Online petition – Over 220,000 signatories

The website featured an online form to sign the petition to end the trade in seal products. The petition was also present on Facebook, and ended up gathering over 220,000 signatories around the world.



Informing MEPs – Online and Glossy Newsletters


MEPs needed to be informed. There was a lot of technical, socio-economic and trade issues to be dealt with – and misinformation to be countered! We then produced a series of newsletters for MEPs, both glossy and email newsletters. The seven glossies were distributed in all the MEPs pingeonholes. In each newsletter, we also produced an update on the online petition that was signed on Facebook and on Each newsletter was also produced in an email format, and sent to all MEPs.

We also produced a special report, after discovering that seal fur products were disguised as other fur in some shops throughout the EU!

Issue N°1

HSI Newsletter Week 1 280209_01

HSI Newsletter Week 1 280209_02

Issue N°2

HSI Newsletter Week 2 050309_01HSI Newsletter Week 2 050309_02

Issue N°3

HSI Newsletter Week 3 160309_01HSI Newsletter Week 3 160309_02

Issue N°4

HSI Newsletter Week 4 260309_01

Issue N°5

HSI Newsletter Week 5 290409_01HSI Newsletter Week 5 290409_02

Special report

HSI Newsletter Week 5 special report 290409_03HSI Newsletter Week 5 special report 290409_04

Issue N°6

HSI Newsletter Week 6 210409_01HSI Newsletter Week 6 210409_02

Issue N°7

HSI Newsletter Week 7 290409_01HSI Newsletter Week 7 290409_02

Credits Photo: Fuel design

Online advertising on and

Advertising was also online.

We put flash banners on and throughout the entire campaign, rotating between the home page and the internal pages of the websites.

Click on the images below to see the ads!




Photo credits: Humane Society International and Marcus Gyger.

A dedicated website

Humane Society International created a, a dedicated European website, with regular updates on the campaign, blog posts, videos and photos from the hunt in Canada – that was happening at the same time as we were lobbying the institutions, campaigning resources for citizens, and a form to sign the online petition.


The elements of a success story.

On 5 November 2009 in Brussels, the Humane Society International’s “Ban the cruel seal trade” campaign was recognised as the Campaign of the Year at the European Public Affairs Awards 2009.

In accepting the award, Mark Glover of HSI reminded the packed auditorium that the campaign had saved the lives of a quarter of a million seals in 2009 alone before the ban had even come into force and, hopefully, would continue to do so in the future. The award was poignant as, earlier in the week, the Canadian and Norwegian governments announced their intention to challenge the EU trade ban in the World Trade Organisation.

The EPA Campaign of the Year Award is a fitting tribute to a programme that was innovative and persistent and, as a result, highly effective. Yet it could easily have been lost but for the determination of the team never to take “No” (or, at times, “Yes”) for an answer!

Scroll down to review the story of a successful campaign for a noble cause – banning the trade in seal products in the European Union.

Here are some highlights:

  • personal meetings with over 150 MEPs
  • a petition that gathered over 220,000 signatures
  • an unexpected landslide vote in favour of amendments for a total trade ban promoted by HSI in the EP’s Internal Market Committee
  • a decisive Parliamentary vote 550 “for”, 49 “against” for a first reading package agreed with Council which contained all HSI’s key positions
  • converting an insufficient simple majority in Council to a decisive qualified majority because HSI brought forward the right legal and market arguments to counter critics
  • 300,000 young seals were not slaughtered this year (out of a Canadian government quota of c. 360,000) as the market for seal pelts collapsed in anticipation of EU legislation

The Humane Society International was successful at obtaining its objectives when the entire Canadian government and diplomatic corps was deployed all across Europe to defeat it. To reach a seemingly impossible objective, we had to find new techniques. One of the reasons for the success was the outstanding way in which classical advocacy of the EU institutions was supplemented and strengthened by innovative and highly effective political communications in the public eye (through advertising, PR activities and online campaigning) which ensured that the advocacy gains were sustained to the end.

Scroll down below to view the key elements of the campaign, showing the range of the work carried out.

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If you think the HSI campaign deserves recognition, then we’d be grateful if you would vote for it (and for any of the other awards that are to be discerned). If you prefer to vote for another nominee, then that is great too – the more votes that are cast the better!

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