International Fund for Animal Welfare

International Fund for Animal Welfare

March 29, 2009 09:47 ET

Canadian Senator Mac Harb Observes Seal Hunt and Renews His Effort to End It

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 29, 2009) - Senator Mac Harb has returned from witnessing this year's commercial seal hunt along with observers from IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

"Continuing to defend the commercial seal hunt is not the answer," said Senator Mac Harb. "The government can't go on burying its head in the sand and pretending everything is going to be okay. It is time to provide mechanisms to transition the few thousand individuals in sealing out of this declining industry and into jobs with more promising futures."

Earlier this month, Senator Harb introduced a private member's bill calling for an end to Canada's commercial seal hunt -- marking the first time a Canadian politician has introduced legislation to put an end to the largest remaining marine mammal slaughter in the world.

"Over 20,000 seal pups have been killed in the first few days of Canada's commercial seal hunt. It is admirable that Senator Harb has taken the initiative to witness this slaughter first hand" said Sheryl Fink, Senior Researcher with IFAW.

After observing activity in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Senator Harb has renewed his initial resolve to end this slaughter.

"I plan to go back next year and every year until this hunt ends to catalogue the wastefulness of this hunt. I have an obligation to the majority of Canadians who oppose the hunt to be a witness to this waste of tax-dollars and a vocal advocate for its swift conclusion," added Harb.

Canada's commercial seal hunt comes just weeks before the EU considers banning the trade in seal products throughout its member states and several weeks after Russia declared a ban on hunting of harp seals below one year of age in the White Sea.

Approximately 20,000 seals have already been killed in the first stages of this year's commercial seal hunt. Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has set the 2009 total allowable catch at 280,000 harp seals, which is 10,000 over what government scientists have said would respect the current management plan. It is also being conducted in spite of record low pelt prices, which will further increase the amount Canadian tax payers will be forced to contribute.

For editors: Footage from this years commercial seal hunt is available for download and use at and

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