TORONTO, APRIL 2/06 – Every time a seal pup is killed, the shock waves are felt across the country, says The Humane Society of Canada. It’s been almost a week since The Humane Society of Canada’s letters arrived in the offices of Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador and Prime Minister Steven Harper urging them to implement a program to buy back sealing licences and promote ecotourism to end the seal hunt. You can find copies of our letters to both the Prime Minister and the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since the letters have arrived, there has been no response from either politician and the group estimates that over 15,000 seal pups have already been shot, stabbed or clubbed in the largest annual tax payer funded slaughter of marine mammals on earth.
“We also put our money where our mouth is, by sending a cheque for $10,000 along with our letter to Prime Minister Harper to establish a federal fund to end the seal hunt once and for all. We also promised to enlist the goodwill of Canadians and other members of the global community to match dollar for dollar the amount of money pledged by the federal government to buy back licences from sealers and to stimulate ecotourism. No more boycotts, no more harm to the Canadian economy, no more global protests. It’s a good deal for the people of Canada and it’s a good deal for animals,” said The Humane Society of Canada’s Chairman & CEO, Michael O’Sullivan, who for the last 35 years has worked across Canada and in over 95 countries around the world on issues affecting people, animals and the environment.
According to the animal charity, the government’s own studies show that 9 out 10 Canadians already support the protection of wildlife and less than 5% of Canadians engage in the hunting of any wildlife at all. The group hopes that the politicians will chose resolution over conflict and is asking Canadians to contact Prime Minister Harper and Premier Williams here urging them to support this ‘made in Canada’ solution to end the global protests and boycotts which continue to harm animals and threaten Canada’s reputation and economy.
Last week, Prime Minister Harper met in Cancun for a special summit with President Bush and President Vincente Fox to discuss a number of issues including trade. Mexico and the United States, along with 27 other nations have already banned the import of seal products from Canada, and other nations are considering similar bans.
The Humane Society of Canada’s proposal is built on the Canadian model which provides subsidies to industries in transition, crop shortfalls, and to those who find themselves out of work and subject to other economic disparities. “For example, during 2005-2006 alone, the people of Newfoundland & Labrador will receive more than $1.5 billion in tax dollars from the rest of Canada to help them. Why can’t we help just a little more by raising the money to buy back their sealing licences and end the seal hunt for good?” asks O’Sullivan.
The Humane Society of Canada’s message is simple and can be found here: “Killing seals. The numbers just don’t add up. You could not find any clear thinking businessman or woman who would invest a single dollar of private money in Canada’s seal hunt. So why should the rest of Canadians see their hard earned tax dollars going to waste in support of this failing industry?” asks O’Sullivan.
The animal charity says that the tremendous global interest and the millions of dollars raised to end the seal hunt is proof positive that people will pay to protect and see seals in their natural habitat. “Whale watching generates more than $ 1.2 billion worldwide, and a single African elephant contributes over $1 million in ecotourism revenues throughout the animal’s lifetime. Carefully structured ecotourism generates significant income across a wide range of economic sectors and improves the lives of people and animals,” he says.
The Humane Society of Canada knows that federal politicians would be only too happy to end the annual seal slaughter but only if they are asked to by their provincial counterparts in Newfoundland & Labrador. This was underscored recently when Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has been criticized by reporters for being too controlling in his dealings with the news media, granted full authority to Premier Danny Williams to speak to a global television audience on behalf of all Canadians concerning the seal slaughter.
“For more than three decades, the seal hunt sanctioned by politicians using our tax dollars has cast a long shadow over our international reputation and the slaughter continues to lock the people who kill seals into a seemingly endless cycle of economic despair and brutal violence. No culture in the world encourages the slaughter of a young animal in sight of the animal’s mother,” says O’Sullivan, who has worked across Canada and around the world.
“We believe that the only sure path to the revitalization of the region is to lay a strong foundation based upon economic diversification. The sustainable non-consumptive use of wildlife through carefully structured ecotourism is one element of that foundation. Thriving businesses have shown that Canadians and tourists from around the world will support ecotourism and that they are prepared to pay for it,” said O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan believes that Stephen Harper and Danny Williams have the wisdom and the foresight to end the annual cycle of violence that harms people and animals and bring to a close the protests which have plagued Canada for more than three decades. “Boycotts of fish products, tourism and even the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver are going to cost Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars. Every time a seal pup is killed, the shockwaves are felt across the country. The seal hunt is a bad deal for the people of Canada and it’s a bad deal for animals,” says O’Sullivan. “A single telephone call from Premier Danny Williams to Prime Minister Steven Harper could change all of that.”
“We need new solutions to an old problem and we share the views of Premier Williams and Prime Minister Harper that people living in Newfoundland & Labrador need more jobs and more hope. In our view, forcing them to “make do” by engaging in the brutal killing of seal pups provides neither,” says O’Sullivan. “For the sake of Canadians and animals, we are willing to work with all interested parties to bring an end to the violence and killing; and we hope they are willing to become a part of this “made in Canada” solution.
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/group.php?gid=56132698753
[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.
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