Seal penises to enhance performance? The Canadian government is desperately seeking new markets for seal products

the Canadian government recommends the international marketing of seal penises.
Friday, 12 June, 2015
Guelph, Canada

A recently released study commissioned by the Canadian government recommends the international marketing of seal penises as ingredients in energy drinks. The genitalia would be obtained by killing 140.000 grey seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence – 70 percent of the current population. Fishermen have repeatedly called for a grey seal cull in order to reverse the decline of commercially traded fish-species like cod — but scientists say that killing seals isn’t the answer to declining fish stocks. The Fur Institute of Canada was tasked to find possible marketing opportunities for slaughtered seal carcasses. According to media reports the Canadian Fisheries Department is currently “considering” the report. Implementing the recommendations would cost more than $20 million Canadian dollars.

“It is an outrageous sign of desperation that our government is now considering wasting millions of tax dollars to peddle seal penis potions as aphrodisiacs,” said Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW’s Seal Program. “Surely this money could be better used to directly benefit fishermen and rural communities in Atlantic Canada.”

For decades the call for such mass-killings of seals has been raised when the cod stocks decrease. But there is no scientific evidence that killing seals will bring back the cod. To remove apex predators like seals from the ecosystem could have catastrophic consequences for other species, including those fished commercially. 

To minimize the costs for the grey seal hunt, the Fur Institute of Canada suggests selling seal penises and testicles to ethnic minorities in Canadian cities and to Asian markets – as virility-enhancing medicine and energy-drinks for athletes. But with no demand for such products, the plan recommends investing 5 million Canadian dollars in a PR-campaign – to be paid for by the Canadian taxpayer.

The study itself states that there is no market for the pelts of adult grey seals. In 2014 just 82 of a 60,000 animal quota were killed.

For 30 years the Canadian government tried unsuccessfully to open up new markets for seal-meat. Trade-bans for seal-products in 35 countries, including the EU, have brought the trade with seal fur to the lowest level in history during recent years.

Ends

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Sheryl Fink, Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations