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Cruel seal hunt slaughter - Help stop it, protest and boycott Canada.

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  • [InfoNature.Org] - E-News
    ..:: TAKE ACTION - HELP STOP THE SEAL SLAUGHTER ::.. 300.000 seals and baby seals are right now being brutally killed for the fur industry ACT NOW TO HELP STOP
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2008
      300.000 seals and baby seals are right now being brutally killed for the fur industry

      http://www.stopthesealhunt.ca | http://www.hsus.org
      (See below for more on what you can do to help stop this and facts about the seal hunt)

      A very cruel hunt for their fur

      The Canadian government claims the commercial seal hunt is humane and well regulated. But experts disagree. In 2001, an international team of five independent veterinarians observed the seal hunt. The veterinarians found that 79% of the sealers did not check to see if an animal was dead before skinning it. In 40% of the kills a sealer had to strike the seal a second time, presumably because it was still conscious after the first blow or shot. And when the veterinarians examined the skulls of killed seals, 42% were found to have minimal or no fractures, suggesting a high probability that these seals were conscious when skinned.

      The veterinarian team concluded that the existing regulations were neither being respected nor enforced, and that the seal hunt is resulting in considerable and unacceptable suffering.

      Furthermore, each year, animal welfare investigators and journalists document routine abuses at the hunt. IFAW has submitted video evidence of more than 660 probable violations of Canada's Marine Mammal Regulations to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. These abuses include skinning or bleeding live seals, stockpiling dead and dying animals, dragging live seals across the ice with sharpened steel hooks and shooting seals and leaving them to suffer. To date, not a single charge has been laid in response.

      The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it is committed to proposing new regulations to address what it sees as the critical hunt issues. The International Fund for Animal Welfare stresses, however, that it is impossible to effectively regulate any commercial hunt. Unpredictable weather and ice conditions, combined with the difficulties inherent in killing a large number of wild animals very quickly, will always add up to cruelty.






      Boycott Canadian Seafood

      a.. Sign the Pledge
      b.. Ask a friend to join the boycott
      c.. Urge your grocer to join the boycott
      d.. Ask these businesses to join the boycott
      e.. Give the pledge to restaurants and stores [PDF]
      f.. Download the Pocket Guide [PDF]
      g.. Download the Restaurant Card [PDF]
      h.. Find restaurants participating in the boycott
      i.. Download the informational brochure [PDF]

      Contact Canada's Government
      a.. Email Minister of International Trade Emerson
      b.. Ask a friend to email Emerson
      c.. Email Prime Minister Harper
      d.. Ask a friend to email Harper

      Contact U.S. and EU Officials
      a.. Ask your senators to support the Levin Resolution condemning the seal hunt
      b.. Sign the petition to ban seal product trade in the European Union

      Download Cool Stuff and Get Creative
      a.. Web badges and banners
      b.. MySpace layout
      c.. Videos
      d.. Desktop wallpaper
      e.. Make a LOLseal

      Gear Up with Seal Merchandise
      a.. Nigel Barker's Save Me Seal Tee
      b.. Club Sandwiches Not Seals Hoodie
      c.. Save Our Seals Heart Tee
      d.. ProtectSeals Sticker
      e.. ProtectSeals Ringer Tee
      f.. Stop the Seal Hunt Henley
      g.. Stop the Seal Hunt Baseball Cap
      h.. No Fur Heart Buttons

      Get the Facts
      a.. Fast Facts (html | PDF)
      b.. Myths and Facts (html | PDF)
      c.. Seals and Cod (html | PDF)
      d.. Hunt Economics (html | PDF)
      e.. Why Canada's Government Supports the Hunt (html | PDF)
      f.. Harp Seal Populations in the Northwest Atlantic (PDF)

      Fur-Free Campaign
      Restaurants, Chefs, and Companies Taking Action in Support of the ProtectSeals Campaign
      What You Can Do to Make the Canadian Seafood Boycott a Success

      Boycott Canada: A Respect for Animals Campaign
      The Fur Free Alliance


      Facts About the Canadian Seal Hunt

      ©2005 Brian Skerry/HSUS
      Canada's annual commercial seal hunt is the largest commercial hunt of marine mammals on the planet. Facing harsh criticism the world over because of the hunt's cruelty and unsustainability, the Canadian government and fishing industry have spread much misinformation. Here are the basic facts about the hunt.

