Canada's national Inuit organization has called on Ottawa to counter the Netherlands' new ban on importing seal products.
The move last week by the Dutch government to pass legislationbanning the trade of products derived from harp and hooded seals makes it the second European Union country this year toapprove such laws. Belgium adopted a similar ban in April.
According to the International Federation for Animal Welfare, the Dutch government on July 17 published details of the ban in its official journal of laws, decrees and statutes. It will take effect Sept. 11.
While theDutch ban excludes seal pelts harvested by Inuit hunters, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Mary Simon said Inuit will still be affected by the import bans.
"I think the problem is that the animal rights organizations are very active, very well funded," Simon told CBC News on Friday.
"We need to step up to the plate … Canada needs to step up to the plate, and show more leadership and deal more actively with this issue."
Simon said European legislators are often influenced by false information from animal activsits, and urged Canada not to let European countries destroy Canadian seal hunters' livelihoods.
She suggested Ottawa take action through the World Trade Organization to argue that banning seal products is a contravention of international trade agreements.