Premier highlights possible EU dissent as seal ban vote nears

Rob Antle
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Fishery/Politics

Premier Danny Williams is highlighting possible dissent within Europe as EU legislators get ready to vote on a bill - as early as April - that would ban the import of seal products.

"Denmark has Greenland, there's a seal hunt there," Williams said in a recent interview.

"You've got non-EU countries like Iceland and Norway who have a seal hunt. I understand there's still a partial seal hunt going on in Scotland - obviously the U.K. has some issues."

Premier Danny Williams speaks to reporters during a news conference in this file photo. The premier says some countries are uneasy about the pending EU legislation to ban importing seal products. - Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Premier Danny Williams is highlighting possible dissent within Europe as EU legislators get ready to vote on a bill - as early as April - that would ban the import of seal products.

"Denmark has Greenland, there's a seal hunt there," Williams said in a recent interview.

"You've got non-EU countries like Iceland and Norway who have a seal hunt. I understand there's still a partial seal hunt going on in Scotland - obviously the U.K. has some issues."

The premier also said talks with the French territory of St-Pierre-Miquelon have revealed unease about the pending legislation.

"It's my clear understanding from their government down there that they are expressing their concern to the government of France that they're opposed to the seal ban," Williams said. "It's my understanding that France is possibly not going to vote for the seal ban."

Earlier this month, a European Parliament committee voted to endorse a strict ban on the import of all seal products.

Canada's top markets for seal products are not EU nations. But the ban could choke off demand and halt the transshipment of pelts to places like Russia and Norway.

Ottawa had pinned its hopes on the possibility of "derogation," or possible exemptions, for the Canadian commercial hunt.

The bill endorsed by the European Parliament committee rejected such an exemption. The only exemption allowed is a limited one for Inuit hunters.

There are still two more hurdles for the anti-sealing bill to clear.

Both the full European Parliament and the Council of Ministers must OK the legislation. The voting process is somewhat complicated (for an explanation, see related sidebar below).

According to provincial government figures, the annual seal hunt generates $13 million in landed value. The total industry value, including production, is $25 million to $30 million.

rantle@thetelegram.com




EU voting process

A proposed European Union ban on seal products must still pass two more legislative hurdles before becoming law.
The first of those is approval in the European Parliament by a simple majority vote. Parliamentary delegations are weighted according to country size.
The second is approval by the Council of Ministers.
That process is more complex. It requires:
a majority of the member-states;
who represent a minimum of 63 per cent of the EU population;
a minimum of 232 votes (equal to 72.3 per cent of the total number of votes in the Council of Ministers).
In effect, the procedure requires a double majority - i.e. both of member-states (with a majority of the EU population) and a qualified or special majority of the 345 votes in the Council of Ministers.
Votes in the Council are weighted according to relative population, with larger member-states (Germany, France, Italy, the U.K.) having 29, all the way down to Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg and Slovenia with four, and Malta with three.
Sources: Memorial University political science department; Jeffrey Lewis, "The Council of the European Union," in Michelle Cini, ed. "European Union Politics," 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2007).

Organizations: European Union, European Parliament, Council of Ministers Council of the European Union Oxford University Press

Geographic location: France, Norway, Europe Denmark Iceland Scotland U.K. Canada Russia Ottawa Germany Italy Cyprus Estonia Latvia Luxembourg Slovenia

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Al
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Everybody should love the baby seals, especially with onions and gravy

  • Just
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Why is Danny trying to dictate how another country votes is the real question. He can pull that off here, but he will just get his hands slapped and sent to sit in the corner if he keeps it up. The EU will not deal with a province. The EU only deals with the federal governments of nations, or is Danny still on his kingdom trip?

    He is looking very foolish to a great many nations.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    It's hard to beleive the EU would ban seal products while KFC and McDonald's are in almost every city there.

    The seals industry is just as humane, if not more humane than how cattle and chickens are treated for the above mentioned businesses.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Angel from SO, wherever in the hell SO is! Russia has only banned what they call baby seal hunt.

    Your the shame!

