Inuits could be saviours of seal skin sporrans

A seal skin sporran

A seal skin sporran

A ban on the trade of seal products by the European Union put an end to the continuation of the sale of traditional seal skin sporrans which are a vital part of Highland dress. However, a loophole in the ban could see the skin make a return with the help of the Inuit people in Canada.

The purpose of the ban imposed by the EU was to bring an end to inhumane culling of seals, but this does not apply to the Inuits and other indigenous communities who depend on the trade for their livelihoods. Kilt makers are now trying to establish whether they are permitted to purchase the skins after Ian Chisholm, of the Scottish Kilt Makers’ Association, said agents had been in touch, offering the pelts of legally-hunted seals. Mr Chisholm said:

“I got a phone call from Canada to say they could provide seal skins. Our sporran makers would be interested. It is something that has been a big loss to us.

“As far as I understand, the Inuits do have the right to sell the skins, and if that is the case then there’s a chance we could buy them.

“The next thing will be to find out whether they would be allowed to enter the country.”

The ban was voted in last May with the vast majority of MEPs in favour of it, after following a three-year public campaign over the disgust of the annual seal culls in Canada and Norway. It was only recently that the law came into force, allowing sellers of the product to only sell what was left of their current stock.

Ian Chisholm, of Chisholm’s Highland Dress in Inverness, a family-run business of more than 50 years, said:

“Seal skin is not only traditional but it is also that there are no other skins that can replace it for the quality of the finish.

“They have the coloration that blends beautifully with Highland attire.”


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One thought on “Inuits could be saviours of seal skin sporrans

  1. MacCoinneach

    Seal skin sporrans most certainly were traditional as recently as the 50’s (I owned one when I was a child) and most certainly prior to that.

    So, a question here; aren’t Scots an indigenous people like everyone else?

    They most certainly are. Unless, of course, you’re an EU bureaucrat trying to rewrite history.

    And further to that, it doesn’t matter if Scots (as a people) no longer “…depend on the trade (of seal skins) for their livelihoods”, it only matters if seal skin sporrans are part of Scottish tradition.

    Something that the article manages to establish as fact in the first paragraph with this statement, “…traditional seal skin sporrans which are a vital part of Highland dress.”

    The EU should stop employing reverse racism, and Scots should speak up when external bureaucracies discrimate against their cultural heritage.


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