Senator to introduce groundbreaking legislation to end seal hunt?

Friday, February 27, 2009
Ottawa – Canada
The International Fund for Animal Welfare welcomes the report  that Senator Mac Harb may be introducing legislation calling for an end to Canada’s commercial seal hunt. If the news is accurate, it would mark the first time a Canadian politician has introduced legislation to put an end the largest remaining marine mammal slaughter in the world.

“This would be an historic moment – a moment that marks the beginning of the inevitable end to Canada’s commercial seal hunt,” said renowned Canadian lawyer Clayton Ruby. “Senator Harb would be demonstrating incredible leadership and courage by speaking out on behalf of the majority of Canadians on this issue.”

“The Conservative government and its Department of Fisheries and Oceans are clearly becoming desperate in the face of seal product bans in Europe and yesterday’s announcement that Russia is finalizing plans to ban the hunt for seal pups in the White Sea”, said Dr. David Lavigne, Science Advisor at IFAW. “Given the current government’s track record for accuracy on this issue, it’s entirely possible that the DFO news release attacking Senator Harb may be erroneous but, if true, IFAW applauds the Senator for speaking out on behalf of the majority of Canadians.”

Recent  public opinion polls indicate the majority of Canadians continue to oppose the commercial seal hunt and would like to see it ended. The announcement, if confirmed, also arrives at a time when the sealing industry is in economic turmoil. Seal pelt prices are expected to drop yet again this year, with very little worldwide demand for seal fur, and the European Union considering a trade ban on all non-aboriginal seal products,  

“Canada’s commercial seal hunt is an anachronism from the 19th Century”, Ruby concluded. “It is inherently inhumane and unethical, biologically unsustainable, and incredibly wasteful. There is no place for this hunt in the 21st Century here in Canada or anywhere else”.

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
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Sheryl Fink, Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union