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April 19, 2013

Markets for Seal Products Are Closing

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Final moments. Frank Loftus/The HSUS

Canada's annual slaughter of baby seals is happening again. HSI's Rebecca Aldworth is telling the world about the bloodshed, and this is her latest report.

by Rebecca Aldworth

Yesterday, the sealing industry made headlines, saying that this is a banner year for them, and that sealers expect to kill 100,000 baby seals by the close of the season.

News agencies around the world dutifully reported their statements as fact, failing entirely to mention that the only reason sealers can kill seals at all is because of a massive government bailout for the sealing industry.

That’s right—$3.6 million of taxpayers’ money is paying for sealers to kill baby seals right now, just so their skins can be stockpiled.

Citizens and governments say "no"

Most Canadians oppose the seal slaughter, so the sealing industry has to rely on export markets to sell its products. But the United States, the 27-nation European Union, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan—along with Taiwan, Mexico, and Croatia—have all ended their trade in products of commercial seal hunts. And despite the Canadian government’s attempts to develop markets in mainland China, those markets have failed to materialize.

Now, Canada is challenging the EU ban at the World Trade Organization, providing sealers with false hope that the industry might someday regain the markets it has lost. That false hope has convinced the Newfoundland government to make millions available to seal processors to “build inventory.” But make no mistake—the EU will never again be a market for seal products.

An alternative plan

The Canadian sealing industry is truly at a crossroads. It can continue to use taxpayers’ money—against our will—to promote this outdated slaughter. Or, sealers can start to work with us to promote a real solution that will benefit seals, the sealers and their communities. That solution is a sealing industry buyout, a simple plan in which the seal hunt would be ended, sealers compensated, and funds invested in economic alternatives.

Call for a buyout to end the hunt »

A sealing industry buyout is the humane and economically sound way for the Canadian government to do as Canadians—and people the world over—want, and stop the seal slaughter forever. With our video evidence from the 2013 seal slaughter in hand, Humane Society International is working hard to build political support for this idea now.

Thank you so much for standing with Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States as we work to bring Canada’s cruel seal slaughter to a final end.

Rebecca Aldworth is executive director of HSI/Canada.

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