International Fund for Animal Welfare

International Fund for Animal Welfare

March 24, 2006 10:29 ET

Canadian government ignores public opinion, opens seal hunt

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor CHARLOTTETOWN/PEI--(CCNMatthews - March 24, 2006) - Canada's annual hunt for harp seal pups starts tomorrow, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

"By allowing this cruel and unnecessary hunt to continue, the federal government is disregarding sound science, national and international public opinion and simple decency. This year, they are going one step worse by inflicting one of the highest quotas ever at 335,000 seal pups," said Olivier Bonnet, IFAW's Canadian director.

Canada has allowed nearly a million seals to be killed over the past three years, in the largest hunt of marine mammals in the world. This year's government quota is one of the highest since the hunt began. The hunt occurs annually, in the spring, when hundreds of thousands of seal pups are killed during a few days of intense hunting.

The hunt draws international criticism due to its brutality and waste. Seals are hunted primarily for their pelts, which are used in the fashion industry.

This is a hunt for seal pups. Last year, according to statistics provided by the Canadian government, 329,829 seals were killed, and 98% of them were less than three months old. Experts agree that the size of the hunt coupled with environmental uncertainty is putting the harp seal population at significant risk of depletion.

"This is a cruel hunt for products that nobody needs," said Fred O'Regan, IFAW's president and CEO. "Canada is better than this. It's time for the new Canadian government to shut down the seal hunt."

Each spring the entire Northwest Atlantic harp seal population migrates to the East Coast of Newfoundland to mate, give birth and nurse their young. In one of nature's great wildlife spectacles, thousands of seals are born on the pristine ice floes off eastern Canada in early March.

Seal pups may be legally killed as soon as they begin to moult their fluffy white natal coats, usually at about14 days old.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW works around the globe to protect animals and their habitats and to create a better world for animals and people. To learn how to help, please visit

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