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The Netherlands Announces Support for Proposal to End Global Trade in Polar Bears

Andrew Wetzler

Posted February 4, 2013

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Polar bear (Tim Knepp, USFWS)The Netherlands, an important and influential country in the European Union, has announced its support for the United States’ proposal (also endorsed by the Russian Federation) to end the international commercial trade in polar bear parts.

The Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs, Sharon Dijksma, confirmed the Netherlands support via her Twitter feed earlier today:


Dutch support of the U.S. proposal adds to the growing list of European Union countries that now back the U.S. position just as the EU begins to coalesce around a common position in advance of March’s meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).  The United Kingdom, Belgium, Austria, Germany, and Poland are among the European countries that support the U.S. position.

With the addition of the Netherlands to this list, there seems to be a growing consensus within Europe that the international commercial trade in polar bear parts and fur must end.

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Alethea Arnaquq-BarilFeb 5 2013 12:47 PM

This decision is so very disappointing. Inuit (the people who actually live among the polar bears) have been crying out for decades about climate change and pollution. We have been concerned about our animal populations since contact with the various countries that have colonized our lands. Instead of heeding our cries, these nations continued to occupy and rape our lands, pollute our lands, and many of our animal populations have suffered. Now, these countries that ban trade in polar bear and seal products (two species that are NOT endangered - check your facts), these very same countries send mining companies into our lands to set up shop right in caribou calving grounds, and in walrus calving grounds. But I guess the walrus aren't cute or majestic looking, so no one cares.

Now, the Inuit, who live in poverty have one less animal we can harvest to produce some cash. Make no mistake, the same number of polar bears will still be harvested for food, but now the Inuit won't be able to sell the furs. This is a case of rich, ignorant people/countries/leaders punishing the poor and making them poorer.

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