New York City — More than 260,000 seal pups have been slaughtered since March 29, 2005. Through early May, Canadian seal hunters will club and shoot this season’s share of 320,000 harp and hooded seal pups on the ice floes off Newfoundland’s coast. The Canadian government subsidizes the annual slaughter; subsidies that Friends of Animals says should end immediately.

Tuesday, April 26th from 12:30pm-2:30pm, Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization, will again oppose this despicably cruel practice at the door of the Canadian Consulate General in New York City. Advocates will gather at 1251 Avenue of the Americas (50th Street & 6th Ave.) to alert New York residents that the world’s largest commercial hunt continues, and to urge Canadian Consulate General Pamela Wallin and Canadian Prime Minster Paul Martin to end the seal hunt now.

Seal pelt exports to Europe and Asia have nearly doubled each year since 2002 — the first year of the current three-year plan to kill nearly one million seals. Each pelt represents the irreplaceable life of a pup who was too young to swim away from harm. The targeted pups as young as 12 days old, are often skinned alive.

Justifications for the hunt have varied. First, we heard that seals ate too many Atlantic codfish. The latest excuse comes from Canadian seal oil salespeople. The Canadian government, since 1995, has spent tens of millions in Canadian dollars to subsidize seal processing and develop new markets for seal products.. If seal oil can be marketed, they argue, then Canadians aren’t just killing for the fur salons of Denmark, Germany, France, Greenland, China, South Korea, Norway and Canada.

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, states, “The world community should oppose Canada’s seal hunt as a matter of moralty. The resurgence of fur is responsible for Canada’s acceptance of the mass killing of seals. Renounce fur — all fur — to help seals over the long term.”

Feral adds, “Canadians should insist that their government stop the hunt subsidies now, and use the funds to build a real economic foundation for Newfoundlanders. Canada banned whale killing, and the economy adjusted. It’s long past time to end the seal hunt “

Friends of Animals’ full page ad against Canada’s seal hunt will appear in Sunday’s, April 24 issue of The New York Daily News.