Cruelty to continue under 'new' Canadian seal hunt regulations

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

Today, experts with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) denounced the Canadian government’s claims that a new condition of license will improve the humaneness of Canada’s commercial seal hunt. The so-called ‘new’ regulations make no real changes to the way seals can be killed. They simply call for bleeding to be conducted at some point,  “where possible” or even after the seal is finally brought onto the deck of a sealing vessel.

“Now that I have seen the actual text of the new condition of license, I’m left speechless by its inadequacy.” said Sheryl Fink, IFAW senior researcher and veteran seal hunt observer. “The impaling of live and conscious seals on steel hooks and hoisting them onto boats is still permitted – I don’t know anyone who would call that an improvement in humaneness.”

“This new requirement in no way reflects the recommendations made by numerous veterinary panels, who have clearly said that seals should be stunned, checked for irreversible unconsciousness, and bled out immediately to ensure humane slaughter” said Fink. 

“The so-called “new” procedure requires sealers only to bleed out animals “where possible.” For the Canadian government to claim that the new requirement reflects the recommendations of veterinarians is simply dishonest,” added Fink.

“These ‘rule changes’ are obviously designed to deceive the world that this inherently cruel hunt can be made humane, and to forestall a ban on trade in seal products currently under consideration by the European Commission,” said Robbie Marsland, IFAW’s UK Director. “But Europeans won’t be so easily fooled,” he concluded.

On the eve of Canada’s 2008 commercial seal hunt, IFAW observers are gearing up to document hunting activity in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This year, 275,000 harp seals are set to be slaughtered. Over 224,000 seals were killed in last year’s hunt, 98.5% of which were under three months old.

For more information on IFAW’s campaign to end the largest hunt for marine mammals in the world, visit www.stopthesealhunt.com.

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Experts

Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Robbie Marsland, Regional Director, United Kingdom
Regional Director, United Kingdom
Sheryl Fink, Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Wildlife Campaigns Director, IFAW Canada
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union