“Want to end the cruelty, then end the hunt,” says IFAW of calls to ban hakapiks from Canadian seal hunt

Friday, 15 September, 2006
Ottawa, Canada
Calls this week by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams and Minister of Fisheries Loyola Hearn to ban clubs and hakapiks from Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt is nothing but a smokescreen diverting attention from the real issue which is the cruelty of the hunt., say experts with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org).
“If the Canadian government wants to end the cruelty of the seal hunt, then Prime Minister Harper should end it once and for all,” said Olivier Bonnet, Director of IFAW’s Canada office. “If they think there is no problem with shooting seals, they should take a look at our video footage.”
IFAW has documented Canada’s commercial seal hunt since the late 1960s and its experts have witnessed first-hand the cruelty of both the hakapik and rifle hunting of seals. IFAW has documented a single seal being shot at more than ten times, and shot seals bleeding to death on ice pans and in the water, illustrating the cruelty of this method. Two-thirds of seals killed off the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland are killed by rifle each year.
“These sealers are fishermen who go out on the ice a few days each year with a gun, they are not trained marksmen and many seals suffer a long and agonizing death,” said Bonnet.
Minister Hearn’s and Premier’s William’s attempts to clean up what they call the “optics” of the hunt come just weeks after Minister Hearn invited European MPs to observe the hunt for themselves.
“This is a desperate attempt by Minister Hearn to paint a different picture of the gruesome nature of Canada’s seal hunt,” said Bonnet. “But nothing can hide the brutality and cruelty of this hunt, from European MPs, Canadians, or the rest of the world.”
To learn more about IFAW’s efforts to end Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt of more than 325,000 seals, visit: www.ifaw.org today.

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