Kids have an incredible connection to animals, and it’s always inspiring for me to see them act on it in a global way. The next generation of animal advocates is finding creative ways to make a difference for animals, including campaigning against one of the world’s worst spectacles of cruelty to wildlife — the Canadian seal slaughter.
In just a few weeks, the eyes of the world will again be focused on Canada as baby harp seals are born onto the ice floes off the eastern coast. Despite widespread condemnation from around the globe, the Canadian government continues to subsidize the slaughter of these newborns, many who have yet to take their first swim or eat their first solid meal. It’s a despicable horror.
That’s why all of us involved with the campaign are encouraged by two determined 10-year-olds, Jackie Evancho and Martin Welych-Flanagan, who learned about this senseless cruelty and resolved to work with The HSUS to do something about it.
Talented young singer Jackie Evancho, who was a finalist on America’s Got Talent, recently performed at our Chefs for Seals event in California. This event brought together more than 60 chefs and celebrities in a show of solidarity for seals. These chefs joined The HSUS’s Protect Seals boycott, promising not to buy some or all Canadian seafood until the commercial seal hunt ends for good.
"I just feel really great to know that now that I have a voice, I have the ability to help the seals," says Jackie. You can watch some of Jackie's performance in the video below, and see what an unbelievably articulate advocate she is for the seals.
Another dedicated animal advocate, Martin Welych-Flanagan from Syracuse, N.Y., turned his passion for seals into action by founding a club at his school to stop the seal killing. He first organized his fellow students to petition the Canadian government to end the commercial hunt.
Martin now designs and sells bead bracelets with messages like "Save a Seal" to support The HSUS's Protect Seals campaign. Martin’s campaign has raised more than $5,000, and he says he’ll keep making the bracelets until the hunt is stopped. Martin even came down to HSUS’s headquarters, and I was so pleased to meet him and show him around. He, too, is so precocious and smart. He’s not waiting in the wings — he’s knee-deep in the fight already.
“I was outraged that such a beautiful animal was being killed for no good reason,” he says.
Martin has shared his message with lawmakers and on Facebook, and he was featured in a recent issue of HSUS's All Animals.