For Immediate Release: 12 April 2006
Darien, Conn., U.S. ““ Joining the international tourism boycott just unveiled by Friends of Animals, singer Nellie McKay today announced a decision not to visit Canada until the government stops the annual killing of seals.
The singer-songwriter states, “I give my full support to the tourism boycott of Canada which has been called by Friends of Animals. I urge people to take part in the boycott until the government ends the seal hunt. I will not perform in Canada and I will be encouraging other artists to join me.”
McKay, currently appearing on Broadway in The Threepenny Opera with Cyndi Lauper and Alan Cummings, has previouly played at Lee’s Palace in Toronto at, Montreal’s Club Soda, and at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Says Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral, “As we ask people everywhere to avoid travel to Canada until its government stops this miserable slaughter, the voice of Nellie McKay rings out as a brilliant example for all.”
McKay’s participation in the boycott adds momentum to the issue. In late March, British singer Morrissey announced that he will no longer tour in Canada until the hunt ends, telling the Canadian media, “I fully realize that the absence of any Morrissey concerts in Canada is unlikely to bring the Canadian economy to its knees, but it is our small protest against this horrific slaughter.”
The World Tourism Organization ranks Canada among the world’s top dozen travel destinations. It attracted 20 million tourists in 2002, but by 2004 was down to about 19 million. To boost the industry, Ottawa spent $78 million last year on the Canadian Tourism Bureau  “Obviously,” Priscilla Feral stated, “Tourism, which generates tens of billions each year, is vital in a way the heavily subsidized, $16.5 million seal-pelt business is not.”
Adds Feral, “Effects of this boycott on the Royal Canadian Pacific Railroad, cruise lines stopping in Canada, and hotels and attractions from Niagara Falls to Calgary will ripple throughout the economy.”
The boycott is intended to increase the pressure within Canada to stop the federal government from issuing quotas for the seal kill, and to stop the stream of millions of federal dollars into seal processing plants, ice-breaking support, and research and marketing for seal products. These resources must be redirected to build a real economic foundation for Canada’s coastal residents.
Says Feral: “Groups have documented and monitored the kill for too long. Forget marine mammal regulations and pretending that enforcement can make it humane. No matter how many seals are killed, it’s immoral. Dying is one by one.”
Once this killing ends, the group will avidly support ecologically sound travel.
“We have and will support careful, prudent ecotourism,” said Feral, regarding whale-watching and seal-watching tourism.
- “Morrissey Snubs Canada To Protest Against Seal Hunt” – CBC Arts (28 Mar. 2006).
- Recent (2005) data available.
- Catherine Porter, “Big-Spending Tourists Shun Toronto” – Toronto Star (2 Feb. 2006).