TORONTO – The World Trade Organization has upheld a ruling that allows the European Union to ban the import of seal pelts, oil and meat on moral grounds.
The EU banned seal products in 2009, saying seal hunting, which can involve clubbing seals on the head, causes unavoidable pain and distress.
Canada and Norway, two major seal hunting countries, challenged the ban, saying seal-hunting is done in an ethical manner.
The ruling released Thursday in Geneva by the WTO's Appellate Body said that concerns about animal welfare can override commercial interests.
Animal rights groups have long protested the mass clubbing of seals for fur and other products, saying it is inhumane.