New York, New York — In February and March of 1969, Friends of Animals placed advertisements in dozens of newspapers pressing the public to protest Canada’s seal slaughter. These advertisements set off a chain of publicity. Brian Davies’ film of the massacre was televised, causing an international outcry when viewers saw the gruesome scenes of baby seals hacked to death in front of their helpless mothers. Life covered the story and headlined its photographs, “A bloody business in Canada causes an uproar all over.”

This Bloody Business is Still Going On.

In February 2003, the Canadian government announced its intention to allow its next three consecutive spring hunts (2003-2005) to result in the killing of 975,000 seals between 12 days and 12 weeks old — adding up to the largest yearly killing permission Canada has imposed upon young seals over the last 30 years. Canadian seal hunters expect to kill 350,000 harp and hooded seal pups this second spring season, beginning today. Justifications rest on blaming seals for wiping out Atlantic codfish and putting anglers out of work.

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

What Has the Canadian Response Been?

First we must note that the Canadian Government has the ability to revoke the “charitable status” (which allows tax-exempt donations) of groups. The Government’s reasoning is that certain groups are trying to “advocate on behalf of a group or to advocate to change people’s opinions” and that under the charitable status rules, this is not permissible for a charity. Unless and until such rules are successfully challenged as applied to animal advocacy in Canada, we in the U.S. can exert pressure to stop the killing through a boycott.

Students Will Respond

On Friday, March 26, 2004, a group of young students from the Washington Heights School District will gather from 3:45pm-5pm at the Canadian Consulate General, 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1175, USA, to protest the spring seal killing in Canada and to read aloud and display the letters they wrote to the Canadian Governor.