Although the typical blogs on my website revolve dogs and other domestic animals, sometimes I’ll branch out to straining issues in the animal welfare realm. The truth is, animal cruelty extends far beyond the United States borders. In fact, animal rights extend all over the world, and in recent news Switzerland had a huge win for animals – seals in particular.

About the European Union

The European Union (EU) combines economics and politics in a 28 country union that covers most of Europe. Founded just after World War II, the EU was formed to bring together interdependent countries as far as trade and economics pertain. Although the EU formed particularly for economic reasoning, it’s now evolved to cover causes such as environment, climate, health and justice to name a few.


Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but has close ties due to surrounding countries within the EU. Switzerland recently banned the import of seal products to better align with the rules of the EU.

You may think of fur and leather being made from horses, sheep, foxes, and minks. However, in the European fashion industry, seals have been a target. Their fur, blubber, skin and more have been traded for years and used in the fashion industry. With new trends, especially what is known as “imitation skins”, the use of fur and skin in the fashion industry is (almost) no longer necessary.

The Ban

Seals are a marine mammal slaughtered for their blubber, skin and fur. Baby seals as young as 12 days old are slaughtered for products and trade. The ban went into effect April 1, 2017 meaning commercial seal hunts are now prohibited. The only exception from the ban is within traditional hunts by Inuit communities and among travelers importing for their personal use.

Banned Seal Products:

  • Blubber/meat
  • Fur
  • Skin
  • Organs/Oils

This ban protects defenseless seals from the brutality and cruelty of seal hunting. By banning the trade, this means Switzerland will no longer support the seal trade from other countries.

Moving Forward

Seal products are viewed as a luxury, for which Animal Rights Activities continue to campaign against. Moving forward, we should see more countries follow in the footsteps of Switzerland which is a good sign for seals still left out there.

Eyes will be on Canada now as this ban is in effect. Canada has a seal hunt every year, and this year they opened two weeks early. Thousands of baby seals, many still nursing, as well as adult seals slaughtered put Canada in first place for the largest commercial marine mammal slaughter in the world.

As more countries join this ban, we can expect that the days of commercial seal hunting are numbered. It may not happen within the next year or two, however Switzerland has made one step in the right direction, as will countries to follow.