  • johnny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Baby seal walks into a club.
    hahahhahaha

  • towny girl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    To you, in particular, Sad from NL, how dare you say that ANY animal should die. Why would you make such a horrible statement. Also, I am embarrassed to see so many spelling and grammatical errors in people's comments. I had no idea Newfoundlanders were so poorly educated. Here's a hint... get a good dictionary and a thesaurus before you make your comments public. It's so pathetic!

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    There's no seal hunt going on in Scotland.
    Fishermen are allowed to defend their nets from adult seal attacks, but this has to be done humanely. No-one is allowed to kill any seals between 1st September and 31st December under any circumstances.

  • Angel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Mr. Danny Williams, your are not up-to-date. Russia is stopping the seal hunt, so also no market for your fur. The slaughter will stop, but it's a shame for all of you who does support it

  • Ches
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Mark from Dubai writes: Fishermen are allowed to defend their nets from adult seal attacks, but this has to be done humanely.

    Mark b'y just shows how stunned you are! That's one of the reasons we have a harvest to reduce these fish gobbling monsters from depleting out inshore stocks here so we can maintain whats left of a struggling fishery. Your EU definition of humanely just so happens to meet North American Veterinary standards of humanely as stated on the DFO web site!

  • g-man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    this is not our preimire at all causing this..as far as i can see,the federal fisheries minister has been MIA since the election..i only seen our fisheries minister once on the mike puffy duffy show when she was elected..this is another shot at the williams bow by our dear loving priminister(steve),the idiot.i say stick it in his eye danny..steve has wrote this province off.he never mentions this province,even when he refers to canada from BC to NS..we in NL are considered in ottawa as PERSONA NON GRADA ..what a sad state of affairs,,and i dont blame out preimier for it..its because the goverment moved out west.we need to move the goverment back to ottawa.

  • Sad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Towny girl you have to be the dumbest person I have ever read on this forum. Are you that dense that you can't recognize sarcasim. What are you 12 years old??

  • Blame Danny for
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Norway is NOT part of the EU.

    Nuff Said

    I see what the protestors are trying to do. They're trying to put the seal hunt in the same league as the African Elephant and Siberian Tigers, animals on the brink of extinction whose only natural enemy is poaching by humans . They're trying to make people disgusted by the seal hunt by the images of white coats and blood on the ice. Nice try - not gonna work.

    I have NEVER read an article put forward by an expert in animal sciences documenting the seal hunt is inhumane. NEVER. NOT ONE vet, university researcher, nothing! NOT ONE Marine Biologist stating the Harp Seal population is in decline. NOT ONE expert or video evidence showing that baby harp seals are being killed as the seal protestors would like you to believe.

    To all the seal protestors - I challenge here and now to provide to me the link to one of the following documents / videos

    - evidence the hunt is inhumane as stated by a respected researcher in marine biology and animal biology in regards to the 2008 Seal Hunt.
    - evidence the seal population is on decline and nearing the level of ''threatened'' according to population levels of 2005.
    - evidence of a baby harp seal being killed during the 2008 seal hunt

    Where is this evidence??? - stop pulling on heartstrings you con artists and show me some real evidence!

    No, it's always, ''I have seen first hand the brutality of seal protestors'' - blah blah blah - BS! That's not evidence, that's your opinion.

    If I don't hear from Briget Curran and/or Paul Watson by the end of the day with the above evidence you can consider them both - FRAUDS!

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Ches, I'm just pointing out that there is no seal hunt in Scotland partial or otherwise.

  • clubber
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Folks lets face it, the seal hunt is about to pass into the annuls of history. There will come a day very soon when markets for seal products will dry up. The sooner we accept this reality and prepare for it, the better for all those concerned.

  • Sad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    You know who I feel bad for. Chickens and cows. Poor ugly animals. If they could only be cute and snuggly. Only ugly animals deserve to die.

  • Al
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Everybody should love the baby seals, especially with onions and gravy

  • Just
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Why is Danny trying to dictate how another country votes is the real question. He can pull that off here, but he will just get his hands slapped and sent to sit in the corner if he keeps it up. The EU will not deal with a province. The EU only deals with the federal governments of nations, or is Danny still on his kingdom trip?

    He is looking very foolish to a great many nations.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    It's hard to beleive the EU would ban seal products while KFC and McDonald's are in almost every city there.

