TORONTO, March 7, 2002 - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) supports March 12th as a Global Day of Action Against the Seal Hunt, to bring increased attention on the cruel and harmful hunts waged on seals in Canada, Norway and elsewhere.


"Anything that brings attention to the slaughter of these intelligent, sentient animals is a good thing," says HSC executive director Michael O’Sullivan. "Unbelievable as it may seem in the 21st century, seals are still being killed for their fur, their penises, and because fishermen and civil servants need someone to blame for their own mismanagement of commercial fish stocks."


The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization have all concluded that fishing is heavily subsidized with tax dollars, resulting in too many fishing boats using destructive fishing methods catching too many fish.

"For more than three decades, Canada’s annual seal hunt has cast a long shadow over our international reputation and the hunt continues to lock the people who kill the seals into a seemingly endless cycle of economic despair. The economy of Canada’s east coast has always been propped up by equalization funds contributed by other parts of Canada. Any politician or economist advocating a strong, diversified economic base built upon a strategy of shifting commercial exploitation from one species to the next is engaging in an exercise doomed to fail. The only sure path to reorganization is to lay a strong foundation based upon economic diversification. The sustainable, non-consumptive use of wildlife and the environment through carefully planned ecotourism is one element of that foundation. Surveys have shown that Canadians and tourists from other countries support the non-consumptive use of wildlife and they are prepared to pay for it."

"Public opinion polls conducted by the federal government show that 9 out of 10 Canadians support the protection and not the slaughter of Canada. The seal hunt is a bad deal for Newfoundland & Labrador, bad for Canada and bad for seals," said O’Sullivan.

"The senseless suffering that seals are exposed to is unimaginable and unforgivable," says HSC Western Regional Director Al Hickey. "Every year hundreds of thousands of seals are massacred in commercial seal hunts around the world. And this doesn’t include the thousands of seals who are killed in fishing nets and shot by fishermen."

This year the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans is permitting the slaughter of 275,000 harp seals in the largest marine mammal hunt on the planet. "There is no legitimate reason to kill any of these seals," says a disgusted O’Sullivan. "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."

The Humane Society of Canada is asking the public to contact the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans demanding that this cruel, barbaric slaughter be stopped. Please remember to include your email and postal code in your emails.

Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
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The Honourable Robert G. Thibault
Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings, Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
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CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[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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