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Author Farley Mowat Calls on Stephen Harper to End Commercial Seal Slaughter

Mowat's Comments Come after HSI/Canada, The HSUS and Nigel Barker Exhibit 'A Sealed Fate?'

Humane Society International

After Humane Society International/Canada and The Humane Society of the United States recently brought Nigel Barker's traveling exhibit "A Sealed Fate?" to Toronto, well-known Canadian author, Farley Mowat, released the following statement calling the commercial seal kill a national disgrace that must be ended:

"Nigel Barker's photographs of Atlantic Canada's harp seal nurseries remind me of the first time I experienced the wonder on the pack ice of the Gulf and off the northeast of Newfoundland. A quiet and peaceful scene of seal pups out with their mothers on a sheet of ice a foot deep with bright blue skies above. That was in 1967. I also witnessed the red slaughter that ensued when the sealers came amongst them.

"The fact that this scene still plays out each spring off Canada's Atlantic coast is a national disgrace.

"I call on the people of Canada to embrace our natural world and all its beauty. As an Officer of the Order of Canada, which outranks Stephen Harper, I order him to desist and cease from the bloody slaughter on the ice. The time has come for Canada to respect and protect seals and all the wildlife in our oceans. Stop the slaughter of the innocent."

The traveling exhibition by Nigel Barker, world-renowned fashion photographer and judge on "America's Next Top Model," and a multi-time guest judge and photographer on "Canada's Next Top Model," is comprised of photographs and documentary video shot in 2008 when he joined The HSUS and HSI/Canada on the ice in Atlantic Canada and provides an intimate look at the short-lived lives of baby harp seals victimized by Canada's annual commercial seal slaughter.

"Farley Mowat is a brilliant author and a strong voice for wild animals, and his statement reflects the views of the vast majority of Canadians," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society International/Canada. "It is time for the Canadian government to listen to its public and end this slaughter forever."

About Farley Mowat:

Mowat has sold millions of books in 24 languages including "A Whale for the Killing," "And No Birds Sang," "People of the Deer," "Never Cry Wolf" and "Born Naked."

At a young age, he visited the far north with his uncle and started his lifelong passion to protect Canada's wildlife.

Mowat lived in Burgeo, Newfoundland for eight years. He's published three books describing his Newfoundland neighbours: in "The Rock Within the Sea" (1968); "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" (1969); and, "A Whale for the Killing" (1972). In 1984, Farley Mowat published a denunciation of "the destruction of animal life in the north Atlantic" in a book entitled "Sea of Slaughter" in which he described his first view of the seal nurseries and the seal hunt.

Born in Belleville, Ontario, Mowat now lives in Port Hope and on Cape Breton Island. Mowat became a Patron of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust after donating more than 200 acres (0.81 km) of his land there to the Nature Trust.

"I've passed the age where I either enjoy controversy or flinch from it. It really doesn't matter a hell of a lot to me. I believe I'm telling a true story; it will be for others to test it." - Farley McGill Mowat


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Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at hsi.org.