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Norway has cut 12 million kroner from the seal hunting subsidy budget starting next year because of ‘economic priorities.’

Amund Ringdal, State Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, told NTB: “Seal hunting businesses are run by 80 percent subsidies.

“When they are removed, the consequences will clearly be big. But we cannot say whether it’s the final nail in the coffin for Norwegian seal hunting.”

Geir Pollestad with the Centre Party said: “In reality, the government gave in to pressure from extreme animal rights organizations and the EU, and did not have an understanding of the historical roots of seal hunting and its role in the management of ecosystems.”

Animal organizations welcomed the news. “This is brilliant news and it will save tens of thousands of seals a cruel death. This is also tremendous success for the EU ban on commercial seal products. By closing our markets to cruelty Europeans can be proud of ending cruelty elsewhere,” said Sonja Van Tichelen, IFAW EU Regional Director.

“It seems clear that the conservative Norwegian government has realised that the bans on commercial seal products in 34 countries are not going away, rather, it is commercial sealing whose time has come,” continued Van Tichelen.

In 2014, about 11,980 seals were caught in Norway.

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