February 12, 2009
Thousands of Baby Grey Seals Spared from Massacre in Nova Scotia
Sealers Stay Home as Pelt Market Disappears
SYDNEY, Nova Scotia — Due to a decline in the global markets for seal pelts, Canada's sealing community has indicated that Nova Scotia's annual grey seal kill will be canceled this year. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the government of Nova Scotia announced last week that the kill would take place again on Hay Island, a protected wilderness sanctuary, but media reports confirm that sealers have been unable to find seal pelt buyer. In light of these developments, HSI/Canada is urging the Canadian government to compensate affected workers by buying out sealing licenses, and to develop alternative economies for coastal communities.
"The cancellation of Nova Scotia's grey seal hunt is a tremendous victory for the seals," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society International/Canada. "It is incredibly heartening to know that thousands of seal pups will be spared from a fate similar to the unbearable carnage we documented last year during the slaughter on Hay Island."
The fact that buyers are unwilling to purchase grey seal pelts this year proves that global markets for seal products are evaporating. With a pending ban on seal product trade in the European Union, the writing is on the wall — this is the beginning of the end of the commercial seal slaughter. Many sealers are now openly musing that shrinking markets will also have a devastating impact on this year's commercial harp seal kill.
"By simply considering a seal product trade ban, the EU has already had a major impact on markets for seal products, and has saved thousands of seals from being clubbed to death," said Mark Glover, director of Humane Society International/UK. "It is essential that the EU enacts a full and unconditional ban on the trade in seal products to help end Canada's inhumane and unnecessary seal slaughter."
HSI/Canada will be monitoring the grey seal situation closely and will be on hand to document if conditions change and the slaughter does proceed.
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International — one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than ten million members and constituents globally — on the web at hsi.org.