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March 18, 2009

Russia Bans Seal Slaughter; Canada Should Follow

Humane Society International/Canada

Today, the Russian government made headlines when it announced a complete ban on the slaughter of seals less than one year of age, effectively ending one of the world’s major kills of harp seals.

Now, people around the world are asking why Canada—a progressive nation—has not taken action to end its own kill of some of the most defenseless animals on the planet. Every year, hundreds of thousands of baby seals are killed here for their fur.

Inherently inhumane

Russia's announcements followed a statement by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that "[this] is such a bloody hunt, and it is clear that it should have been banned a long time ago." Russia's Minister of Natural Resources, Yuri Trutnyev, called sealing "one of the most inhumane types of hunting in the world."

Oh, Canada

Days from now, hunters will head to the ice floes of northern Canada to conduct the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth. Canada's commercial seal hunt is every bit as cruel as Russia's.

Scientists, Parliamentarians, and journalists who observe the slaughter report unacceptable levels of cruelty, including sealers dragging conscious seals across the ice floes with boat hooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in agony, stockpiling dead and dying animals, and even skinning seals alive.

You can help stop the hunt

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Canadians want the seal hunt to be ended for good. With Russia leading the way, Canada should now take action to save the seals, and relegate the commercial seal hunt to the history books where it belongs. We've made considerable progress so far in shutting down the slaughter, but we need the help of caring animal advocates to win this fight.

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