THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF CANADA

THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF CANADA

March 14, 2005 14:09 ET

Saving People and Seals

Renewed Call for A New "Made in Canada" Approach Says The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor VANCOUVER, BC--(CCNMatthews - March 14, 2005) - On the eve of a massive global protest against the seal hunt, The Humane Society of Canada is once again calling on Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador, to work towards a new "made in Canada" solution to try and hammer out a deal that tries to take all interests into account. "We want to help save people and seals," says Al Hickey, Western Regional Director for animal charity, "and we believe that after decades of receiving support from the rest of Canada it is reasonable to ask the people of Newfoundland & Labrador to reconsider their position on the seal hunt."

Over the next three years, the province of Newfoundland & Labrador, has sanctioned the killing of 975,000 seals in the largest taxpayer subsidized slaughter of marine mammals on earth. The Humane Society of Canada believes it's time for a new approach, because there are more seals being killed today than when the protests began more than 30 years ago," says Hickey.

"On the ice, in the midst of a seal nursery, where they were born pups will be killed in sight of their mothers; adults will also be clubbed, stabbed and shot. Some organizations based in the United States and Europe have threatened fish boycotts, and so begins the endless cycle of protests. When the protests began in the 1970s, tens of thousands of seals were being killed. Now, more than 30 years later hundreds of thousands of seals are being killed. In our view, escalating this any further will not help people or animals," says HSC Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan.

The animal charity believes that Ottawa would be only too happy to end the seal hunt, if they are asked to do so by the people of Newfoundland & Labrador.

In a series of open letters found on our website to Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador, The Humane Society of Canada has asked him to consider a new approach: "…For decades, the people of Canada have helped the people of Newfoundland & Labrador, and asked for very little in return. Speaking as one Canadian to another, we believe that the time has come for the people of Newfoundland & Labrador to reconsider their position on what is regrettably, the largest marine mammal slaughter on earth …"

"I don't see how playing the "blame game" is going to help anyone. There have been a lot of bruised egos and harsh words exchanged over the years. While neither side can go back and undo everything that's been said or done since 1970, we can move forward to try and hammer out a deal that tries to take all interests into account. We want to help save people and seals," says O'Sullivan.

"Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador is calling for a greater economic future for his people and asking for more tax dollars from the rest of Canada to make that happen. We share his vision to create a better future for his people, and we're hoping that he's willing to meet the rest of Canadians half way and begin talks about how to end the seal hunt," says O'Sullivan. "Repeated government surveys have found that 9 of out 10 Canadians support the protection and not the killing of wildlife."

Less than 3% of the total population of 517,000 people living in Newfoundland & Labrador hold sealing permits, and even fewer actually participate in the hunt itself. O'Sullivan says that protests drive home the harsh reality of the seal hunt, but not the futility and the reasons behind the largest taxpayer subsidized slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. Those who kill seals for several weeks each year are fishermen for the rest of the year - or at least they used to be.

The collapse of the cod stocks is a story of hook, line and extinction. And unfortunately the story is being repeated all over the world. A report issued last week by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reaffirmed that there is a global overfishing crisis, with 52% of stocks fully exploited and a further 24% of stocks depleted due to overexploitation. Ongoing reports issued by the FAO say there are simply too many boats, using destructive methods, catching too many fish. Other reports prepared by the World Bank and the World Trade Organization say there should be an end to harmful fishing subsidies.

"We share Premier Danny Williams' views that people living in Newfoundland & Labrador need more jobs and more hope. In our view, forcing them to "make do" by engaging in the brutal slaughter of seals provides neither," says O'Sullivan. "We want to help the people living on "The Rock", and we hope they are willing to become part of the "made in Canada" solution.

The Humane Society of Canada is asking people to write a polite yet firm letter to Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador asking him to include an end to the seal hunt as a part of his ongoing discussions over greater financial support from the rest of Canada for the people of Newfoundland & Labrador:

Hon. Danny Williams
Premier of Newfoundland & Labrador
Confederation Building, East Block
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NL A1B 4J6

Phone: (709) 729-3570
Fax: (709) 729-5875
premier@gov.nl.ca

"For the sake of people and animals, we are willing to work with all interested parties and do whatever we can to help the people of Newfoundland & Labrador and to bring an end to the seal hunt," says O'Sullivan.

For more Background Information please check out our website

CONTACT: Al Hickey or Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 90 countries during the last 35 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. They carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, fund scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our campaign to bring an end to the Canadian seal hunt please make a donation
/For further information: www.humanesociety.com background information can be found at: http://www.humanesociety.com/newsrel/newsrel.asp?thisrel=14032005&page=1#background/ IN: MEDIA

Contact Information

  • Michael O'Sullivan, Executive Director, The Humane Society of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-368-0405
    Secondary Phone: 416-876-9685
    Toll-Free: 800-641-5463
    E-mail: info@humanesociety.com