Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

European Court of Justice Dismisses Sealing Industry Appeal

Brussels (3 October 2013) - The Court of Justice of the European Union has preserved the European Union's ban on commercial seal product trade by dismissing an appeal by commercial sealing and fur trade interests and some Inuit representatives. The appeal sought to overturn the European General Court's 2011 decision that the applicants' action against the EU ban was inadmissible. Humane Society International's EU director, Joanna Swabe, issued the following statement:

"We are delighted that the Court of Justice has rejected this baseless challenge to the European General Court's decision. The EU's decision to ban trade in cruel products of commercial seal slaughter remains an entirely democratic and legitimate action. The appellants simply do not have legal standing to challenge this legislative act, which came into being through the EU's complex and highly democratic decision-making system.

"In their attempt to have their challenge deemed admissible, the appellants claimed that Regulation (EC) 1007/2009 on trade in seal products was a regulatory act, rather than a legislative one. It is an affront to EU democratic processes to argue that the ban, which was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union under the codecision procedure, was not a legislative act."


  • In April 2013, the European General Court rejected a separate action brought by commercial sealing industry interests and Inuit representatives, which sought to annul the European Commission Regulation that provides detailed rules for the implementation of the EU ban on trade in seal products.
  • An appeal to this decision was lodged in July 2013. 
  • A separate application to have the EU seal product trade ban overturned was rejected in April 2010.  

HSI - Humane Society International