harp sealVANCOUVER MAY 2/09 - “… Before the next club falls. Before the next hakipik stabs. Before the next shot rings out. Before the next seal pup is killed in sight of their mother, please send a message of support for a ban on the import of seal products into the European Union…” asks The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).

“Only with your help can we bring about an end to the largest taxpayer funded slaughter of marine mammals anywhere on earth,” says HSC Western Regional Director Al Hickey.

“There is no humane way to kill a seal pup on vast ice fields under uncertain and constantly changing weather conditions with sealers experiencing fatigue and frustration. Even the Canadian Government now admits that overfishing and not seals are responsible for declining fish stocks,” says Hickey.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) says the outlook continues to be bleak for seals. This year's quota has been set at 338,200 seals, an increase of 55,000 seals from last year. Last year's quota was increased to 275,000 an increase of 5,000 seal pups take in 2007 after warm temperatures melted the ice flows before the pups were able to survive in open water. The Canadian government predicted up to 90% pup mortality rate in some areas. 335,000 seals were killed in 2006.

If the politicians continue to allow this number to be killed then the seal hunt management plan for 2006 - 2010 will result in the killing of more than 1.3 million seal pups. The last time politicians allowed this many seals to be killed was during the 1950s and 1960s and it nearly decimated two thirds of the species.

“The vast majority of seals who are killed are less than eight weeks of age. Slaughtering animals in sight of their mothers against a backdrop of nature’s birthing grounds has earned Canada international condemnation. While Canadians have a good reputation as international peace keepers, when it comes to the other species with whom we share the planet we’re looked upon as one of the more violent and callous of nations,” says HSC Chairman & CEO Michael O’Sullivan who has spent the last four decades working here in Canada and around the world.

O’Sullivan also had harsh words for Canadian politicians and civil servants who continue to ignore the tremendous negative economic impact that the seal hunt causes: “In addition, billions of dollars are being lost through resulting boycotts of seafood, tourism and related industries and Canada’s international reputation continues to suffer because of their actions. Concerned groups have already announced their intention to boycott the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010. The harsh reality is that it has always been more expensive for Canadian taxpayers to pay for the annual seal slaughter than it would be to end it and pay sealers compensation and launch job training and skills programs.”

“Simply put, the seal hunt is an economic, political and animal protection disaster. It is a bad deal for people, animals and the environment. Every time a seal pup is killed the shock waves are felt across the country. Thirty three million Canadians who are forced to pay for it are being held hostage by several thousand people who kill seals for several weeks out of each year,” he says.

A ‘made in Canada’ solution has been repeatedly ignored by Canadian politicians. The proposal included a cheque for $ 10,000 from The Humane Society of Canada to jump start and manage a federal government fund to buy back sealing licences and launch new initiatives to promote ecotourism; and we offered our expertise to enlist the goodwill of Canadians and others from around the world to match dollar for dollar the amount of money needed to end this cruel slaughter once and for all.

For decades, millions of seal pups have been killed off the coast of Canada and it is time to end this terrible cycle of violence. Please sign our petition to the President of the European Union here, giving your support for a ban to the import of seal products into the European Union.

For more background visit www.humanesociety.com or www.savethesealsnow.org

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.

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