March 29, 2011
The Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
Dear Mr. Van Loan,
In light of the WTO's decision to formally hear and settle Canada's case over the ban on seal products by E.U. member countries, my friends at PETA and I urge you to open up the hearings to the public and make all submissions to the WTO publicly available when they are filed.Canadians and concerned citizens everywhere have the opportunity to weigh in by submitting comments to the WTO panel that will be deciding the case. First, we need to know what information Canada is putting forth.If Canada doesn't have anything to hide about how seals are bludgeoned and skinned in the commercial slaughter, then there will be no issue making these hearings and submissions public.
I deeply regret that my native Canada has decided to use the WTO to further delay the phase-out of the commercial seal slaughter, which is internationally condemned by world leaders such as President Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and the Dalai Lama. Furthermore, the challenge will be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. The challenge of E.U. member countries' ban on seal products has already been estimated to reach up to $10 million. I hope that you will do the right thing here.