Victory For The Seals!
The Taiwanese Legislative Yuan, just passed lifesaving legislation with unanimous support following a multi-year campaign by Taiwanese animal protection group EAST in collaboration with HSI/Canada. The legislation included a landmark ban on trade in marine mammal products, including seal skins, but at the same time exempting products of traditional indigenous hunts.
Taiwan's decision is an important step forward for animal protection and conservation in Asia. Canada’s commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth. However most Canadians oppose the commercial sealing, so the products of the seal slaughter are almost entirely exported.
Because the United States, European Union and Russia prohibit trade in seal products, the Canadian sealing industry has sought to develop alternate markets in Asia. This action however has sparked protests in mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.
According to Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI Canada, “The compassionate actions of the Taiwanese Legislative Yuan will save countless seals and other marine mammals from a horrible fate. The momentum to end trade in marine mammal products is growing and the sealing industry’s days are numbered. Instead of providing more pointless subsidies to artificially prop up this shameful practice, Canada should prohibit the slaughter and invest in a transition program for sealers.”
“Between 2003 and 2009, Taiwan imported 430,000 kilograms of seal oil, which made them the 4th largest importer of seal oil in the world. Through their trade in the seal products, consumers in Taiwan were unintentionally involved in the killing of thousands of innocent seals in Canada," according to Legislator Lin of the Legislative Yuan in Taiwan.
Their recent ban on trade in marine mammal products cements Taiwan’s position and ensures that its trade in marine mammal products will never resume. Congratulations to Taiwan for taking this important action to help save more Canadian seals.
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