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Posted: Thursday 15 September, 2011 at 3:47 PM
An inflatable giant seal set by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2009. Europe's top court has rejected a bid by Inuit seal hunters and fur traders to strike down an EU ban on products de
LUXEMBOURG (AFP)

    (Luxembourg, LUX) - Europe's top court has rejected a bid by Inuit seal hunters and fur traders to strike down an EU ban on products derived from the Arctic animals.

     

    The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice refused to hear the challenge brought by 17 organisations, including Canada's largest Inuit group, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), according to a 12-page decision dated September 6.

     

    "Inuit are disappointed that the EU did not see fit to rule on the merits of this case, and have dismissed it, on technical grounds as inadmissible without a hearing," ITK leader Mary Simon said in a statement.

     

    The organisation has filed a second challenge to the European Union ban, which is also opposed by Norway.

     

    The ban, approved in 2009 under pressure from animal rights groups, includes an exemption for seal products derived from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and indigenous communities for subsistence.

     

    But Canada's indigenous groups fear it will severely damage their traditional seal hunt.

     

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