20 May 2015

Inuit protest seal fur ban

6:47 am on 20 May 2015

Indigenous Inuit fur hunters from Greenland are on their way to the European Parliament in Belgium to convince lawmakers to end a general ban on seal products that was introduced in 2010.

Hunting for seal fur is a customary way of life for the Inuit people, who rely on it for clothing and for generating an income.

Environmental group Greenpeace is also urging the EU to help the hunters, who are facing destitution because the ban has wiped out exports of seal fur, on which they used to depend.

Greenpeace is trying to make amends, because its campaign against seal culls damaged the economic prospects of indigenous people in the arctic regions of Canada and Greenland.

Although tāngata whenua are an exception, and allowed to hunt for fur, an Inuit campaigner said the ban had killed the export market which is down 90 percent.

The delegation from Greenland has also been joined by other Inuit leaders from Canada who are also affected by the downturn.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs