UPDATE: Rallying and Marching for Canadian Seals — March 15th, New York City

Beginning mid-March, and lasting for about six weeks, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will have up to 300,000 baby seals clubbed or shot and killed off Newfoundland’s coast. In 2008, the Department recorded a total of just over 219,000 harp and grey seals slaughtered on the ice. The Canadian government insists the kill provides economic opportunities for Canada’s coastal communities. Reality check: The government squanders a lot on these bloody ice follies. Canadians’ money provides support in the form of icebreakers, helicopters, patrol planes, Coast Guard salaries, and legal expenses, including payments for four drownings and two more near-drownings of seal kill crewmembers.

Currently, the seal pelts derived from this kill, when expenses are subtracted, net about 6 million Canadian dollars — one tenth of 1% of Newfoundland’s GDP, according to Toronto-based lawyer and journalist Murray Teitel. In “The Millions Ottawa Spends Subsidizing the Seal Hunt” (Financial Post; 17 Apr. 2008), Teitel wrote, “This $6-million costs Canadians at least 10 times as much and does so year after year.” That’s because of the use of the highly expensive Coast Guard for rescues on the treacherous ice, the constant marketing efforts and attempts to overcome NAFTA and four European countries’ seal pelt bans — and dealing with all those legal expenses and dead kill workers. Seal pelts are sold in Norway, Russia, Eastern Europe, and China, and in Canada itself.

People everywhere should firmly and constantly make it known that fur of any kind is not a wardrobe accessory; it’s a deprivation of others’ lives. Canada’s annual seal kill should not exist. It is violent, unjust, morally degrading. And now we see it is also a travesty of economics. The members and supporters of Friends of Animals demand that the Canadian government end the seal slaughter immediately. Opportunities within respectful eco-tourism and green technologies should be encouraged, and coastal residents should be enabled to pursue careers in these fields. If the Canadian government wishes to offer genuine support to Newfoundland, it could and should get on with it, and let the seals be. Join us in sending this message to those who should lead this initiative to stop the massacre.

1. Ask the heads of Canadian environmentalist groups to ENDORSE FoA’s STATEMENT. E-mail us the names of any who do: edita@friendsofanimals.org

2. YOUR URGENT ATTENTION IS NEEDED; please remember what the seals face in just days, drop everything for a few minutes, and contact:

  • Canadian Consulate General Daniel Sullivan 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1175 Telephone: 1.212.596.1628 Facsimile: 1.212.596.1790
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington St. Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2 Fax: 1.613.941.6900 Fax: 1.613.995.7858 Email address: pm@pm.gc.ca
  • Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans House of Commons 441-S Centre Block Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Fax: 1.613.992.1974 Email address: Shea.G@parl.gc.ca