      Which Seals Are Targeted by Canada's Seal Hunt?

      Harp seals are the primary target of the commercial seal hunt, and to a much smaller extent, hooded seals are also killed. In 2006, 98 percent of the harp seals killed were pups under just three months of age.

      Where Are the Seals Killed?

      Canada's commercial seal hunt occurs on the ice floes off Canada's East Coast in two areas: the Gulf of St. Lawrence (west of Newfoundland and east of the Magdalen Islands) and the "Front" (northeast of Newfoundland).

      Who Kills Seals and Why?

      Sealing is an off-season activity conducted by fishermen from Canada's East Coast. They make, on average, a small fraction of their annual incomes from sealing-and the rest from commercial fisheries. Even in Newfoundland, where 90 percent of sealers live, the government estimates there are less than 6,000 fishermen who actively participate in the seal hunt each year.

      How Are the Seals Killed?

      The Canadian Marine Mammal Regulations, which govern the hunt, stipulate sealers may kill seals with wooden clubs, hakapiks (large ice-pick-like clubs) and guns. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, clubs and hakapiks are the killing implement of choice, and in the Front, guns are more widely used.

      It is important to note that each killing method is demonstrably cruel. Because sealers shoot at seals from moving boats, the pups are often only wounded. The main sealskin processing plant in Canada deducts $2 from the price they pay for the skins for each bullet hole they find-therefore sealers are loath to shoot seals more than once. As a result, wounded seals are often left to suffer in agony-many slip beneath the surface of the water where they die slowly and are never recovered.

      Is the Seal Hunt Cruel?

      Yes. In 2001, a report by an independent team of veterinarians who studied the hunt concluded that governmental regulations regarding humane killing were neither being respected nor enforced, and that the seal hunt failed to comply with Canada's basic animal welfare standards. Shockingly, the veterinarians found that in 42 percent of the cases they studied, the seals had likely been skinned alive while conscious.

      Parliamentarians, journalists, and scientists who observe Canada's commercial seal hunt each year continue to report unacceptable levels of cruelty, including sealers dragging conscious seals across the ice floes with boat hooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in agony, stockpiling dead and dying animals, and even skinning seals alive.

      How Many Seals Are Killed Each Year?

      Hundreds of thousands. In fact, over the past three years, nearly one million seals have been killed. The current kill levels are higher than they have been in half a century. During the 2006 hunt, the Canadian government allowed fishermen to club and shoot at least 354,344 seals. The last time seals were killed at this rate-in the 1950s and '60s-the harp seal population was reduced by nearly two thirds.

      And the actual number of seals killed is probably far higher than the number reported. Many seals are shot at and injured in the course of the hunt, and studies suggest that a significant number of these animals slip beneath the surface of the water, where they die slowly and are never recovered.

      Are There Any Penalties When Hunters Exceed the Government's Quota?

      No. In 2002, the Canadian government knowingly allowed sealers to exceed the quota by more than 37,000 animals. Sealers had already killed substantially more than the quota allowed by May 15 (the regulated closing date of the seal hunt), and yet the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans chose to extend the sealing season until June. In 2004, sealers killed close to 16,000 seals more than the permitted quota. Again, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans extended the sealing season until well into June.

      What Products Are Made from Seals?

      Seals are killed primarily for their fur, which is used to produce fashion garments and other items. There is a small market for seal oil (both for industrial purposes and for human consumption), and seal penises have been sold in Asian markets as an aphrodisiac. There is almost no market for the meat, so seal carcasses are normally left to rot on the ice.

      Is the Seal Hunt Economically Important?

      No. Sealing is an off-season activity conducted by fishermen from Canada's East Coast. They make, on average, one twentieth of their incomes from seal hunting and the rest from commercial fisheries. Even in Newfoundland, where 90 percent of sealers live, revenues from the hunt account for less than 1 percent of the province's economy and only 2 percent of the landed value of the fishery. According to the Newfoundland government, out of a population of half a million people, less than 6,000 fishermen participate in the seal hunt each year.

      The commercial seal hunt is an activity that Canada's federal government could easily replace with economic alternatives, should it choose to do so.

      Does the Government Subsidize the Hunt?

      Yes. According to reports from the Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment, more than $20 million in subsidies were provided to the sealing industry between 1995 and 2001. Those subsidies came from entities such as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Human Resources Development Council, and Canada Economic Development-Quebec. These subsidies take a variety of forms, including funding the salaries for seal processing plant workers, market research and development trips, and capital acquisitions for processing plants. In 2004, more than $400,000 was provided by the Canadian government to companies for the development of seal products, and as recently as April 2007, the Canadian Coast Guard-at the taxpayer's expense-broke through the ice for the sealing vessels as it does each year. In 2007, the Canadian Coast Guard estimates that it spent an additional $3.5 million rescuing sealing vessels.

      Moreover, Canada's commercial seal hunt is also indirectly subsidized by the Norwegian government. A Norwegian company purchases close to 80% of the sealskins produced in Canada in any given year through its Canadian subsidiary. These skins are shipped in an unprocessed state directly to Norway, where they are tanned and re-exported. The Norwegian government provides significant financial assistance to this company each year.

      Is It True Seals Are Jeopardizing the Canadian Cod Fishery?

      There is no evidence to support this contention. Some fishing industry lobby groups try to claim that seals must be culled to protect fish stocks, but nothing could be further from the truth.

      The scientific community agrees that the true cause of the depletion of fish stocks off Canada's East Coast is human over-fishing. Blaming seals for disappearing fish is a convenient way for the fishing industry to divert attention from its irresponsible and environmentally destructive practices that continue today.

      In truth, seals, like all marine mammals, are a vital part of the ecosystem of the Northwest Atlantic. Harp seals, which are the primary target of the hunt, are opportunistic feeders, meaning they eat many different species. So while approximately 3 percent of a harp seal's diet may be commercially fished cod, harp seals also eat many significant predators of cod, such as squid. That is why some scientists are concerned that culling harp seals could further inhibit recovery of commercially valuable fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic.

      Are Seals Overpopulated?

      No. The Canadian government and sealing industry have, at various times, tried to claim that the harp seal population has "tripled" over the past three decades, or that the harp seal population is "exploding," or that seals are overpopulated.

      This is misleading at best. The harp seal population in the Northwest Atlantic is the world's largest; it is a migratory population that spans the distance between Canada and Greenland, and is supposed to number in the many millions.

      In the 1950s and '60s, over-hunting wiped out close to two-thirds of the harp seal population. By 1974, the population was considered to be in serious trouble, and senior government scientists recommended suspending the commercial hunt for at least 10 years.

      In the early 1980s, the European Union banned the import of whitecoat seal skins, effectively removing the principal market for the hunt at the time. For the next decade, the numbers of seals killed in the hunt dramatically declined, and the harp seal population began to recover.

      But in the 1990s, the Canadian government rejuvenated the commercial seal hunt through massive subsidies. And with nearly one million seal pups killed in the past three years alone, we can only wonder what the impact will be on the harp seal population in coming years. Scientists have already sounded the alarm regarding the poor science used by the Canadian government to set quotas for the number of seals killed.


      Canadians Give a Thumbs Up to the Protect Seals Campaign
      Designers Who Use Seal Fur and Skin
      Dispatches: Reporting from the 2006 Canadian Seal Hunt
      Give Seals a Chance: An Interview with Paul McCartney
      Heather and Paul McCartney Bring Hope, and a Media Spotlight, to Canada's Seals
      International Day of Action Against the Canadian Seal Hunt
      Levin Leads Congressional Opposition to Canada's Seal Hunt
      News Reports from the 2005 Seal Hunt
      Playing a Deadly Numbers Game: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota
      Protect Seals: What You Can Do
      Rally for the Seals Statement by Naomi Rose (March 3, 2004)
      Rebecca Aldworth's Journal for the 2005 Seal Hunt
      Senator Carl Levin's Statement on the Canadian Seal Hunt
      The Protect Seals Network
      The Rally for the Seals Statement by IFAW's Rebecca Aldworth (November 5, 2003)
      The Rally for the Seals Statement by The HSUS's Naomi Rose (November 5, 2003)
      The Truth
      Want to Help End the Seal Hunt? Boycott Canadian Seafood.
      Witness to the Hunt

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