Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada

October 18, 2007 16:38 ET

Humane Society International: The Whole World Is Watching as Crown Prosecutors Present Canadian Government's Case Against Five Seal-Hunt Observers in Quebec Courtroom

HAVRES-AUX-MAISONS, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 18, 2007) - The trial of five seal-hunt observers began today, relating to technical violations of Canada's Fisheries Act during the 2006 commercial hunt.

The Crown presented their case, calling an official from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) who witnessed the alleged offences.

The defendants' lawyer, Clayton Ruby, said his clients are looking forward to presenting their case to the court, after enduring a year-and-a-half of uncertainty.

"I expect to prove, based on objective scientific evidence and analysis of video tapes, that my clients are utterly innocent of this charge," Ruby said.

Tomorrow, counsel for the defendants is expected to introduce video evidence disproving DFO's allegations. Cross-examination of the Crown's witnesses wraps up today.

The defendants are representatives of the Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States. After documenting the commercial seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in March, 2006, from their small inflatable vessels, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canada's DFO charged them with violating a required 10-metre barrier from sealers hunting on the ice as a condition of their observation permits.

The defendants - Canadians Rebecca Aldworth and Andrew Plumbly, Americans Chad Sisneros and Pierre Grzybowski, and British citizen Mark Glover - were present on the ice floes to record the annual cruelty of the seal slaughter, providing video evidence of baby seals being clubbed, shot and skinned to concerned citizens around the world.

An information site www.hsicanada.ca has been set up to provide up-to-date information about the trial and the evidence.

Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization - backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at www.humanesociety.org

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