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April 15, 2015

Government Sealing Industry "Investment" is a Sham

Top processors admit to lack of markets, stockpile of seal fur

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Humane Society International

Carino Processing Ltd, Canada's top buyer of sealskins, has announced that the company will not purchase seal fur this year and is refusing $1 million in financing offered by the Newfoundland government. The company cited a lack of demand while admitting to warehousing a stockpile of seal furs. A new company, PhocaLux International Inc., is accepting government financing and has stated it will purchase around 30,000 seal furs. Yet PhocaLux CEO Bernie Halloran told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation this week that, “the markets aren’t really great around the world" and "it's probably not a really good time to get in this industry.”

Protect Seals: Uphold the EU Ban

The Humane Society International Protect Seals team is in Newfoundland to document the commercial seal slaughter, which started over the weekend. Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada and Protect Seals team leader, stated the following:

“It is very clear that the Newfoundland government's offer of multimillion dollar financing for the sealing industry is little more than a cynical public relations stunt and a colossal waste of taxpayers' money. Both intended recipients of this public money have admitted to poor market conditions around the world, while one of the companies is holding a stockpile of seal fur.

“Encouraging fishermen to make economic decisions based on empty promises of markets that will never materialize is self-serving at best. Atlantic Canada’s coastal communities deserve a real investment, and one that can actually help build local economies. It is time our government provided a fair transition program for sealers and a meaningful investment in humane economic alternatives."

“This will be my 17th year witnessing the commercial seal hunt and what I have seen is heartbreaking. It is wonderful to know that far fewer seals will die this year because compassionate nations are closing their borders to seal products.”


  • 35 countries, including the United States, the 28-nation European Union and Russia, have ended their trade in the main products of Canada's seal slaughter. These bans contain exemptions for byproducts of traditional Inuit seal hunts.
  • In 2012, NuTan Furs, at the time the largest buyer of seal fur in Canada, closed its doors to seal products, citing the lack of markets.
  • In 2013 and 2014 the World Trade Organization twice upheld the right of the European Union to ban trade in products of commercial seal hunts.
  • Canadian government 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 have concluded that Canada’s commercial slaughter is inherently inhumane.
  • Evidence gathered every year by HSI shows that many seals suffer considerably, including conscious pups impaled on steel hooks, dragged across the ice and cut open, and wounded seals left to suffer in agony and escape beneath the water’s surface, where they die slowly. HSI footage has played a vital role in convincing nations to stop their trade in seal products.
  • Polling shows half of Newfoundland sealers and the majority of Newfoundlanders, holding an opinion, support a federal sealing industry buyout, a plan in which sealers would be compensated for their licenses and economic alternatives developed. (Ipsos Reid 2010).
  • HSI does not oppose Inuit subsistence sealing. Our campaign seeks to end the industrial scale, commercial slaughter of baby seals for their fur in Atlantic Canada.

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

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