IFAW Gives EU a Look at the Seals They Could be Protecting
Striking footage of newborn seal pups on Canadian ice floes was projected by the International Fund for Animal Welfare near the Commission and other European Union institutions. Why? To reveal the shocking reality that the seals being born this month are amongst those who could be dead in weeks - killed by sealers for their fur pelts, many of which find their way into fashion houses across Europe.
But more positively, we were there to remind MEPs and Ministers (who were that day discussing a ban in the trade of seal products from commercial hunts) that they have a unique chance to deliver a body-blow to commercial seal hunts in Canada and around the world by voting for a full and unconditional EU-wide ban in the trade in seal products. This crucial vote takes place in the European Parliament next month.
The projection was a simple idea, but its planning less so. Firstly, we needed pictures of the baby harp seals days after their birth. IFAW's J.C. Bouvier traveled to Canada armed with a video camera to capture these magical moments. Close up images (acquired with a powerful zoom) showed newborn pups suckling from their mothers, some so young their umbilical cords were still plainly visible. The young pups filmed are called "whitecoats" because of their white fur which begins to molt from approximately 12 days.
This footage was edited into a short looped film clip with captions that explained:
You are looking at seal pups born this month in Canada. In just a few weeks the ice will turn red...
A quarter of a million seal pups will be slaughtered Help stop this cruelty - support a total EU ban on seal products!" IFAW is lobbying the Parliament and Ministers to support a full and unconditional ban and to make sure no loopholes remain. This would send a clear message to Canada that Europe wants no part in this cruel hunt.
Failure to introduce a total ban, on the other hand, will condemn hundreds of thousands more seals to a needless slaughter in the years to come.
These thoughts were central in our minds as - despite the chilly temperatures and a steady rain - the IFAW Brussels team led by Lesley O'Donnell gathered on the Rue de la Loi last night. As the giant 12m x 12m projection beamed onto the side of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, passing cars, tourist coaches and some bedraggled pedestrians and cyclists slowed to look up at the larger than life seal images transported from their icy playgrounds to this concrete jungle, where their fate could be determined. Several IFAW supporters also came down in the rain to show their support and tell us how important our campaigning efforts are to help end the hunt. It was a poignant reminder of how much people care, and just why our political representatives must do the right thing next month and ban the trade outright. There can be no compromise on cruelty.
This post was filed by Rosa Argent, U.K. Communications Manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.