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March 31, 2014

Possible Bailout for Carino’s Sealing Welfare Program

Humane Society International/Canada

  • HSI

The following is a statement from Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, responding to speculation that another government bailout of  Carino Company Ltd, a Norwegian-owned seal fur processor in Newfoundland, could be pending. Despite a lack of new markets for seal products, media reports indicate that in 2014, Canadian seal skins will fetch prices similar to those offered last year. Seal skin prices in 2013 were achieved through provincial financing for Carino.

“In the past two years alone, Carino has been offered more than $7 million in government bailouts. During that time, the provincial government cut 1,200 public sector jobs, including hundreds of critical jobs in health care and education, while 36 Newfoundland companies declared bankruptcy. Why is Carino—a Norwegian-owned entity engaged in a nonviable industry—put above so many local jobs and companies?

“The Newfoundland government has not yet announced if it will provide a third bailout to Carino in 2014. But if it does, it would be a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and confirm that the sealing industry exists as nothing more than a glorified welfare program. The writing is on the wall: markets for seal products will never recover and artificially propping up a dead industry is only prolonging the inevitable.”

Facts:

  • Since 2006, the 28-nation European Union, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan; Taiwan and Mexico have joined the United States in prohibiting trade in products of commercial seal hunts.
  • In March 2012, sealing industry representatives stated that the seal hunt might not proceed in absence of government subsidies.
  • In April 2012, the Newfoundland government made $3.6 million in financing available to Carino Company Ltd to allow the company to purchase seal furs to meet “future demand.”
  • In March 2013, the Newfoundland government announced the province faced a $564 million deficit and that the province would cut 1,200 public service jobs including hundreds of positions in the education and health care systems.
  • In April 2013, the Newfoundland government made another $3.6 million available to Carino to purchase seal skins.
  • In October and November 2013 respectively, the European Court of Justice and the World Trade Organization upheld the right of the European Union to prohibit trade in products of commercial seal hunts.


Media: Christopher Pare – office: 514 395-2914, cpare@hsi.org

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