World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

March 15, 2005 08:00 ET

Advisory: Toronto protestors rally to save the seals - Noon Today

One of 50 events around the globe. International boycott to be announced. Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, World News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 15, 2005) - A rally in downtown Toronto today is one of six events in Canada and more than 50 events worldwide being organized to mark the International Day of Protest Against the Canadian Seal Hunt.

WHAT: Rally against the Canadian commercial seal hunt

WHERE: Yonge and Dundas Square, Toronto (across from the Eaton Centre)

WHEN: Noon - 1:00 pm

The Toronto rally, hosted by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) kicks off at noon today at the Yonge-Dundas Square, in the heart of downtown. The rally will feature performances by kids performers Sho, Mo & the Monkeybunch, Lady Luscious and Santinha from the dancehall-reggae-soul combo Woman Ah RunTings, jazz vocalist Lori Cullen and hip-hop artist Shankhini, the Amazon MC. These Toronto artists will be joined by a couple of area high school students who will read from letters they've written to Canada's Prime Minister.

"The conditions of the hunt are disgusting," writes Grade 10 student Bronwen Hennigan of Leo J. Austin High School. "Animals less than three months old are whacked repeatedly with a large stick or club." She expresses shock at hearing that "more than forty two percent of the seals studied by an independent panel of veterinarians were likely skinned alive" and says that people around the world fail to understand "why our 'Peace Keeping' country is at war with the seals."

Says WSPA's Canadian spokesperson Patrick Tohill: "Canada's seal hunt is Canada's shame. Cruel and barbaric, it is the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world bar none. Each year, hundreds of thousands of baby seals are clubbed and shot to death, and many are even skinned alive. Year after year, parliamentarians, scientists, animal protectionists as well as journalists return from the ice to report unacceptable levels of cruelty. It's time for our government to consign this hunt to the scrap heap of history."

Today also marks the beginning of an international boycott of Canadian seafood products supported by some the world's most influential animal protection groups representing tens of millions of supporters worldwide. In addition to WSPA, the list includes: the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and the Fund for Animals.

"The Canadian government has authorized a three-year quota of almost a million seals, a level of slaughter not seen since the 1950s and 1960s. This has been a wake up call to those of us in the animal protection movement. The Canadian government will soon find that it is facing a level of opposition to the seal hunt not seen since the 1970s when international protest and a European seal fur boycott led to the collapse of the commercial seal hunt. This time, we mean to finish the job," said Tohill.

Polling shows the majority of Canadians, Americans and Europeans want the commercial seal hunt ended for good, and governments around the world are taking action. On February 2nd, close to one quarter of US Senators co-sponsored a resolution urging the Canadian government to end the commercial seal hunt. In the United Kingdom, 130 Members of Parliament signed an Early Day Motion urging the British government to ban the import of all sealskin. The Belgian government recently banned the import and trade in sealskin, and the Italian government has passed a resolution announcing its intention to do the same.

Other Canadian protests include rallies in Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Halifax today and a rally in Kelowna held this past Saturday.
/For further information: For photos or more information, contact: Patrick Tohill 416 369 0044 work # Communications Manager 416 898 9448 cell # WSPA Canada tohill@wspa.ca / IN: ENVIRONMENT, INTERNATIONAL

Contact Information

  • Pat Tohill, Campaigns and Communications Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
    Primary Phone: 416-898-9448
    Secondary Phone: 416-369-0044
    Toll-Free: 800-363-9772
    E-mail: tohill@wspa.ca