World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

March 23, 2006 13:00 ET

Advisory: Toronto's Melissa Tkachyk joins Seal Watch team in PEI

Canadian Campaigns Officer for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to witness seal hunt first hand Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor CHARLOTTETOWN/ONTARIO/SEAL HUNT--(CCNMatthews - March 23, 2006) - Toronto's Melissa Tkachyk, Canadian Campaigns Officer for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) joins the Humane Society of the United States' Seal Watch team in Charlottetown today.

Tkachyk will be interviewed for her observer's permit later today in expectation that she will now head out this weekend. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced earlier today that the hunt will begin at 6 am on Sunday. Sealers are permitted to kill up to 91,000 harp seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this year. A much larger seal hunt involving 234,000 seals will take place next month off the northern coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thin ice conditions leave it an open question as to whether this year's hunt will be conducted on the ice pans or from aboard sealing vessels. Hunt observers likewise do not know at this point whether they will take to the ice in helicopters or in boats. Regardless, Tkachyk is steeling herself for the experience.

"Clubbing seals and shooting seals have been shown to be equally cruel," said Tkachyk. "While the government likes to talk about shooting as a more humane method of seals, think about it, we're talking about hunters, not professional marksman, shooting seals as they swim about, from a moving platform on a rolling sea. Observers have in the past witnessed large numbers of seals shot from vessels and only wounded not killed. As well, sealers have been observed dragging seals aboard vessels with boat hooks, sometimes while still alive."

"Given the coverage I've seen of seal hunts past, it's hard to know how to prepare oneself," said Tkachyk. "Watching seals being skinned alive on video is awful enough. But actually witnessing it, smelling the stench of blood and death, I'm sure it's worse than I can even imagine. Still, I feel that it's important that I be there, to document the cruelty, to witness the annual flouting of seal regulations and take the message back to Canadians about this cruel hunt." /For further information: Editor’s Note: Tkachyk will be in Charlottetown until at least Tuesday and will be available for interviews daily.

Contact:

Melissa Tkachyk, Campaigns Officer, Canada, WSPA
416 712 3468 mobile tkachyk@wspa.ca
Patrick Tohill, Campaigns and Communications Manager, Canada, WSPA
416 369 0044 office 416 898 9448 mobile tohill@wspa.ca/ IN: ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

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