by Priscilla Feral

Below is a sweet photo of a baby harp seal pup, as we should appreciate them with this view — not the battered remains from Canada’s annual seal slaughter, which ended this month.

My introduction to this atrocity was in the mid-1970s when Brian Davies, founder of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, arrived in New York City for an appearance on the Today Show, and Friends of Animals’ founder, Alice Herrington, asked me to accompany him and help him edit hours of tape. Strangely, Canadian residents are mostly asleep at the wheel and turn a deaf ear to its seal kill, which is horrifying because virtually every Canadian Member of Parliament supports it. 

Thirty-five countries including the U.S., India, Mexico, all of Europe and Russia ban the import pf seal fur and products. In 2018, the number of seals killed fell to 59,076 from a high of 205,000 pups killed in 2008. And this year, again, Canada has failed to secure a market in which to sell the skins.

Canada’s obtuse government officials blame seals for the collapse of the cod fishery, but for more than five decades, Canada has been wedded to its fur industry. FoA’s last protests in Newfoundland were in 2012, as we worked to wake its residents, yet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for photographs wearing a seal fur jacket. Seal killers are also mostly full-time commercial fishermen, and rather than inflating a desire to kill seals with ridiculous killing quotas of more than 400,000 each year, Canada’s government should buy out the seal killing industry.

Canada’s a major economic power, and might as well start acting like one, as opposed to pretending that it can secure a market for seal fur and other products. The handwriting is on the wall: It cannot.

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, has presided over the international, non-profit animal advocacy organization since 1987. She has also served as president of the San Antonio-based sanctuary Primarily Primates and is a food activist and author of three vegan cookbook