IFAW urges Chinese consumers to reject cruelty-tainted seal products

Wednesday, 12 January, 2011
Toronto, Canada
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org) is skeptical about today’s announcement that the Canadian Government has reached an agreement to sell seal products to China. IFAW believes that Chinese consumers, like those in the European Union, will not condone the horrific slaughter of seal pups and will reject meat and oil that is ‘tainted’ by cruelty.

IFAW asserts that while this is a political agreement between China and Canada, Chinese consumers will be the ones to decide the fate of seal products. Once Chinese consumers are made aware of the realities of Canada’s commercial seal hunt, IFAW believes that they will reject the products, thereby making the deal irrelevant.  

“The Canadian Government can try and try again to dump unwanted seal products on other countries, but as the EU ban has shown, they may not succeed,” said Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW’s Seal Program, “Chinese consumers are more ethical and more aware of the truth about the seal hunt than the Canadian Government is giving them credit for.” Fink added.

“This is a slap on the face for China, Chinese culture and Chinese people,” Grace Ge Gabriel, IFAW’s Asia Regional Director, angrily objected, “China is not a dumping ground for Canadian seal products and Chinese consumers should not shoulder the ethical responsibility of paying for the cruel slaughter of seals in Canada.”

The ban on seal products in the European Union is a case study for how consumer outcry and the animal welfare movement can create a ‘perfect storm’ to close the door on Canadian seal products.

“The Chinese may not want seal products any more than people in the EU or the USA”, said Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW’s Seal Program, “Rather than wasting time and money on pursuing extremely uncertain markets, the Canadian Government should be investing in sustainable futures for sealers and working to protect Canada’s wild seals.”

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Sheryl Fink, Campaign Director, Canadian Wildlife
Campaign Director, Canadian Wildlife
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations