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27 March 2006 - Canadas cruel seal hunt begins, HSI hopes it will be the last      

Canada’s cruel seal hunt begins, HSI hopes it will be the last

Sydney, 27 March 2006                                            
                                                                                                              

Canada’s annual seal hunt, the largest commercial slaughter of marine mammals on the planet, began this weekend. Over the next few weeks 325,000 baby harp seals will be shot or clubbed to death and once again Humane Society International’s US office has a team on the ice floes to bear witness to the unspeakable cruelties that take place.

Last year 98.5% of the seals killed were two months old or younger and it was clear that humane killing guidelines are not enforced. Veterinary reports indicate that many seals are skinned while still conscious and able to feel pain.

“During past hunts the HSI team has witnessed seals being dragged conscious across the ice with boathooks, seals skinned alive and others left to die slow and agonising deaths in their own blood. The daily reports from the team on the ice are very difficult to read,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Wildlife and Habitats Program Manager.

This year Heather and Paul McCartney have joined the protests against the hunt, making a public plea to the Canadian Government to buy back the hunters licences, compensate them and ban the hunt.

Together with a powerful alliance of like-minded organisations, HSI is organising a boycott of all Canadian seafood. Almost ¾ of Canadian seafood is exported to the United States each year, contributing nearly $3 billion for the Canadian economy annually. HSI is the largest animal protection organisation in the United States and our 10 million US supporters have been asked to join the boycott where they can have a significant impact.

“Already more than 400 seafood wholesalers, restaurants and grocery chains in the United States have pledged to eliminate or reduce sales of Canadian seafood until the hunt is stopped for good,” said Ms Beynon.

Another strategy is to close down the international markets for seal products and countries such as Greenland, Mexico and Italy have taken steps to ban the import of sealskins. “When countries stop buying sealskins, there will be no reason for the sealers to kill the seals. HSI is asking all countries to stop buying seal products so this massive annual slaughter can stop,” said Ms Beynon.

HSI is determined that the political and commercial pressures we are exerting will finally persuade the Canadian Government to make this the last year they allow this cruel and massive slaughter to take place.





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