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DON'T LET CANADA STOP THE EUROPEAN UNION'S SEAL PRODUCTS BAN!
FUR FREE FRIDAY: November 27, 2009
On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the historic Seattle WTO protests,
take action to protest Canada's World Trade Organization challenge to the
European Union seal products ban!
HOLD AN ANIMAL CRUELTY OLYMPICS EVENT AT YOUR LOCAL CANADIAN CONSULATE!
Canada's Seal Hunt: A Tradition of Cruelty
With its annual seal hunt, Canada is responsible for the largest mass
slaughter of marine mammals in the world. In 2006 alone, 325,000 harp seals,
as well as 10,000 hooded seals and 10,400 grey seals were killed for their
fur. The seals are clubbed (often with illegal weapons), hooked in the eye,
cheek, or mouth to avoid damaging the fur, and are at times skinned alive
because of the carelessness of the hunter. Canada's annual,
government-subsidized slaughter, seeks to profit from the misery of seals by
exporting fur for fashion, seal oil, seal meat, and seal penis bones (sold
as an aphrodisiac in China.)
European Parliament: Taking Action for Compassion
The European Parliament placed an import ban on all Canadian seal products
with the intention of finally ending the inhumane yearly hunt, which it
considers "inherently inhumane." The ban will prohibit the sale of seal
skin, meat, oil blubber, organs and seal oil . Canada exported roughly $2.5
million worth of seal products to European countries in 2008, considerably
cutting Canada's profit if the ban were to be put in place. If upheld, the
ban may be enacted as early as 2010.
After the European Parliament's decision, Canada quickly announced that it
will challenge the ban at the WTO if Canada is not exempted. Trade Minister
Stockwell Day states that "if one country wants to ban the products of
another, it has to have clear scientific, medically acceptable reasons for
The WTO: Trading Away Animals' Lives
According to Our World is Not for Sale, "The World Trade Organization was
established in 1995. It includes 153 countries and is headquartered in
Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO has been used to push an expansive array of
policies on trade, investment and deregulation that exacerbate the
inequality between the North and the South, and among the rich and poor
within countries. The WTO enforces some twenty different trade agreements,
including the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the Agreement
on Agriculture (AoA) and Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
The WTO is inherently undemocratic. Its trade tribunals, working behind
closed doors, have ruled against a stunning array of national health and
safety, labor, human rights and environmental laws, which have been directly
challenged as trade barriers by governments acting on behalf of their
corporate clients. National policies and laws found to violate WTO rules
must be eliminated or changed or else the violating country faces perpetual
trade sanctions that can be in the millions of dollars. Since the WTO's
inception in 1995, the vast majority of rulings in trade disputes between
member nations have favored powerful industrialized countries. Consequently,
many countries, particularly developing countries, feel enormous pressure to
weaken their public interest policies whenever a WTO challenge is threatened
in order to avoid costly sanction."
The WTO has consistently ruled on the side of animal exploiters, treating
efforts to protect animals as merely a barrier to trade in need of
elimination. In the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP), some schools of
yellowfin tuna associate with dolphins. Commercial fishing operations,
including the Mexican fishing fleet, have consequently found that setting
nets on dolphins to catch the tuna swimming underneath is a lucrative
technique for tuna fishing, despite the fact the practice is extremely
injurious to dolphins. In the past 40 years this practice led to the deaths
of over 7 million dolphins. In 1984, the US banned dolphin-unsafe tuna under
the Marine Mammal Protection Act, but in1995 the WTO ruled that that the US
would have to lift this barrier to trade or pay compensations to Mexico or
face severe trade sanctions. Under pressure from the Clinton administration
Congress agreed to comply.
The shrimp fishing industry catches sea turtles in purse seine nets, where
they drown, and pushes them to the brink of extinction. New nets were
devised that allowed the turtles to escape if entangled, and the U.S.
refused to import shrimp from any country not using "turtle exclusion
devices." But upon complaints from 4 nations in 1996, a WTO dispute panel
found this policy in violation of free trade rules, and so the US was forced
to accept imports of shrimp from countries using turtle-killing nets.
The WTO also ruled against a 1989 EU health ban on bovine products with
growth-promoting hormones, determining that the ban violates the US' right
to trade freely. The EU has been paying trade ban concessions to the US
rather than harm the heath of EU citizens. The US continues its practice of
injecting bovine with hormones and will be trading freely with nations who
will not be able pay trade concessions. rBGH has been reliably linked to
health problems that cause extreme suffering to cows, including mastitis, a
painful inflammation of the udder.
Canada + WTO: A Deadly Combination for Animals
In 1995, the EU passed legislation against the vicious steel jaw leghold
trap and banned the importation of wild fur from nations where the legal
trap was still legal - including the US, Russia, and Canada. In response,
Canada, with US support, threatened a WTO challenge to the ban,
Unfortunately, the EU backed down and leghold traps continue to be used in
Canada and the US. Canada hopes for the same results with its challenge to
the seal products ban.
SEATTLE '99 - Teamsters and Turtles United Against Free Trade
According to BattleinSeattleMovie.com "The '99 Seattle protests were
commonly referred to in the popular media as the "Seattle Riots," though in
fact they were a highly organized series of nonviolent actions by a diverse
array of public interests -- labor unions, religious groups, student
organizations, anarchists, environmentalists and national and international
nonprofit organizations -- all of whom shared a common enemy, the WTO. ..
[The protesters were ] a pinnacle moment in the history of social action --
many groups coming together to voice their concerns over globalization and
corporate control of trade. This was the first protest primarily organized
through cell phones and the internet, giving activists an unprecedented
ability to organize on the streets. It took months for organizers to plan
the protests, and it is now widely held as the most successful "mass action"
to date." Among the lasting images of the Seattle WTO protests were
activists dressed as sea turtles, protesting the WTO's ruling that the US
cannot exclude shrimp caught with methods that endanger sea turtles. The
slogan "Teamsters and turtles together at last" has come to symbolize the
critical coalescence of diverse forced that made the Seattle protests such
an overwhelming success. The November 27th Day of Action will kick off a
week of protests by a broad range of social movements united around the
message, allowing animal rights activists to once again unite with other
campaigners for justice around the shared message "Our World is Not for
Sale!" Learn more about the week of action at
Fur Free Friday: An Annual Tradition
According to FurFreeFriday.com, "Fur-Free Friday, an annual event that takes
place the Friday after Thanksgiving, aims to educate people about the
horrors suffered by fur-bearing animals. Organized originally in 1986 by
grassroots activists to abolish the fur trade, Fur-Free Friday has grown to
be one of the most widely attended annual demonstrations of the animal
rights movement." Fur Free Friday went worldwide for the first time in 2008.
Join with activists around the world on Fur Free Friday 2009 to globalize
animal liberation, not corporate free trade!
Vancouver 2010 Olympics: A Critical Opportunity
In the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver, Canada
will be under unprecedented international scrutiny-- making this a perfect
time expose opportunity to expose Canada's latest attempt to undermine
animal protection and bring the world's attention once again to the horrors
of the Canadian seal hunt. On November 27th, we will shine the Olympic
spotlight on Canada's monstrous seal hunt and on its latest cynical effort
to undermine animal protection efforts by the EU.
Organize a protest on Fur Free Friday, November 27, 2009 at your local
Canadian Consulate. For a list of Canadian Consulates in the US, visit
http://www.quack.net/natda/consulates.html. One idea is to hold an "Animal
Cruelty Olympics" a street theater event where activists dressed as Canadian
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Canadian politicians club activists
dressed as baby seals-- as an Olympic event! In the performance, Harper
bludgeons the most seals and wins. But instead of winning a medal, he is
given a giant golden seal penis, to symbolize Canada's trade in seal penis
bone and awarded a title he richly deserves, "Biggest Dick in Canada."
Global Justice for Animals and the Environment can support your action with
literature, national publicity work, a template local press list, a press
kit you can give to reporters, access to a media database that you can use
to build a local press list, and advice on organizing an effective action.
Contact us if you'd like to organize a November 27th action in your area.