Animal protection activists yesterday again urged the government to ban the import and sale of seal oil in Taiwan to help stop the slaughter of the marine mammal.
The Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) has been promoting a campaign calling for the boycott of seal and sea lion products since April.
The drive has succeeded in getting the products off the shelves of retail chains including Cosmed, Watsons, Pxmart and Wellcome. The online health product retailer Holy Dot Com has also stopped supplying the products, EAST officials said. However, the products are still being sold by online retailers including Momo Shop, ETmall and PChome Online, they added.
Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Canada chapter of Humane Society International, told a press conference in Taipei that the US, the EU, Mexico and Croatia have all banned imports of seal oil and she said she hoped Taiwan would follow suit.
With Canada’s annual seal hunt set to begin in four months, imposing the ban would allow Taiwan to contribute to protecting seals, Aldworth said.
According to EAST, Taiwan is the fourth-largest market for Canadian seal products. From 2003 to last year, it imported 431,364kg of seal oil, an amount requiring the killing of 120,000 seals.
In a video shown at the press conference, a Canadian hunter was seen bludgeoning a seal pup with a cudgel before throwing the dying animal onto a boat.
A Council of Agriculture (COA) official said an EAST-backed petition calling for the ban of seal oil had been signed by 160,000 people.
After the petition has been submitted to the COA, the council will consider the proposal and notify the Bureau of Foreign Trade of any decision made, the official said.