    The seals industry is just as humane, if not more humane than how cattle and chickens are treated for the above mentioned businesses.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Angel from SO, wherever in the hell SO is! Russia has only banned what they call baby seal hunt.

    Your the shame!

  • johnny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Baby seal walks into a club.
    hahahhahaha

  • towny girl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    To you, in particular, Sad from NL, how dare you say that ANY animal should die. Why would you make such a horrible statement. Also, I am embarrassed to see so many spelling and grammatical errors in people's comments. I had no idea Newfoundlanders were so poorly educated. Here's a hint... get a good dictionary and a thesaurus before you make your comments public. It's so pathetic!

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    There's no seal hunt going on in Scotland.
    Fishermen are allowed to defend their nets from adult seal attacks, but this has to be done humanely. No-one is allowed to kill any seals between 1st September and 31st December under any circumstances.

  • Angel
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Mr. Danny Williams, your are not up-to-date. Russia is stopping the seal hunt, so also no market for your fur. The slaughter will stop, but it's a shame for all of you who does support it

  • Ches
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Mark from Dubai writes: Fishermen are allowed to defend their nets from adult seal attacks, but this has to be done humanely.

    Mark b'y just shows how stunned you are! That's one of the reasons we have a harvest to reduce these fish gobbling monsters from depleting out inshore stocks here so we can maintain whats left of a struggling fishery. Your EU definition of humanely just so happens to meet North American Veterinary standards of humanely as stated on the DFO web site!

  • g-man
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    this is not our preimire at all causing this..as far as i can see,the federal fisheries minister has been MIA since the election..i only seen our fisheries minister once on the mike puffy duffy show when she was elected..this is another shot at the williams bow by our dear loving priminister(steve),the idiot.i say stick it in his eye danny..steve has wrote this province off.he never mentions this province,even when he refers to canada from BC to NS..we in NL are considered in ottawa as PERSONA NON GRADA ..what a sad state of affairs,,and i dont blame out preimier for it..its because the goverment moved out west.we need to move the goverment back to ottawa.

  • Sad
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Towny girl you have to be the dumbest person I have ever read on this forum. Are you that dense that you can't recognize sarcasim. What are you 12 years old??

  • Blame Danny for
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Norway is NOT part of the EU.

    Nuff Said

    I see what the protestors are trying to do. They're trying to put the seal hunt in the same league as the African Elephant and Siberian Tigers, animals on the brink of extinction whose only natural enemy is poaching by humans . They're trying to make people disgusted by the seal hunt by the images of white coats and blood on the ice. Nice try - not gonna work.

    I have NEVER read an article put forward by an expert in animal sciences documenting the seal hunt is inhumane. NEVER. NOT ONE vet, university researcher, nothing! NOT ONE Marine Biologist stating the Harp Seal population is in decline. NOT ONE expert or video evidence showing that baby harp seals are being killed as the seal protestors would like you to believe.

    To all the seal protestors - I challenge here and now to provide to me the link to one of the following documents / videos

    - evidence the hunt is inhumane as stated by a respected researcher in marine biology and animal biology in regards to the 2008 Seal Hunt.
    - evidence the seal population is on decline and nearing the level of ''threatened'' according to population levels of 2005.
    - evidence of a baby harp seal being killed during the 2008 seal hunt

    Where is this evidence??? - stop pulling on heartstrings you con artists and show me some real evidence!

    No, it's always, ''I have seen first hand the brutality of seal protestors'' - blah blah blah - BS! That's not evidence, that's your opinion.

    If I don't hear from Briget Curran and/or Paul Watson by the end of the day with the above evidence you can consider them both - FRAUDS!

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Ches, I'm just pointing out that there is no seal hunt in Scotland partial or otherwise.

  • clubber
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Folks lets face it, the seal hunt is about to pass into the annuls of history. There will come a day very soon when markets for seal products will dry up. The sooner we accept this reality and prepare for it, the better for all those concerned.

  • Sad
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    You know who I feel bad for. Chickens and cows. Poor ugly animals. If they could only be cute and snuggly. Only ugly animals deserve to die.