New York City- On March 15th, from Noon to 2pm, Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization, will come to the door of the Canadian Consulate in Manhattan, in an international day of protest to alert New York residents that the world’s largest commercial hunt is set to continue this spring on the ice floes off Newfoundland’s coast. Advocates will gather at 1251 Avenue of the Americas (50th Street & 6th Avenue) to urge Canadian Consulate General Pamela Wallin and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end the seal hunt now. Activists across the world will hold vigils in solidarity with the seals.

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, states: “Regardless of the numbers of seals targeted, or Canada’s assurances that the battering is ‘humane,’ the seal slaughter is immoral. Seals are not resources or commodities. They’re entitled to be left alone. Friends of Animals opposes the killing of seal pups for the death and suffering it imposes on every single seal.”

The Canadian Department of Fisheries is set to unveil a new plan to dispose of hundreds of thousands of seals. Over the last three years, about a million seals were slaughtered on the ice, mainly for their fur. Canada’s government supports the annual slaughter by establishing quotas for the kill and providing assistance on the ice. Federal funds are used for seal processing plants, to market seal furs and other seal products, and to develop new products from dead seals.

Seal pelt exports to Europe and Asia have risen as Canada continues marketing efforts. The pelts comprise a lucrative market in Russia, Denmark, Norway, Greenland, and China-not to mention in Canada itself. Each pelt represents the irreplaceable life of a pup who was too young to swim away from harm. Mother seals defending their pups may be killed along with the youngsters.

Foreign tourism brought in $18 billion in revenue to Canada in 2004, with a large portion coming from New England visitors. 78 million dollars was spent by Ottawa on the Canadian Tourism Bureau to boost the tourism industry-a figure far larger than the annual revenues from dead seals, which are $16.5 million. A foreign-tourism boycott supported by national animal advocacy groups would put pressure where it belongs-on the Canadian government-to end the seal hunt, and the federal subsidies that support it.

To act immediately on behalf of seals, you can join us this week, Wednesday the 15th, in New York City.