Rhys Ifans urges WTO to uphold seal fur ban

Actor Rhys Ifans has written a letter to World Trade Organisation (WTO) bosses urging them to keep their pledge to ban fur imports to end Canada’s annual seal slaughter. The Notting Hill star is backing a European Union-wide curb on seal pelts, which was agreed by officials in 2009 and came into force the following year (10).
Officials in Canada are challenging the decision and the case goes before the WTO’s appeals board later this month (Mar14), and Ifans has now penned a note to the panel urging them to stand firm and stick to the ban.
In the letter, sent via People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the actor writes, “I was relieved to hear that the WTO had ruled to uphold the EU’s ban on seal-fur imports. This is a huge victory for Europeans like me, who for decades have wanted no part in Canada’s commercial seal slaughter. The whole world is turning its back on seal products – not just EU countries but also Mexico, Taiwan, the U.S. and even Russia, which had been importing 95 per cent of Canada’s seal fur. In light of Canada’s decision to appeal the ruling, I’m writing to urge the Appellate Body to uphold the ban…
“EU nations have made it clear that they want no part in the seal slaughter, which is merely an off-season cash grab for the Canadian fishing industry and accounts for less than 1 per cent of Newfoundland’s economy. Since Canada is challenging the EU ban merely for political reasons back home, I hope the Appellate Body will uphold it.”