IFAW Congratulates the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador on Projected Budget Surplus

OTTAWA, CANADA--(Marketwire - Dec. 10, 2008) - The projected 1.27
billion dollar surplus announced today by Jerome Kennedy, Finance
Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, is being applauded by the
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

"For years, the Canadian government has been claiming that the
commercial seal hunt is economically important to the province of
Newfoundland and Labrador. With the value of the 2008 seal hunt the
lowest in recent memory, and the provincial economy at an all-time
high, this clearly is no longer the case," Sheryl Fink, Senior
Researcher at IFAW. "The economic necessity of Canada's commercial seal
hunt is one more myth that can be laid to rest."

In recent years, the value of Canada's commercial seal hunt has
plummeted, due in part to a dramatic drop in the price of seal pelts,
poor sales, and disappearance of international markets for seal
products. Increased costs and unpredictable ice conditions have also
discouraged some from taking part in the annual slaughter. The
Department of Fisheries and Oceans claims the landed value of the 2008
seal hunt in Newfoundland as $6.5 million, down from $11 million in
2007, and $30 million in 2006.

"As the demand disappears for unnecessary seal products, there is
absolutely no better time for governments to stop propping up Canada's
commercial seal hunt," said Fink. "We've known for a long time that the
commercial seal hunt costs Canadians more than it benefits us. We pay
for it both with our taxes and with our international reputation... now
that Newfoundland and Labrador is officially a 'have' province, federal
support for the commercial seal hunt should end," continued Fink.

The expected budget surplus, combined with the federal government's
recent declaration to review all expenditures, means there is no reason
for the Canadian taxpayer to continue to foot the bill for the
economically unviable, inhumane and unsustainable commercial seal hunt.
"The government of Newfoundland and Labrador should invest some of its
surplus in providing sealers with long-term, economically viable
employment options... jobs that have a real future," said Fink. 

For more information, please contact

IFAW Canada
Kim Cormack
Communications Officer
613-241-3982 ext. 225
613-355-3281 (Mobile)

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