As I write this, animal advocates are gathered at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., for a "Rally for Seals." With their efforts in mind, today I thought it timely to answer the following question from Kathleen.
Q. I would like to know why we are not more actively pounding Canada for their abomination that is the seal hunt each year. This is gross. I cannot think of a word that truly describes how wrong this is. It’s like murdering babies in their cribs. Can we really stand by and not boycott all that is Canadian? I’m making a stink wherever I can; will you?
A. Please know The Humane Society of the United States is leading the global fight to stop Canada’s commercial seal hunt. To have the largest impact, as an organization we are focusing our limited resources on the seafood sector in Canada. Our boycott of Canadian seafood has been strategically designed to hit seal hunters where it hurts the most: in their pocketbooks. And it’s the closest connection to an internationally traded commodity that is closely linked to sealing, since it is off-season fishermen who are killing the seals and since seal hunters rationalize the killing by saying they are helping to protect fish from the seals.
Every day, more companies and individuals are pledging not to buy Canadian seafood until the slaughter of seals ends for good. Soon, fishermen will be forced to choose between the industry that brings in 95 percent of their incomes (seafood) and the small percentage earned killing seals.
In Europe, we are shutting down the markets for seal products—removing the financial incentive for sealers. In September 2006, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for an EU ban on the trade in harp and hooded seal products. Already, the price of seal skins has dropped dramatically from last year.
And every year, the ProtectSeals team is on the ice to document the slaughter, expose the cruelty to the world, and facilitate journalists, scientists and parliamentarians to do the same. The international outcry generated by our reports and video footage has driven the Canadian government to resort to desperate tactics in order to cover up the cruelty that takes place on the ice.
This October, five members of the ProtectSeals team went on trial on the unfounded charges that they had been slightly within the 10-meter distance from sealers required by their observation permits. At the close of the prosecution’s case we disclosed the full extent of our video evidence, which objectively shows that no offense ever took place. The prosecution immediately asked for an adjournment. The trial is scheduled to resume on May 6, 2008.
Check our action toolkit for a list of ways you can support our work to end the Canadian seal hunt.
If you have a question about The HSUS, offer a comment through the blog or email your query. I may post it in a future blog.