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Last Updated: Tuesday May 05 2009 18:45 GMT

Europe to ban sale of seal goods

An inflatable seal at the European Parliament

Buying and selling products made from seals looks likely to become illegal in Europe, because of worries that the animals are killed in a cruel way.

On Tuesday politicians voted for a ban on the trade, although it won't start until a second vote in October.

Around 300,000 seals are killed every year in Canada. Some of them are shot, but some are clubbed to death.

Items including coats, bags, gloves and even omega-3 fish oil are made from the dead animals and sold around the world.

In 2008 Canada earned around £3.1m from selling products made from seals in Europe.

Some small communities in Canada and other parts of the world will still be allowed to sell seal products, as long as they use traditional methods to kill them.

Some of those small communities, especially the Inuits in Canada, are very angry about the proposed ban.

They say killing seals and selling the things they make from them is the only way they can make money to survive.

Other countries hunt too

The Canadian government is also unhappy and is planning to complain to the organisation that is in charge of the rules on what companies and countries can do in business.

Seals are also hunted in Norway, Namibia, Sweden, Finland, Russia and in Great Britain.