Profiles in courage: Canadian Senator Mac Harb says no to commercial sealing

Today a debate will begin in the Canadian Senate on Senator Mac Harb’s bill to end commercial sealing.

A rational discussion of Canada’s seal hunt is long overdue in this country.

Warning: this video contains graphic footage of commercial sealing activities.

Although the 2012 seal hunt appears to have been an entirely publicly-funded operation to put seal pelts in stockpiles, it has been bizarrely hailed by some politicians as a “success”.

One of the last Canadian seal processing companies went out of business earlier this year, while the remaining processor – a Norwegian based company – required $3.6 million in public funds to help it survive.

Despite the bailout and the additional incentive it was supposed to have given sealers, only 680 sealers took part in the hunt and the landed catch of 70,000 still fell short of the 100,000 pelts that the industry claims to have markets for and, mercifully, far short of the unsustainable quota of 400,000 set by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Despite the best efforts of the Canadian government (and millions of dollars wasted) major markets such as Russia, Europe, and the United States remain closed to Canadian seal products.

Switzerland also passed a vote to ban seal products earlier this month.

Government officials continue to raise sealers hopes with promises of “gaining market access to China” – but they’ve been making that promise for at least 18 years now, and it still hasn’t materialized.

A strange definition of a successful industry, it would seem!

So long as Canadians sit by and allow politicians to waste taxes on such “successful” enterprises, the seal hunt will to continue.  But deep down we must know that heading out to the ice floes and clubbing three-week old seal pups for their fur is no way to try and earn income in this day and age. 

Like many other industries whose products are no longer needed nor desired, the end of commercial sealing is long overdue.

We at the International Fund for Animal Welfare know positive change does not come easily. 

We support Senator Harb and his courage and commitment to raising the issue of commercial sealing – a subject which has been taboo for far too long – on Parliament Hill.

--SF

Take action and contact members of the Senate of Canada, asking them to support Senator Harb’s bill to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada.  

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