RE: Canadian govt. refuses Kangas' offer to save seals with $16 million (CTV)
U.S. CEO offers to raise $16M to end seal hunt
Updated Tue. Apr. 4 2006 6:10 PM ET
NEW CANAAN, Conn. The head of a U.S.-based beauty products firm says she is prepared to raise $16 million to help stop the seal hunt off Canada's East Coast.
Cathy Kangas, CEO and founder of PRAI Beauty, issued a statement Tuesday saying she had written Prime Minister Stephen Harper to outline her offer.
"Stephen Harper says . . . it's what the people of Newfoundland are surviving on,'' she said in a telephone interview from Florida. "They need the $16 million they get from selling seal pelts.
"Why can't we pay for the seal hunt and stop it ... One would think that Stephen Harper would welcome an economic solution to the seal hunt.''
Kangas said the money would be raised by private citizens and animal protection groups worldwide, though she did not offer details.
The businesswoman is a member of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and an adviser to the Humane Society of the United States. Both organizations are opposed to the seal hunt.
In recent years, the hunt has brought in between $15 million and $20 million annually for hunters in Newfoundland, Quebec and the Maritimes.
Steven Outhouse, spokesman for Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, said the federal government would not be taking Kangas up on her offer.
"Besides the fact that most within the industry say it's worth more than $16 million ... and notwithstanding the fact that this is an annual income, I don't know whether she was planning to offer $16 million a year for the next decade or if this was a one-time deal or what have you,'' he said.
"It's our position that this is a legal, regulated hunt. ... From our perspective, it is a sustainable use of a resource and that's where we stand.''
Meanwhile, Kangas said she'd like to come to Canada in a few weeks to meet with hunters involved in the annual slaughter.
She believes they've been misled by Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, who recently defended the centuries-old hunt during a televised debate with former Beatle and animal rights activist Paul McCartney.
"I'd like to meet the fishermen and say, `I know you believe your politicians and Danny Williams but what they're telling you is just not true,''' she said.
"We want to say, `Here we are. Here's a paycheque. Join the other side.'''
Kangas is also offering to work with the Canadian government to institute a buy-back program for existing hunting licenses and launch a program to promote eco-tourism -- suggestions made by McCartney when he visited the ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last month.
The hunt in the southern gulf ended last week when hunters took just under 20,000 animals.
The second phase of the hunt, in the northern Gulf, starts later this week. The catch limit there is about 70,000 seals.
The largest hunt starts April 12 off northeastern Newfoundland, an area know as the Front. That hunt is expected to land about 230,000 animals -- the vast majority of them harp seals.
This year's hunt has drawn criticism from high-profile celebrities like McCartney, Brigitte Bardot and Pamela Anderson.
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