International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

April 01, 2005 12:28 ET

IFAW Seal hunt observers attacked on ice by sealers

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, World News Editor CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I--(CCNMatthews - April 1, 2005) - An altercation broke out today on the frozen ice of the Gulf of St. Lawrence between sealers and a group of journalists and observers from IFAW. The incident was photographed by Reuters and Canadian Press and captured on tape by Italian TV.

According to eyewitness accounts, a group of sealers from the "Cape Ashley" based out of Port aux Choix, Newfoundland began verbally threatening a group of observers as they approached an area where sealers were working. One of the sealers fired warning shots from a rifle as the group moved to 150 meters away and then again at 50 meters away.

Observers of the seal hunt carry a permit from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans enabling them to view the hunt and are allowed by law to approach up to 10 meters away from sealers.

As the group moved closer, still more than 10 meters away, a sealer rushed up to them and began threatening a member of IFAW with a large hook and physically pushing him around. The group of observers retreated but then the captain of the Cape Ashley ran toward the group brandishing a hakapik - a spiked club used to kill seal pups.

The captain rushed toward two members of IFAW threatening one with the hakapik and then striking another member with the hakapik on both the hand and arm. As the observers retreated a third sealer on a skidoo flew through the group at high speeds nearly hitting several members of IFAW.

The incident was captured on tape by Italian TV and photographed by Reuters and Canadian Press (CP).
/For further information: Note To Editors: Photos and Video Available Contact: Chris Cutter, (508) 737-4623 or (902) 569-5799, Interviews available with Phyllis Campbell-McCrae, Director of IFAW's Canadian office, concerning an attack on the ice captured by Reuters, Canadian Press and Italian TV. About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) IFAW was founded in 1969 to end the Canadian baby seal hunt. Over the next two decades, IFAW won many hard fought victories for seals, including the 1982 European Union ban of whitecoat and blueback sealskins. These aggregate victories almost stopped the baby seal hunt in the 1980s. Three years ago the seal hunt returned to levels unseen in decades and it is bigger than ever. To learn how to help IFAW protect seals, visit / IN: ENVIRONMENT

Contact Information

  • Chris Cutter, Communications Manager, International Fund for Animal Welfare
    Primary Phone: 902-569-5799
    Secondary Phone: 508-737-4623