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March 2, 2015

Canadian Government Sets Reckless 2015 Commercial Seal Hunt Quota

Seal product trade bans crucial for stopping the slaughter, says HSI Canada

Humane Society International/Canada

  • HSI

The 2015 seal hunt quota of 468,000 harp, hooded and grey seals was set today by Fisheries Minister Gail Shea. Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, condemns the quota as irresponsible and issued the following statement:

“Canada’s Fisheries Minister has yet again ignored sound science in favour of her political agenda. The Canadian government acknowledges that climate change is causing mass mortalities for these ice-dependent seals, yet is still endorsing the largest mass slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. Instead of setting irresponsible and unsustainable seal quotas, our government should take immediate steps to end the commercial seal slaughter through a federal sealing industry buyout.

“Thankfully, more than 35 compassionate nations have chosen to end their trade in products of commercial seal slaughters. International demand for seal fur will likely be low again this year, along with the financial incentive for sealers to kill seals. In light of this massive quota, it is more important than ever for nations to maintain and defend their prohibitions on seal product trade.”

Call for a federal buyout of Canada’s commercial sealing industry.


  • Harp seals rely on sea ice to give birth to and nurse their pups. Climate change is causing their ice habitat to deteriorate at an alarming rate. In recent years, the Canadian government has estimated up to 100 percent mortality for pups born in key whelping areas when the sea ice melted too soon in the season.
  • Global markets for seal products are closing fast. The United States, the European Union,; Switzerland, Mexico and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia have all stopped their trade in some or all products of commercial seal hunts. 
  • In 2013 and 2014, the World Trade Organization twice upheld the right of the EU to ban trade in products of commercial seal hunts.
  • Government landing reports confirm that more than 98 percent of seals killed in Canada’s annual slaughter are less than three months of age.
  • Veterinary reports consistently reveal high levels of animal suffering in commercial sealing, and leading veterinary experts now state that Canada’s commercial slaughter is inherently inhumane.
  • National polling consistently shows most Canadians want the commercial seal slaughter to end, and oppose the Canadian government using tax dollars to promote the sealing industry.
  • Polling shows half of Newfoundland sealers and the majority of Newfoundlanders, holding an opinion, support a federal sealing industry buyout (Ipsos Reid 2010).

Media Contact: Christopher Paré: 514 395-2914, cpare@hsi.org

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