IFAW's Sheryl Fink: Cozy cabal at work promoting seal industry

FROM: Cape Breton Post

DATE: Mon 23 Feb 2009

Letter to the Editor: Cozy cabal at work promoting seal industry

The Feb. 19 article, Fur Institute Helps with Seal Harvest, reveals a dizzying level of collusion existing among the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Fur Institute of Canada, certain "independent" veterinarians, and the seal processing industry.
You report that the fur institute stepped in to assist Cape Breton sealers by lining up a buyer, NuTan Furs, to purchase 200 pelts.

It is, of course, no coincidence that the director of sales of NuTan furs, Dion Dakins, is also a vice-chairman on the board of the FIC.

Similarly, the lead veterinarian conducting the undescribed "research," Pierre-Yves Daoust, is also a director of the FIC.

The FIC has received funds from DFO for initiatives relating to the seal hunt. Similarly, the "research" on Hay Island is being funded by DFO.

Dr. Daoust was also a member of the so-called Independent Veterinarians' Working Group whose report is often misrepresented by DFO to support its claims that Canada's commercial seal hunt is humane.

In retrospect, it is clear that such collusion has been going on for some time. As part of its marine mammal regulatory review process last year, for example, DFO reportedly created a working group to provide advice on improving animal welfare in the seal hunt. This group included both the fur institute's director, Dr. Daoust, a pathologist, and the pelt processor executive, Mr. Dakins.

In addition to the insight that DFO is taking animal welfare advice from a representative of a seal processing company - an industry that doesn't even deal with whole animals, much less live ones - your article confirms that the composition of this working group had less to do with animal welfare expertise than with membership in a cabal dedicated to propping up a dying sealing industry.

Sheryl Fink is a senior researcher and projects specialist, with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

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