Rhys
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
06-Sep-2011
The state of British Politics as regards the Seal Ban is United Kingdom independence Party (12 Euro MP's but 0 in the British Parliament) firmly against the ban. The largest UK party the Conservatives does not support the ban, the Labour and Liberal party's do.

The bill does not follow the principle of Subsidiarity, the European Court of Justice prefers not to look into subsidiarity because its political, instead it accepts a bland statement that “This bill conforms to the principle of subsidiarity” as sufficient. A reform under the treaty of Lisbon (unused at present) allowed as few as 30% of the members of a National Parliament to challenge the Subsidiarity of an act of the European Parliament. (Start writing to Luxemburg MP's).

I wrote the following article which has not been published no surprise and received comments from the Liberal Member of the European Parliament which I have included after it.

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I was attending an election, a man and his small boy went into the voting booth. The boy was standing under the table whilst his father studied his ballot paper. Voting secrecy was maintained until the father decided to teach his son about democracy. Bending over he showed the boy the ballot paper. "Look", he said, "One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six Idiots pick an Idiot. For their performance in passing the regulations banning the trade in Seal products the European MP's fully deserve the accolade of idiot.

It really starts with Genesis, every one remembers "be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth", but it continues “and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth".

The idea of man having dominion over the animals is not accepted by animal rights believers. According to the animal rights concept, mankind's access to the benefits of nature is restricted to plants and minerals. The animal rights philosophy does not allow for human beings to exploit animals - or to kill them - whatever the purpose might be.

This philosophy is based on the idea that animals have "inherent value as the experiencing subjects of life" and that all who have the inherent value, have it equally - whether they be "human animals" or not. Their equal rights for animals philosophy when it has been thoroughly thought through, far from having mankind multiply, and live in a land of milk and honey, reduces the human population to about 25 million vegetarians trying to fend off other animals, from their food stores by none lethal means.

The animal rights philosophy does not encompass humanity to animals as the rest of us know it, no euthanasia for pets who are doomed to a long lingering death, no attempt to stop the spread of disease like rabies, but let nature take its course. I am not sure if you can have a pet, because that might be deemed as exploiting animals.

To put this into an easily understood prospective, Dartmoor Ponies are wild animals, every year a hundred or more just weaned fouls are culled, simply because there is not enough feed to keep them from starving in the winter, shooting them is considered more humane than letting them starve to death, that is for most of us. An animal rights solution would be to leave the ponies to die from starvation, a few, the strongest would survive, but the majority would die. In the following years they would multiply, until another mass starvation event occurred. That is natures way and nature is very cruel.

Most people will not remember food rationing. We even had bread rationing, it was before myxomatosis had been introduced, rabbets where eating five percent of the grain. My father used to shoot rabbets, as a hungry little boy, I was glad of the extra meat, never mind that the bunny died. If we live any where near real hunger, the necessity of providing food for our families, will tell us how absurd animals rights ideas turn out in practice.

Conservation and animal rights are completely at odds. Whilst supporting animal rights the Green Party cannot be a party for conservation. Conservation is about making use of renewable resources, and animals are a renewable resource. When the European Union produced the book English title “Seal in the Modern Kitchen” Eighty Four Seal Meat recipe's by top chef's, it was following sound ecological principles, promoting the use of Seal Meat a renewable resource. (Seals are culled in the Baltic by EU member states).

IFAW is an animal rights organisation, although it does not bring attention to this. It does not care if seal hunting is conducted humanely, it wants seal hunting stopped period. It raises money, lots of it by producing propaganda that seal hunting is inhumane. Its a nice little earner for the directors, who have fees of over $150,000, the founder Brian Davies received over a million dollars when he retired for the continued use of his name. He still gets a fee for managing IFAW's investments. Living as parasites of the generosity of the animal loving public, provides them with a nice comfortable living. IFAW are considered as stake holders by the European Parliament , and have close links to some Parliamentarians.

(11) which seal hunt­ing occurs, consistent verification and control of hunters’ compliance with animal welfare requirements is not feasible in practice or, at least, is very difficult to achieve in an effective way, as concluded by the European Food Safety Authority on 6 December 2007.
The European Food Safety Authority report did conclude that it was possible to kill and skin seals in such a way as to avoid unnecessary pain, distress, fear or other forms of suffering,
However the conclusion “given the conditions in which seal hunt­ing occurs, consistent verification and control of hunters’ compliance with animal welfare requirements is not feasible in practice or, at least, is very difficult to achieve in an effective way” is not in the report or any other conclusion on the monitoring of seal hunting.

The conclusion is wrong, the mistake which can be easily spotted shows a complete lack of care on the part of the European Parliament and makes its Parliamentarians look like Idiots.
There is a little history here. The Canadian Department of Fishery's and Oceans Invited the European Food Safety agency to send an observer. Fishery Observers have a qualification, are employed by an agency, who supplies them to the DFO. An observer is placed randomly on some but not all boats. The boats are very small with accommodation similar in size to a camper van. Usually when an observer is assigned to a boat one crewman has to get off, he looses $2k or $3k wages about 10% of his annual income, the rest of the crew have to work short handed often meaning extra days work to reach their quota. The law requires the boats skipper to carry the observer if one is appointed to his boat, but not an European Food Safety Official. Not surprisingly the DFO could not find a boat prepared to carry the European Food Safety observer voluntarily, so he had a trip for no purpose. Its not just Europe that bungles.

