Nation-wide poll shows Canadians continue to oppose seal hunt.

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Guelph, Canada
A new poll conducted by Environics Research Group for IFAW  (The International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) shows that the majority of Canadians remain firmly opposed to Canada’s commercial hunt of seal pups, and are opposed to the federal government’s use of their taxes to support it.

Among the findings of the nation-wide poll:

  • 77% of Canadians stated that pups under one year of age should be protected.  According to statistics provided by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, pups under of one year of age have comprised the entire commercial seal hunt in recent years
  • 62% of Canadian disagree with the statement that there are “too many seals”.
  • 65% of Canadians agree that the way seals are killed is inhumane.

Canadians are also opposed to current efforts by the federal government to support the sealing industry on the international stage:

  • 70% agree that the commercial seal hunt damages Canada’s  international reputation.
  • 66% of Canadians think it is more likely that, in the future, other countries will close their markets to seal products.
  • 57% of Canadians feel that the EU ban on seal products is a step in the right direction.
  • 57% of Canadians say that Canadian government’s move to challenge the EU ban on seal products is a step in the wrong direction.

Canadians continue to say “Not with my taxes” when it comes to government support for the seal hunt, with two-thirds (66%) of Canadians opposed to the federal government using tax dollars to promote the commercial seal hunt for activities such as sending parliamentary delegations to lobby foreign governments and promote the seal hunt, funding the development and marketing of new products made from seals, and launching legal challenges against seal product bans.

When asked which of the following statements was closest to their own opinion about how tax dollars should be spent, 61% said tax dollars should be used to bring about an end to the seal hunt and compensate sealers, with only 31% saying tax dollars should be used to promote the hunt.  An overwhelming 79% of Canadians approved of the use of tax dollars for a program to transition sealers into other industries.

It will be up to federal politicians to decide if they will take notice of public opinion before the next election.  Twenty-four per cent (24%) of Canadians say they would be more likely to vote for a political party or candidate in a federal election that announced that they would phase out Canada’s commercial seal hunt. Only 16% said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate that committed to ending the seal hunt.

The poll casts doubts on findings released by the Fur Institute of Canada earlier this month, which claimed that the majority of Canadians supported commercial seal hunting, provided it was conducted humanely and the species was not endangered.

“This is a misleading interpretation of results obtained using a hypothetical question” noted Sheryl Fink, Researcher with the IFAW. “Years of observation and veterinary reports have demonstrated that Canada’s commercial seal hunt is neither humane nor well regulated.  Canadians have spoken, and it is clear that opposition remains strong to the cruel, unnecessary, and shameful seal slaughter” concluded Fink.

The Environics National Telephone Omnibus Survey presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a national random sample of 2,142 adults comprising 1070 males and 1072 females 18 years of age and older, living in Canada. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 2.12%, 19 times out of 20.   Interviewing for the survey was completed during the period May 18 - 26, 2010.  Results are for respondents offering an opinion.

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