Canada’s 2009 commercial seal hunt crawls to a halt – more than 200,000 seal pups spared

Monday, 15 June, 2009
(London – June 15, 2009) – The Canadian government is set to officially close the 2009 commercial hunt for harp seals today - with only a fraction of the quota killed in the year Europe voted to ban the cruel trade in seal products.

About 72,000 seal pups have been reported killed so far in the annual slaughter, from a government-set allowable catch of 280,000 harp seals.

The decrease in the number of seals killed coincides with falling prices for seal pelts and the announcement of a European Union-wide ban on the importation and marketing of seal products from commercial hunts.

Last month’s EU vote followed many years of dedicated campaigning by IFAW and other groups to end Canada’s cruel and unnecessary annual slaughter. The largest marine mammal hunt in the world saw up to a third of a million seals a year killed primarily to provide fur for the fashion industry.  

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “The lack of demand for seal products this year means that over 200,000 baby seal pups have been spared a cruel and unnecessary death.

“There is no better time for the Canadian government to bring an end to this unnecessary slaughter and begin helping sealers transition into other industries.”

This year has marked a groundswell of action against commercial seal hunts in Canada and abroad. A total of 30 countries have now banned the sale of seal products, including seven of Canada’s top 10 export markets. Earlier this year, Russia announced a ban on the hunting of seals less than one year of age, effectively ending Russia’s commercial harp seal hunt in the White Sea.

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