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Banning seal products?

A hearing of Ottawa's appeal of a World Trade Organization ruling that upheld the European Union's ban on imported seal products is set to begin Monday.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq says she will argue the seal harvest is humane, sustainable and well-regulated when she appears before the WTO in Geneva for the three-day hearing.

A WTO dispute settlement panel upheld the EU's ban on imported seal products in November, citing public moral concerns for animal welfare.

Aglukkaq says critics of the harvest are basing their opinions on myths, misinformation and misguided emotion.

Animal rights advocates say the commercial hunt is a needless slaughter and have called the trade ruling a major victory that protects aboriginal hunts.

But others, including Inuit hunters, have said the European ban and others like it all but wipe out major international markets.

The commercial seal hunt off Newfoundland last spring landed about 91,000 harp seals, up from 69,000 the year before but far short of the federal quota of 400,000.

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