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Canada rejects Brussels ban on its seal skins

by Staff Writers
Ottawa (AFP) July 10, 2008
Canada's prime minister on Thursday warned the European Commission president not to prohibit Canadian seal skins, arguing that public pressure for a ban is based on misinformation from activists.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, according to a statement, "that it is imperative for European Union member nations to consider their next steps carefully as they discuss any measure that would restrict or exclude the sale of seal products within their borders."

The two leaders met on the sidelines of a G8 summit in Japan.

Harper said Canada's hunt is "humane, sustainable and regulated," and added "public pressure within the European Union to curb the sale of seal products is based on misinformation from anti-sealing organizations and extremist groups."

Each year, anti-sealing activists clash with sealers and Canadian fisheries officials on Canada's Atlantic coast, denouncing the hunt as cruel.

Protestors have called for a complete halt to all trade in seal furs, but World Trade Organization rules would make such a step impossible, a European source said.

The commission is expected to make a decision whether to ban the importation of furs made from the skins of young seals hunted in Canada when it meets on July 23.

It will then look to the EU's 27 member states to approve or vote down the measure.

But Harper warned: "Canada will not stand by and accept measures that fly in the face of accepted international practices for sustainability and trade and undermine trade of seal products harvested in accordance with international standards."

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Species Diversity Less Dramatic Than Believed
College Station TX (SPX) Jul 10, 2008
A study published in the current issue of Science challenges the long-held belief that diversity of marine species has been increasing continuously since the origin of animals.

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