The World Trade Organization reaffirmed this week that when it comes to seal hunting, European countries aren’t buying. Canada has been battling a ban that prevents any products from the country’s annual seal hunt from being imported into the European Union. The WTO denied Canada’s appeal, ruling on Thursday that the ban will stay in place on the grounds that the ban is in the best interest for the animal’s welfare.

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In 2010, the EU banned seal products under the premise that the hunt caused seals pain and distress. Canada argued that seal hunting is accomplished in a humane way and that the ban was based on morality rather than science. The Canadian government regulates the hunting and set a quota of 400,000 seals for this season. But thick ice and made it tough for hunters to reach the seals this year, and some reports show that fewer than 55,000 animals have been killed.

Related: Japan Considers Reducing Antarctic Whaling after UN Court Ruling

The WTO’s ruling is the final word in the appeals process and animal rights advocates are celebrating the ruling. Because Canada subsidizes the hunting, estimates show that Canada could actually save about 7 million dollars a year if it eliminated the hunting entirely.


Lead image via Shutterstock, image via Robert Thivierge