International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

March 10, 2010 11:36 ET

IFAW: Senator Harb Re-Introduces Bill to End Cruel Seal Hunt

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 10, 2010) - IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare – applauds the private member's bill introduced by Senator Mac Harb calling for an end to Canada's commercial seal hunt.

"We are thrilled that Senator Harb remains true to this cause, and continues to be show leadership and courage in speaking out on behalf of the majority of Canadians on this important issue" said Sheryl Fink, Senior Researcher with IFAW.

Senator Harb's bill (S-207) is an amendment to the Fisheries Act and would prohibit the commercial hunting of seals in Canadian waters, while protecting the rights of aboriginal peoples to hunt seals. Since its first introduction last March, Senator Harb has received almost 600,000 messages of support for his bill.

The bill was seconded by Conservative Senator Lowell Murray, but did not pass the vote that would allow the bill to be debated.

"It is heartening that at least one Canadian Senator had the courage to move this issue to debate and give it the discussion it deserves. Most politicians this week seem interested only in gimmicks like noshing on seal meat for the media." continued Fink.

Senator Harb's bill arrives at a time when harp seal pups' survival is compromised due to poor ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Seal pups require solid ice to survive, and it is likely that many of the seals born this year will die before the hunt even begins.

Senator Harb's bill is supported by recent public opinion polls that indicate the majority of Canadians continue to oppose the commercial seal hunt and would like to see it ended.

Bill S-207 would provide a way to transition out of sealing at a time when the industry is economically unviable. Seal pelt prices in 2009 were the lowest in recent memory, and worldwide demand for seal fur remains low. An analysis published in the journal Marine Policy earlier this year determined that ending Canada's commercial seal hunt would save Canadians a minimum of $6.9 million per year.

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