Actress calls for hearings in seal product ban appeal
Pamela Anderson gestures from the stands as she watches a carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:47AM EDT
HALIFAX - Canadian-born actor Pamela Anderson has sent a letter to Ottawa asking that hearings on Canada's challenge to the European Union's ban on seal products be open to the public.
The Department of International Trade is challenging the ban before the World Trade Organization.
In her letter, Anderson requests that International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan ensure all submissions by the federal government are available to the public.
Anderson, a star of the program Baywatch, said she was writing the letter in aid of the lobby group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Anderson says that if Canada doesn't have "anything to hide about how seals are bludgeoned and skinned in the commercial slaughter," then there should be no issue with allowing public access to hearings.
Anderson says she regrets Ottawa is challenging the ban and calls it a "huge waste of taxpayer dollars."
Ottawa launched its challenge of Europe's ban on seal products before the World Trade Organization last month.
The federal government has asked the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel to make an independent decision on the ban.
The ban was approved by the European Union's 27 member states in 2009 and imposed last year, but Ottawa argues it violates WTO rules.
Government officials have said it could take more than three years for the WTO to act and the EU to respond, even if Canada succeeds in persuading a panel that the ban breaks the rules.
Canada exported about $5.5 million worth of seal products to the EU in 2006 when the price of pelts peaked at over $100, but the market has been cut by more than half in recent years.
There are about 6,000 licensed seal hunters on the East Coast, but only a few hundred took part in the 2009 hunt.