Saturday, 1 March 2014

Canada Is About to Waste Serious Money on Seal Hunts

Newfoundland and Labrador will be wasting some serious cash to fund a pro-sealing campaign just in time for an appeal of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) decision to uphold the European Union’s (EU) ban on seal products.

In 2010, the EU enacted a ban on seal products, including fur, meat and blubber, with exceptions for Inuit and other indigenous communities and for products that were derived for non-commercial purposes as a result of managing marine resources.

In November, the WTO ruled to uphold the EU’s ban, citing “public moral concerns” over the welfare of seals. The cruelty that is inherent in this industry has been a well documented source of global outrage. The ruling was a huge victory, but not just for seals. As the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) pointed out at the time the WTO’s recognition of our right to oppose and reject products that we believe are cruel and unsustainable was a victory in and of itself.

Canada, which relies on exports to keep the hunts going, didn’t really see it that way. Both Canada and Norway formally appealed the WTO’s ruling, maintaining that these hunts are humane and well regulated. Even with pelt prices dropping and a global market that’s disappearing with product bans already in place in the U.S., Mexico, Russia and Taiwan, the government continues to try to support the brutal slaughter of thousands of baby seals every year.

Now, Newfoundland and Labrador will be spending more money to fund an awareness campaign that is supposed to dispel myths being spread about the industry. Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings said the province will give $60,000 to the Seals and Sealing Network, a pro-hunting group that will lead the campaign.

Wake up Canada and Norway! You are still trying to justify the brutal slaughter of thousands of baby seals every year instead of helping fishermen transition into other jobs.

Murray Kibblewhite
The Minke Connection

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