The Yukon government supports Canada’s appeal of a World Trade Organization decision upholding the European Union’s ban on seal products.
The WTO ruled Monday that while the ban on Canadian seal products undermines free trade, it is acceptable for Europe to impose the ban on moral and ethical grounds.
The ban, established in 2009, contains exceptions for seal products from aboriginal subsistence hunting and government culls, as well as items purchased by tourists abroad.
The Canadian government has maintained that the commercial seal hunt is sustainable and humane, and has announced its intention to appeal the decision.
A motion before the Yukon Legislative Assembly passed unanimously Wednesday in support of the appeal.
“The federal government has said it will appeal the WTO decision, so our motion today reinforces the position that the decision is a bad one,” said Premier Darrell Pasloski in a news release. “In our opinion, the decision shows a complete lack of understanding of the importance of the seal hunt to Canada’s Arctic and coastal peoples.”
Yukon Party MLA Darius Elias put forward the motion.
“The seal hunt is an important tradition for people in our coastal areas and for those living in the Arctic region of Canada,” Elias said. “To allow this partial ban to continue on ethical grounds completely disregards the needs of our indigenous peoples and others who rely on traditional hunting to feed their families.”