned it for all citizens/export less a small portion for the indigenous needs for survival, and only, if done humanely. I don't believe most of the Canadians want this horror to continue. It's the government, big business and money, as usual.

Although it is encouraging news to hear of India's decision, China will not likely follow suit.

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janis keller
janis keller8 days ago

This makes my day!

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Sarah Grayce P
Sarah Grayce P8 days ago

Good news. Seals are so cute.

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Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole H8 days ago

@ Julie D : There is never ONLY 1 party to blame. First here is the Canadian Government. Then the people earning billions on the trade of these furs. All countries importing seal fur, oil and meat. China on top. And last but not least : all the stupid people who buy these products.

@ Lenore K : fully agree with yr comments and thanks for reminding us of this aspect. Indigenous should be allowed to obtain a yearly renewable permit to kill a certain number of seals because they effectively need the fur, oil and meat to survive. Same applies for the very limited killing of bears and other wildlife animals for people living for instance in Alaska, Siberia, etc.. This is a matter of live of death. Has nothing to do with the "luxury" massive killing for products that people do not need and the use of which is allegedly healthy or medicinal. These are TWO totally different things.

@ Helene L. FANTASTIC COMMENT !! thanks. Not ALL Canadians are "guilty". Only a slight percentage.... As is the case everywhere : Governments have to take their responsibilities, in Alaska, in the U.S., in China, aso.. aso..

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Nicole H
Nicole H9 days ago

A huge thanks to the Indian Government. And also to all the people that have been fighting for this ban. Never give in or give up. Results will finally be obtained. However, I have my doubts as far as China is concerned. If there is ONE nation in the world that is the Nr. 1 in causing poaching / trafficking of endangered species to the top it is CHINA. From abalones, over lions, elephants, etc.. I think the number of animals they bring to the brink of extinction is endless. CHINA... Please see the reality. Your people are ruining this planet ?? Stop your barbarism. NOW and for ever and ever. The seals have so much to suffer from global warming. Alaska, you deserve to be boycotted to allow this cruel massa murdering.

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