January 8, 2013
Accomplishments for Seals
Every year, we get closer to ending Canada's cruel commercial seal hunt. See how far we've come.
With the help of our hundreds of thousands of caring supporters, the HSI/HSUS Protect Seals campaign grows ever closer to ending Canada's commercial seal slaughter forever. Some recent victories:
April 2013: The European General Court dismissed a case brought by sealing industry groups and some Inuit representatives that sought to overturn the EU ban on seal product trade.
January 2013: Taiwan passed a landmark ban on trade in marine mammal products, including seal skins (with an exemption for products of traditional indigenous hunts).
May 2012: Smartphone users downloaded nearly 4,800 copies of our app to help U.S.-based diners find restaurants near them that are boycotting Canadian seafood. The app, for iPhone/iPad or Android, continues to be available free of charge.
April 2012: Our campaign to close global markets helped to save more than 300,000 baby seals this year. The Canadian government set a commercial quota of 400,000 harp seals, but to date, fewer than 70,000 have been killed because of the lack of demand for seal fur.
March 2012: Canada’s top seal fur buyer, NuTan Furs, Inc., announced that it would no longer process seal skins, and would instead shift its business to other (non-seal) products. The announcement caused a major shakeup in the sealing industry, leading to more speculation that it could be coming to an end.
February 2012: Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Beijing in February, and it was widely reported in Canadian media that he would lobby for an agreement for Canada to export seal meat to China. Our Chinese partners campaigned hard against this, and no deal was reached.
December 2011: Russia prohibited imports and exports of harp seal fur, closing one of the few remaining markets for the Canadian sealing industry. Sealing and government representatives reacted immediately, noting that Russia had in some years accounted for 90 percent of seal product exports from Canada. Many questioned the future viability of the commercial sealing industry in light of this development. Canada’s second largest seal fur buyer, Carino Company, Ltd., cancelled an order for 100,000 seal furs in 2012, reportedly because of the ban.
April 2011: The Humane Society of the United States had the pleasure of announcing that 12 of the contestants—including the winner (Richard Blais), the runner-up (Mike Isabella), and the fan favorite (Carla Hall), from Bravo’s massively popular televison show, "Top Chef All Stars," had joined the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. Until Canada’s sealing industry stops supporting and participating in the annual commercial slaughter of seal pups, these all-star chefs won’t buy any seafood from them. The Top Chef team is join thousands of other chefs, restaurants and grocery stores—including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s—in making this important commitment to seals.
April 2011: As a result of a segment about the slaughter on CNN’s "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell," thousands of people learned about the seal hunt and what they can do to help bring to an end.
April 2011: HSI and The HSUS traveled to the ice floes off Canada’s east coast to bear witness to the commercial seal slaughter. We documented numerous apparent regulatory violations, exposing the cruelty of the commercial seal slaughter to the world. Our campaign begins now to ensure that the 2012 slaughter of baby seals in Canada never happens.
March 2011: HSI traveled to Beijing, China to meet with Chinese government authorities in response to statements made by the Canadian government that a deal had been struck to market edible seal products in China. Authorities assured HSI that no such deal exists, that they had heard the concerns of Chinese residents, and that no processing facility in Canada had been approved to import edible seal products into China.
February 2011: HSI documented the cruelty of Canada’s slaughter of grey seals on Hay Island, a part of the protected Scaterie Island Wilderness Area in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Reduced demand for seal fur this year ensured that nearly 2,000 baby seals survived that slaughter.
February 2011: Humane Society International sent renowned Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei a letter thanking her for rejecting the cruelty inherent in using seal fur. Guo had initially considered using seal fur in a dress design she was creating for Chinese celebrity Dong Qing; however, online messages of concern began pouring in from around the country from Chinese citizens outraged at the prospect of her using the skin of a baby seal. The renowned designer responded in just a few hours by making the responsible and compassionate decision not to use seal fur in her design, pledging never again to use animal fur in her work.
