The commercial seal hunt is an inhumane practice, killing tens of thousands of innocent marine mammals every year. It’s also incredibly wasteful, with 80% of the biomass of slaughtered seals being left on the ice.
The hunt has been slowly dying for decades, but is being kept on life support by millions of dollars in financial support from governments in Ottawa and St. John’s.
Countless tax dollars have been spent developing crazy new products, like blubber-based diesel fuel, and providing free seal meat to animal feed producers. But there’s just no market for seal products, either here at home or internationally, and eventually all of these efforts have failed.
Most recently, the federal government has spent millions fighting a legal battle against a European Union ban on the import of seal products. And after they lost the fight at the World Trade Organization last November, they decided to appeal, throwing even more money away trying to force Europeans to take a product they don’t want.
What’s more, government subsidies are now filling the coffers of a privately-owned Norwegian company, Carino Ltd, the only major seal processor left in Newfoundland. You have to ask the question: when seal hunting remains a risky and dangerous activity, and the cost to taxpayers is greater than its landed value, why are Canadians and Newfoundlanders subsidizing the profits of a foreign company?
The commercial seal hunt is an important part of Newfoundland’s history, but it’s time to leave it in the past and help those few Newfoundlanders who still participate in it to transition out. Please send a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea telling them to stop supporting the commercial seal hunt. It’s time.