IFAW condemns Conservative government’s attempt to hide outrageous seal hunt quota

Friday, March 20, 2009
Ottawa, Canada
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has denounced today’s announcement by the Government of Canada that it will allow the slaughter of 280,000 harp seal pups this year.

“This is outrageous” said Sheryl Fink, Senior Researcher at IFAW.  “This quota is completely indefensible. It’s not supported by markets, it’s not supported by the DFO’s own management plan, and it’s certainly not going to be supported by the majority of Canadians.”

“For the past two years we’ve seen saturated markets for seal fur, and pelt prices are now the lowest in recent memory.  If this is a market-based hunt, as the government claims, the quota for this year should be zero.”

IFAW also criticized the fact that a quota of 280,000 exceeds the level that government scientists say is needed to keep within their management plan. “DFO scientists have publicly said that a quota of this size will deplete the harp seal population by more than 30%.  Today’s announcement proves what we’ve been saying all along, that this management plan is a facade, to be abandoned when it doesn’t fit the Minister’s political agenda.”

Canada’s commercial seal hunt will be under intense scrutiny this year, as the European Union considers banning the trade in seal products.  

“The federal government’s determination to ignore reality on this issue is totally irrational” said Fink.  “There are no markets for seal products, and with a potential European-wide ban on the horizon, no signs that the economic outlook is going to improve anytime soon. While our politicians trip over themselves to support commercial sealing, our taxes are being wasted on bailing out an anachronistic, dangerous, dead-end industry” concluded Fink.

“How ironic that two days after Russia announced an end to its commercial harp seal hunt, Canada is condemning one-third of the pups born here to a cruel and unnecessary death” said Fink. “Our government is insistent on keeping Canada stuck in the dark ages” continued Fink, “Canadians would be much better served by a government that will stop playing politics, stop wasting our taxes, and start investing in alternative, economically viable employment opportunities.”

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