The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States

March 08, 2005 13:22 ET

HSUS Urges Canadian Government Stop Seal Slaughter or Face Boycott

Attention: Environment Editor WASHINGTON, D.C.--(CCNMatthews - March 8, 2005) - The Humane Society of
the United States (HSUS), the largest U.S. animal protection
organization with more than 8.5 million members and constituents,
is urging the Canadian government to stop their commercial seal
hunt or face a boycott of its seafood industry. A wide range of
animal protection and environmental groups have condemned the hunt
-- the world's largest slaughter of marine mammals -- which will
result in the killing of nearly one million harp and hooded seals
over three years. The hunt begins in earnest at the end of this
month.

"We are dismayed that the Canadian government plans to allow
more than 300,000 defenseless seal pups to be clubbed and shot to
death off Canada's East Coast this spring," said Wayne Pacelle,
president and CEO of The HSUS. "As the Canadian government is well
aware, the last time sealers were allowed to kill this many seals,
close to two-thirds of the harp seal population was wiped out."

In a letter sent to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin,
Pacelle wrote that a global boycott of Canadian seafood products
will commence after the death of the first seal. The HSUS is
targeting the industry because sealing is an off-season activity
conducted by fishermen who claim that the seals are reducing the
fish population. "The Department of Fisheries and Oceans clearly
stated there is no evidence that culling seals will help fish
stocks recover," said Rebecca Aldworth, HSUS director of Canadian
wildlife issues. "Many scientists are concerned that reducing the
seal population may further jeopardize the fish."

Independent journalists, scientists, and parliamentarians who
observe the hunt each year continue to report unacceptable levels
of cruelty, including the dragging of conscious seals across the
ice with boat hooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in
agony, and stockpiling dead and dying animals. A recent veterinary
report concluded that up to 42 percent of the seals studied at the
hunt were likely skinned while alive and conscious.

"Polling shows the overwhelming majority of Canadians,
Americans, and Europeans oppose this outdated, cruel and
unnecessary slaughter," said Pacelle. "It is on their behalf that
we ask the Canadian government to take immediate action to stop
this atrocity."

The HSUS is also planning to hold a series of demonstrations on
March 15 at the Canadian embassy and consulate offices in 22
countries.

The Humane Society of the United States is a mainstream voice
for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine
protection, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and
habitat protection, animals in research and farm animals and
sustainable agriculture. The HSUS protects all animals through
legislation, litigation, investigation, education, advocacy and
fieldwork. The group is based in Washington, D.C. and has numerous
field representatives across the country. On the Web at
http://www.hsus.org or for seal issues
http://www.protectseals.org.
/For further information: Web: http://www.hsus.org/ IN: ENVIRONMENT

Contact Information

  • Tracey McIntire, The Humane Society of the United States
    Primary Phone: 301-548-7793
    E-mail: tmcintire@hsus.org