New York City — March 15 marks the first day that Canadian seal hunters will club and kill more than 350,000 harp and hooded seal pups on the ice floes off Newfoundland’s coast.

On this day, from noon to 2:00 pm, Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization, will bear witness to this tragic and senseless practice, in an International Day of Protest 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 and the public 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.

Also on this day, activists will hold vigils in solidarity in more than 50 cities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, South America, the Middle East and Europe. The groups are gathering in front of Canadian embassies and consulates in 22 countries.

Seal pelt exports to Europe and Asia have nearly doubled each year since 2002 which was 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. Mother seals defending their pups are often killed along with youngsters. The targeted pups are between 12 days and twelve weeks old, and are often skinned alive.

What fish go through when they are killed is also quite disturbing and therefore we do not encourage a so-called “seafood” boycott. We reject the notion that the public ought to use their capacity to eat marine animals as a tactic to show their support for seals. We respect the entire range of the diverse marine biocommunity.

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, states, “The seal kill cannot be morally justified. Seals are not resources or commodities to be traded for convenience or profit; they’re entitled to be left alone. We deplore the seal hunt for the suffering and death it imposes on every single seal.”