International Fund for Animal Welfare

International Fund for Animal Welfare

March 25, 2009 17:20 ET

Over 17,000 Seal Pups Killed in First Two Days of Canada's Commercial Seal Slaughter

CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE-EDWARD-ISLAND--(Marketwire - March 25, 2009) - Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has closed the first phase of the seal hunt early this morning after sealers from the Magdalen Islands killed as many as 20,000 harp seal pups. The commercial seal hunt will open for sealers from the Maritime Region on Friday.

Observers with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - have just returned after witnessing the slaughter of harp seal pups during the first phase of this year's commercial seal hunt.

"By the time we reached the sealing grounds, the ice was littered with thousands of carcasses, and piles of pelts waiting to be picked up by helicopter or all-terrain vehicle," said Sheryl Fink, a hunt observer with IFAW.

"We found seals that had been killed and left behind, frozen solid into the ice. Their skins hadn't even been removed. Once again, I was struck by the sheer wastefulness of this slaughter. With reports of pelt prices as low as $20 this year, I'm surprised by the level of activity we've observed in the past two days."

Canada's commercial seal hunt comes just weeks before a critical EU vote on a proposed ban on the trade of seal products throughout its member states.

Canada's commercial harp seal hunt is the largest remaining slaughter of a marine mammal anywhere in the world, with a total allowable catch of 280,000 seals, an increase over the 2008 limit. IFAW is criticizing the quota increase, saying it is not supported by market conditions, the government's seal hunt management plan, or Canadian public opinion.

Note to Editors:

- IFAW has a team of professional video cameramen and photographers ready to document the hunt. Images will be fed out via and as they are obtained.

- Visit these sites frequently for updated broadcast quality video and still images of the 2009 commercial seal hunt.

Contact Information

  • International Fund for Animal Welfare
    Robert Rosenfeld
    Manager of Communications