International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

December 06, 2013 12:58 ET

IFAW Statement: Sealing Industry Funding Ignores Reality, Favours Few and Leaves Hard Working Canadians Out in the Cold

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 6, 2013) - For years now the commercial seal hunt has been in decline, despite the fact that the industry has received millions of taxpayer dollars from successive federal and provincial governments. A total of 34 countries currently ban the trade in seal products, and after a lengthy process and hearing facts from all sides the World Trade Organization has ruled that the European's Union's ban on commercial seal products is legitimate. Despite these facts, the government continues to waste taxpayer dollars to support segments of this obsolete industry while leaving sealing communities, individual sealers and Inuit out in the cold.

To use precious government resources to fund seal meat processing is a clear squandering of taxpayer dollars, especially given that there is no apparent demand for seal meat in Canada or elsewhere. For 20 years, federal and provincial governments have wasted taxpayer dollars to support the development of a market for seal meat products - none of those efforts have been successful. According to DFO, no seal meat was landed in Newfoundland during the 2013 commercial seal hunt and the very few flippers that were landed were valued at $3,336.

The landed value of the Newfoundland commercial seal hunt in 2013 was a mere $2.9 million with 844 sealers participating. In 2012, while a Canadian seal processor was forced to close its doors, a foreign-owned company received $3.6 million in Newfoundland taxpayer-funded bailouts. It would seem that politicians have been quick to line the pockets of a few with handouts, while ignoring the fact that most Canadians want the commercial seal hunt to end, and are doing very little for individual sealers and Inuit communities.

The future of the commercial seal hunt looks bleak, as evidenced by the continued need for government support. This funding announcement is yet another example of governments throwing good money after bad, ignoring the market trend away from seal products, ignoring the economic realities of commercial sealing in the 21st century. The International Fund for Animal Welfare is calling on politicians from all parties to embrace reality and work to end the commercial seal hunt in a way that protects both seals and sealers, rather than leaving working people out in the cold.

Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW's Seal Campaign, is available for media interviews.

Contact Information

  • Michelle Cliffe
    IFAW Canada
    +1 647 986 4329
    Twitter: @IFAWCanada or @MichelleCliffe