Activists step up campaign to ban seal products

21. Jun 2011

swissinfo.ch

Animal rights campaigners have gone on the offensive for a Swiss ban on importing seal products, releasing gory hunting footage and handing a petition to parliament.

The Swiss non-profit Franz Weber Foundation and Ocean Care organisation collected over 97,000 signatures in a petition backing an embargo on Canadian seal products that have been hunted commercially – like a ban imposed by the European Union in 2010.$

Before delivering the boxes of petition signatures to parliament, Vera Weber, the young face of the Franz Weber Foundation campaign, showed a five-minute video she had filmed over the Canadian Arctic coast in which seal pups were being killed illegally.

Instead of being shot in the head or hit cleanly with a hammer, as Canadian law requires, the animals were shot in other parts of the body or dragged along by hooks before finally being killed.

Hoping to add further weight to their case is a poll commissioned by the Foundation, in which 76 per cent of 1,017 Swiss respondents backed an embargo. The results were published to coincide with the action day on Tuesday.

“We want Canada to end commercial seal hunting,” Weber told swissinfo.ch. “We are not fighting against the seal hunting that the Inuit have done traditionally for centuries. We are against the commercial seal hunt in Canada. It is cruel and cannot be controlled.”

“We think we have given parliament a sign that the issue has the potential to become a [popular] initiative,” added Ocean Care president Sigrid Lüber. (By collecting 100,000 signatures, voters can force a national vote on amending or adding to the constitution).

“We hope that they understand that this is really an issue for the Swiss people.”

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