International Fund for Animal Welfare

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

January 11, 2011 14:45 ET

IFAW Urges China to Say "No" to Seal Products

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 11, 2011) - The International Fund for Animal Welfare ( describes the visit by Canada's Fisheries Minister, Gail Shea, and the Canadian Seal Marketing Group to the 37th China Fur and Leather Products Fair as yet another desperate attempt to dump the seal products banned in the European Union (EU), on China. 

Rejected by the EU, which banned seal product sales last year, Canada has returned to China on the hunt for new consumers. The Canadian Government is assuming that Chinese consumers will condone the cruel slaughter of seals. "The Chinese eat anything", said a seal industry executive to the Globe and Mail after a similar junket last year, "And they simply don't understand why you would put one animal over another."

"This is a slap on the face for China, Chinese culture and Chinese people," Grace Ge Gabriel, IFAW's Asia Regional Director, angrily objected, "China is not a dumping ground for Canadian seal products and Chinese consumers should not shoulder the ethical responsibility of paying for the cruel slaughter of seals in Canada."

Canada authorizes the world's largest commercial seal hunt, allowing the killing of 388,200 seals on Canada's East Coast last year. Almost all are baby seals between the ages of 3 weeks and 3 months, and many have just finished nursing from their mothers. Most have yet to swim or feed, and are unable to fend for themselves when the sealers arrive to shoot or club them on the head and skin them for their fur and blubber.

"IFAW has conducted surveys in China showing that Chinese consumers would reject wildlife products, if made aware of the truth about the cruelty involved", said Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW's Seal Program, "IFAW will ensure that Chinese consumers are fully aware of the cruelty involved in Canada's commercial seal hunt, and that the Chinese are very clear about the differences between the commercial and Inuit hunts," Fink added.

"We must let all Chinese consumers know about the cruelty behind the killing of seals", a Chinese animal protection volunteer said, "Now that we know the truth, we will join caring people around the world to say "NO" to seal products." 

Notes to Editor:

In 1969, IFAW was formed from the campaign to stop the massive and brutal commercial hunt for whitecoat harp seals in Canada. Today, it is an effective animal welfare organization with offices in 15 countries and projects in 40 countries. IFAW works to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world by reducing commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress. IFAW seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people. 

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