Canada’s 2009 commercial seal hunt crawls to a halt – more than 200,000 seal pups spared

Monday, June 15, 2009
Yarmouth Port, USA
Today, the Canadian government will officially close the 2009 commercial hunt for harp seals, according to IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org).  About 72,000 seal pups have been reported killed so far in the annual slaughter, only a fraction of the government’s allowable catch of 280,000 harp seals.

The decrease in the number of seals killed coincides with remarkably low prices offered for seal pelts this year and the announcement of a European Union-wide ban on the importation and marketing of seal products.  

“The lack of demand for seal products this year means that over 200,000 baby seal pups have been spared a cruel and unnecessary death" said Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with IFAW.

"There is no better time for the Canadian government to bring an end to this unnecessary slaughter and begin helping sealers transition into other industries,” she added.

This year has marked a groundswell of action against commercial seal hunts in Canada and abroad. A total of 30 countries have now banned the sale of seal products, including 7 of Canada’s top 10 export markets. Earlier this year, Russia announced a ban on the hunting of seals less than one year of age, effectively ending Russia’s commercial harp seal hunt in the White Sea.

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