Newfoundland Projects Budget Surplus: Congratulations! Now the Commercial Seal Hunt Can End
Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy has just announced a projected 1.27 billion dollar surplus for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador - the very province where the majority of seals are killed during Canada's commercial seal hunt each spring.
IFAW congratulates the Province on this historic achievement. And now that Newfoundland and Labrador can enjoy the status of being among the "have" provinces of Canada, there is no better time to bring an end its cruel, unsustainable, and unnecessary killing of seal pups.
We've long known that Canada's commercial seal hunt brings in very little economic benefit . In fact, this hunt continues to exist only because of support from the Canadian government. Year after year, taxpayer dollars are wasted on trying to develop marketable seal products, on expensive international junkets to lobby foreign governments to keep their doors open to seal products, and on efforts to overthrow national bans on seal products put in place by countries that - quite rightfully - do not wish to be part of this annual slaughter. In light of the good news out of Newfoundland and Labrador, the federal government should now cease all subsidies and stop propping up the economically non-viable commercial seal hunt.
We also know that in recent years, the value of Canada's commercial seal hunt has plummeted - from $30 million (CAD) in 2006, to $11 million in 2007, and a mere $6.5 million in 2008. One by one, countries are closing their doors to Canadian seal products, and a proposal for a European-wide ban (link to our July 23 release) on seal products is being considered. The reality is that the world does not want - or need - products made from dead baby seals. Canada's commercial seal hunt is a dying industry. Instead of throwing good money after bad to prop up the seal hunt, investments should instead be made in providing sealers with long-term, sustainable employment opportunities.
As the demand for unnecessary seal products dwindles, and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador becomes more prosperous, there is no better time for this inhumane, unsustainable and anachronistic slaughter to end.
Sheryl Fink is a Senior Researcher with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.