January 2011: Canadian Fisheries Minister Gail Shea announced that China had lifted a restriction on imports of prepared (cooked) edible seal products, which was reported by Canadian media as a victory for the sealing industry. Forty Chinese groups joined with HSI in issuing a statement in response. Local activists then attended a fur fashion show in Beijing at which Minister Shea was attempting to sell seal products, and distributed hundreds of letters formally requesting that she and her sealing industry colleagues leave China and stop attempting to sell seal products to unsuspecting consumers.
January 2011: A distinguished group of chefs, celebrities, media and HSUS donors came together for the third HSUS “Chefs For Seals” event. The event was hosted by Nigel Barker and Cat Cora and celebrated the more than 300 restaurants, grocery stores and hotels in Southern California that are part of the boycott. Nigel Barker’s stunning photographs of young harp seals were on display, and Barker took photos of the chefs and celebrity attendees in his pop-up studio at the party. The event was held at the Montage Beverly Hills; the Montage, one of LA’s premiere hotels, is a strong supporter of the boycott and graciously donated its ballroom to us for the evening. The groundswell of support from the hotel, the chefs, the donors, and the celebrities was a testament to the level of opposition to Canada’s seal hunt.
December 2010: In early December, HSI and our Taiwanese partner group EAST held a media conference in Taipei to expose the cruelty of Canada’s commercial seal hunt. Several government officials attended the event and confirmed to media that they would seriously consider moving forward with a ban on seal product trade. Many of the top retailers in Taiwan pledged to discontinue sales of seal oil. Twelve television stations covered the conference. HSI also held a media conference in Seoul, South Korea, with our partner group, the Korean Animal Welfare Association, to call for a ban on seal product trade. The media interest was tremendous, with leading news agencies in attendance.
November 2010: HSI held a landmark press conference in Beijing, China to expose the cruelty of the Canadian commercial seal hunt. Thirty leading media outlets from China attended and footage of the commercial seal hunt was broadcast nationally. The resulting media coverage sparked a national outcry in China, and multiple calls for a prohibition on seal products. The Patina Restaurant Group pledged to join the Protect Seals seafood boycott. With more than 40 restaurants in Los Angeles and New York, the Patina Group is one of the most influential restaurant groups in America.
October 2010: Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States applauded a landmark ruling by the president of the European General Court to dismiss an application by commercial sealing interests to suspend the European Union Regulation prohibiting seal product trade pending the outcome of a court case. The top two buyers of seal fur from the Canadian commercial seal slaughter were among the applicants in the case.
September 2010: The Venetian and Palazzo Casinos inLas Vegas joined the Protect Seals seafood boycott. Together, the Venetian and The Palazzo comprise the largest five-diamond hotel and resort complex in the world. By September 2010, well over 100 restaurants in Europe had joined the boycott, including restaurants in The UK, Ireland, France, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, and Belgium.
August 2010: The European Union ban on trade in products of commercial seal hunt entered into force, removing a primary market for Canada’s commercial sealing industry, and changing history for the seals.
July 2010: Chef and TV personality Mario Batali and his 16-unit restaurant group joined the Protect Seals campaign.
June 2010: Johnny Food Master, a 16-unit grocery chain in Boston, joined the Protect Seals boycott.
May 2010: Footage of the 2010 commercial seal hunt was provided to government representatives in North America and Europe. China Grill Management (with 24 restaurants in LA, Miami, NY, Miami, London, Chicago and Mexico City) joined the Protect Seals seafood boycott.
April 2010: HSI and The HSUS documented the 2010 commercial seal slaughter, filming more than 250 apparent violations of the Marine Mammal Regulations. The Humane Society of the United States and Chefs for Seals hosted an Earth Day celebration of Canada's seal pups in Miami in an effort to end the commercial seal slaughter. More than 70 local chefs and restaurants pledged to boycott Canadian seafood until the slaughter is ended for good.