Actress and animal rights activist Pamela Anderson is urging an executive at the World Trade Organization (Wto) to ignore the Canadian government's request to challenge a European Union (Eu) ban on seal-fur imports.

The former Baywatch star has penned a letter to Valerie Hughes, the director of Wto's Legal Affairs Division, expressing her sadness that the government of her native Canada will not accept the ban on the "barbaric practice" of sealing, despite officials in the Eu, the U.S., Mexico, Taiwan and Russia axing the import of seal fur and products.

Anderson, who is an honorary director of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), is requesting that Hughes and the panel involved in the seal-fur dispute uphold the Eu ban during the Wto's public hearings on the issue which begin in Geneva, Switzerland next Monday (18Feb13).

She writes, "As a proud Canadian, I am saddened that Canada is trying to use the Wto to delay the inevitable demise of the cruel commercial seal trade by challenging the Eu's ban on seal fur imports... This is an ethical matter for a wide and diverse range of countries and there is now even a bill being debated in Canada that would phase out the seal slaughter...

"The Wto requires its members to exercise judgement as to whether bringing a dispute will be fruitful instead of wasting an estimated $10 million (£6.4 million) to challenge the Eu ban and offering more industry bailouts... I hope to hear that you will uphold the ban so that my beautiful Canada will leave this barbaric practice in the past."