HL Deb 09 July 1981 vol 422 c920WA
Lord Melchett

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many representations they have received in the last 12 months about the annual slaughter of seal pups off the coast of Canada, what proportion of these representations have been in favour of the annual slaughter continuing, what representations they have made to the Canadian Government about this matter, and what steps have been taken to ensure that none of the products of this slaughter can be imported into this country.

Lord Trefgarne

A petition presented by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in August 1980 carried some 1¼ million signatures. In addition, some 11,000 people have in the past 12 months expressed their opposition to the hunt by signing locally organised petitions, through letters to their Members of Parliament or direct to the Government. I do not believe that representations have been received in favour of the hunt continuing.

Her Majesty's Government are thus fully aware of the depth of feeling in the United Kingdom on this matter. There are, however, no grounds on which we can intervene since the hunt takes place wholly within Canada's jurisdiction. The Government also stand by their decision in June 1979 that a ban on goods made from seal skin would not be the right response. However, because of the danger that people opposed to seal killing might unwittingly buy seal skin products, a labelling order, which was welcomed by the RSPCA, was made under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 to require all such goods offered for sale to indicate that they are made from seal skin and where the skins come from. The order came into operation on 1st January 1981 and applies to goods imported into or made in the United Kingdom.