Recital four states:
The hunting of seals has led to expressions of serious concerns by members of the public and governments sensitive to animal welfare considerations due to the pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering which the killing and skinning of seals, as they are most frequently performed, cause to those animals.

That is pure animal rights propaganda not supported by scientific fact. Over 98.5% of seals are killed with a single bullet from a high powered rifle with a shot to the head. But then animal rights doesn't support the shooting of starving horses either.

The simple facts are, when there are only a few seals, fishermen feed them fish, when there are too many they want to cull them, the same is true all over the world. Each seal consumes five kilo's of fish per day over a tonne per year. When you have a seal population of nine million increasing at five percent a year, as Eastern Canada has, you are going to want to kill quite a few. The bill supports this, and allows the placing on the market of the results, as long as there is no profit. This suits the Baltic States who only kill a couple of hundred of the ten thousand seals in the Baltic. There is no way a small scale hunt like that will make a profit, but it outlaws the Canadian and Norwegian hunts which use the profit motivation to limit the expense of the cull.

It is very hard to see any animal welfare gains from a hunt preformed by amateurs against one performed by professionals in fact the reverse. The professionals are very experienced in knowing when to squeeze the trigger and when to hold fire, judgment of the right time is only gained by experience, Canada's hunters apart from passing a Marksmanship test require two years experience on seal hunts before they are allowed to fire a shot, doubtful if any amateur has anything like that experience before firing his first shot.

The vast majority of people believe that if you kill a seal you should make the best use of it. Current European policy is making it very likely we will see dead seal carcasses being burned, what a waste of a valuable resource.

Europeans are being denied their human rights by the ban. It is very likely that heart valves made from seals will last twice as long as those made from pigs or cows. Seals have very high blood pressure for a mammal, so their valves are stronger. Omega 3 Capsules from Seals are more easily absorbed by the human body than other sources, and so they are twice as effective in lowering blood pressure, they also contain DPA only otherwise available in human breast milk, this clears clogged arteries. But then believers in animal rights would not use them anyway and don't mind denying them to you either.

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Diana Wallis replied.

"They wanted a complete ban on all sealing, there is a United Nations treaty which we are signatories to about the treatment of indigenous peoples, so they swallowed making an exception for Inuit"
The Commission's proposal responded to a written declaration by the European Parliament from 2006. This called for a ban on the import, export and sale of seal products in the EU, but without impacting on traditional Inuit seal hunting.

This is reflected in the final Regulation, which allows seal products from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities to be traded in the EU. This would include the Inuit communities of Canada and Greenland.

"Denmark threatened to block the bill, so they made an exception for Greenland"

There is no exception for Greenland. In addition, the legal base of the proposal and subsequent Regulation would not have enabled Denmark to block the Regulation alone. A number of Member States would have been necessary to form a blocking minority.

"The Greater Greenland Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Greenland government handling about 50,000 pelts a year, its a none profit making organisation so they made an exception for none profit organisations."
There is a derogation for seal products that are the by-products of hunts that are carried out for marine resource management purposes and which are placed on the market on a non-profit basis. In theory, this could include seal products from a number of countries, including Greenland. However, the implementing Regulation explains that these should be placed on the market in a non-systemic way, so it is unlikely that the Greater Greenland Company would be able to take advantage of this derogation.

"Warned that the Bill was illegal they proceeded any way, it is often said that only a fool disregards legal advice.
We did receive advice that the proposal would face problems both in front of the WTO and the ECJ. As you point out, the text was then amended sufficiently. By the time of the Parliament vote our legal advice was that the final text would be able to withstand legal challenge.
"Liberal Member of the European Parliament Diana Wallis thought so too when she said “we need to properly consider issues such as a trade ban on seal products otherwise we in the European Parliament will look very foolish.". She has also suggested that the EU Parliament had over-stepped its competence. “We cannot legislate for Canadian hunting, any more than we (The European Parliament) can regulate fox-hunting in the UK,” but she has voted on her party line in support of the ban"

I have repeatedly made it clear that the text which the Parliament adopted would not have been my first preference. My first preference was the introduction of an EU-wide labelling regime for seal products. This is the system that I proposed in my draft report to my committee and which I supported at our committee vote. My proposal was rejected by a large majority who preferred to have a ban even broader than that currently in place. The negotiations that followed the committee vote then resulted in a number of changes to the text which took into account a number of my concerns.

The Regulation does not attempt legislate for Canadian hunting.

Thank you for taking an interest in my work. Should you seek further details, you may find it useful to watch the video of my speech made before the Parliament's vote on this regulation. The video can be found here.

Kind regards,

Diana Wallis
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