Want to Help End the Seal Hunt? Boycott Canadian Seafood.
Animal and environment protection organizations have negotiated for
years with the Canadian government to put an end to its seal hunt-the
largest commercial slaughter of marine mammals in the world. But as the
kill levels and the
_seal_hunt_huge_death_count_massive_resistance.html> cruelty of the
hunt escalate, it is clear Canada will only take action once the
politics and economics surrounding this issue change.
This is why the Protect
ork.html> Seals network, which includes The HSUS, will call for a
boycott of Canadian seafood products as soon as the first baby seal is
killed in March 2005. The network believes the Canadian government will
quickly realize the economic impact of a fisheries boycott is too high a
price to pay for the seal hunt.
It is the connection between commercial fisheries and the seal hunt, and
the economics of both industries, which makes a boycott of Canadian
seafood products a logical next step in ending the annual hunt. And it
is American distributors of Canadian seafood who are the ones-perhaps
the only ones-who have the leverage needed to convince the Canadian
government and individual fishermen to stop the slaughter of seals.
seal hunt and other forms of animal cruelty.
Sealers are fishermen. Seal hunting is what they do during the
off-season in coastal Newfoundland and Quebec. Each fisherman/sealer
earns about one twentieth of his annual income from sealing. Out of a
population of more than 30 million people, less than 5,000 Canadians
participate in the commercial seal hunt each year.
Sealing accounts for a tiny fraction of the value of the fishery. Even
in Newfoundland, where 90% of sealers live, the economic contribution of
the seal hunt is marginal at best. Ninety-eight percent of the landed
value of Newfoundland's fishery comes from fish, while only 2% comes
from seals. It is important to note that Newfoundland's fishery has
never been wealthier in its history, and that the growth is due largely
The bulk of Canadian seafood-an estimated 75% of it-is exported to the
United States, generating more than $3 billion (CAD) annually for the
Canadian economy. In contrast, the seal hunt provides only a few million
dollars each year to Canada.
The Importance of Snow Crabs
Since nine out of ten sealers reside in Newfoundland, it makes sense to
target the fishermen in that region. One way to get them to listen to
the international outrage over the seal hunt is to hit them in the
pocketbook, and that means snow crabs.
More than 80% of the value of Newfoundland's fishery is from shellfish
such as snow crabs, while sealing accounts for only 2%. Canadian snow
crab exports to the United States-the bulk of which originate in
Newfoundland-are valued at more than $370 million (USD) a year. This
dwarfs the few million dollars from the seal hunt in comparison.
Almost all U.S. snow crab imports come from Canada. So simply by
eliminating just one product from their menus, American restaurants can
send a direct message to the very industry and individuals responsible
for the seal hunt.
Sign the Pledge
The Canadian government, Canada's fishing industry, and individual
sealers face an important economic decision in the coming weeks. When
the first seal pup is clubbed or shot to death this spring, the
ProtectSeals network will call for a U.S. boycott of Canadian seafood
If you own or run an American restaurant that distributes Canadian
seafood, your choice not to sell snow crabs or other Canadian seafood
products can play a vital role in helping us end the seal hunt. By
signing our pledge form, you will help us demonstrate to the Canadian
fishing community that continuing the seal hunt puts at risk the most
lucrative parts of its industry. The pledge form will be ready soon; in
the meantime, you can e-mail protect-seals@... for more
Fast Facts about Canada's Seal Hunt
It's a cruel slaughter.
* Fully 95% of the harp seals killed over the past five years have
been under three months of age. At the time of slaughter, many of these
defenseless pups had not yet eaten their first solid food or taken their
first swim-they literally had no escape from the "hunters."
* Video <http://www.hsus.org/video_clips/page.jsp?itemID=27261220>
evidence clearly shows sealers routinely dragging conscious pups across
the ice with boathooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in
agony, and even skinning seals alive.
* In 2001, an independent team of veterinary experts studied
Canada's commercial seal hunt. Their report concluded that in 42% of the
cases they examined, the seal did not show enough evidence of cranial
injury to even guarantee unconsciousness at the time of skinning.
It's a reckless cull.
* In 2003, the Canadian government authorized the
2003_2006_seal_hunt_plan.html> highest quota for harp seals in history,
allowing nearly a million to be slaughtered over three years.
* In 2004, more
_seal_hunt_huge_death_count_massive_resistance.html> than 353,000 harp
seals were killed for their fur-the largest slaughter witnessed in half
* The last time sealers killed this many seals-in the 1950s and
'60s-close to two-thirds of the harp seal population was wiped out.
The seal hunt brings in very little money.
* Even in Newfoundland, where 90% of sealers live, income from
sealing accounts for less than one-tenth of 1% of the province's
* Sealers are fishermen who engage in several fisheries throughout
the year, and sealing revenues account for only about one twentieth of
their total incomes.
Killing seals may harm fish stocks.
* About 3 % of a harp seal's diet consists of commercially fished
cod. However, harp seals also consume many significant predators of cod,
including squid. Removing harp seals may mean an increase in cod
* The Canadian government clearly states there is no evidence that
killing harp seals will help fish stocks recover, and scientists have
expressed concerns that culling seals may in fact impede the recovery of
ground fish stocks.
If you oppose the seal hunt, you're in good company.
* Polling shows 71% of Canadians-including 60% of Atlantic
Canadians-support banning the seal hunt outright, or limiting the hunt
to seals over one year of age. (Ipsos-Reid, 2004).
* In European Union countries where polling has been conducted-the
United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Netherlands-close to 80% of
people who are aware of the Canadian seal hunt oppose it (MORI, 2002).
* Polling shows 79% of American voters oppose the Canadian seal
hunt (Penn, Schoen & Berland, 2002).
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