EU bans seal products despite hunting drive
Published 09/04/2010 | 05:00
THE European Union has introduced a ban on seal products after spending more than £260,000 (€297,000) on promoting the seal hunting industry, including a cookbook with a recipe for seal wellington.
Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian hunters who cull seals legally for conservation reasons are angry that they must now bury or burn the bodies because of an EU ban agreed last year.
Under the regulations, all commercial trade in seal-based products, ranging from valuable skins, meat and oil, which is used in Omega-3 capsules, is forbidden.
"Sweden, and the EU, has tried to ban people from smoking but it doesn't ban people from selling or buying tobacco," said Ake Granstrom, of the Swedish Association For Hunting and Wildlife Management.
"Why can't we market what we are allowed to hunt? It is crazy.
"We want to make use of the animals we kill. Otherwise it is a complete waste of a good resource."
The ban means that an EU-funded cookbook, compiled by Mr Granstrom and aimed at a pre-prohibition promotion of "modern, trendy seal cuisine", is useless to the taxpayers who funded it. The book, 'Sal Hylje Sel', was named after the three words for "seal" in Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian.
It is now to be published in Canada because its recipes are effectively outlawed in Europe.
Twelve renowned chefs were asked to come up with recipe ideas, ranging from a haute cuisine seal wellington to an Asian dish of wok-fried seal with jasmine rice and sweet and sour sauce. The cookbook was part of an EU project named 'Seal: A common resource', which received £262,000 (€299,000) between 2000 and 2007 to help hunters make the most of the animals they were allowed to cull.
The EU ban has risked a world trade dispute with Canada, home to large seal-hunting Inuit communities.
"The seal ban raises a question of principle. The Canadian hunt is sustainable, humane and well-monitored. The EU proceeded with a ban that has no basis in fact or science," Ross Hornby, Canada's Brussels ambassador, told the 'EUobserver' newspaper.
Canadian anger over the EU ban reached new heights three weeks ago when the northern territory of Nunavut, where there is a large seal-hunting community, voted to remove beer, wine and spirits made in the EU from shops in retaliation.
"That was the whole intent of it, to get the message across that we're not happy," said Fred Schell, a member of the territory's legislative assembly. (© Daily Telegraph, London)