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April 19, 2013

A Banner Year for Stopping Canada's Seal Slaughter

  • A baby seal's final moments all too often feature repeated blows to the head. Frank Loftus/The HSUS

Canada's 2013 slaughter of baby seals began this month. The HSUS's Rebecca Aldworth is telling the world about the bloodshed, and this is her latest report.

by Rebecca Aldworth

Yesterday, the sealing industry made headlines, saying that this is a banner year for them, and that sealers expect to kill 100,000 baby seals by the close of the season.

News agencies around the world dutifully reported their statements as fact, failing entirely to mention that the only reason sealers can kill seals at all is because of a massive government bailout for the sealing industry.

That’s right—$3.6 million of Canadian taxpayers’ money is paying for sealers to kill baby seals right now, just so their skins can be stockpiled.

Donate to help save seals. For a limited time, a matching grant will double your gift »

Citizens and governments say no

Most Canadians oppose the seal slaughter, so the sealing industry has to rely on export markets to sell its products. But the United States, the 27-nation European Union, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan—along with Taiwan, Mexico, and Croatia—have all ended their trade in products of commercial seal hunts. And despite the Canadian government's attempts to develop markets in mainland China, those markets have failed to materialize.

Now, Canada is challenging the EU ban at the World Trade Organization, providing sealers with false hope that the industry might someday regain the markets it has lost. That false hope has convinced the Newfoundland government to make millions available to seal processors to "build inventory." But make no mistake—the EU will never again be a market for seal products.

The Canadian sealing industry is at a crossroads. It can continue to promote this outdated slaughter. Or, sealers can work with us to implement a solution that will benefit seals, the sealers, and their communities. That solution is a sealing industry buyout, a simple plan in which the seal hunt would be ended, sealers compensated, and funds invested in economic alternatives. Those in the United States can best help by leveraging their consumer power and boycotting Canadian seafood in 2013.

Renew your boycott pledge for 2013 »

A sealing industry buyout is the humane and economically sound way for the Canadian government to do what people the world over want, and stop the seal slaughter forever. With our video evidence from the 2013 seal slaughter in hand, Humane Society International is working hard to build political support for this idea now.

Thank you so much for standing with Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States as we work to bring Canada's seal slaughter to an end.

Rebecca Aldworth is director of Canadian Wildlife Issues for The Humane Society of the United States.

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