Speech on welfare of seals

Thank you Madam President.

Whilst I appreciate changes to legislation on seal products are based on WTO recommendations and serve the intention of better welfare of seals, I'm deeply concerned about the impact this will have on the Inuit communities for whom these changes will largely affect. Notably, my concerns lie with the lack of impact assessments carried out prior to tomorrow's vote.

In 2009 when the exemption for Inuit communities was first established a key priority of the parliament was to ensure that negative impacts would not occur for the Inuit communities who for hundreds of years have relied on seal hunting for a means of providing food, warmth and economic prosperity. However, like many things that come from this parliament this was not the end result.

In recent figures from Greenland they have shown that the ban has had an overwhelmingly negative effect on these communities. To ensure that continued or additional negative impacts from future changes do not take place we must ensure the livelihood of the Inuit's are held in the same high regard as the welfare of the seals. With this in mind it is therefore imperative that the welfare of the group is not sacrificed on before the other.



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