click on 'White Coat' Harp Seal pup's image to enlarge picture click on 'Ragged Jacket' Harp Seal pup's image to enlarge picture

TORONTO, MARCH 24/06 – On the eve of a massive global protest that continues to harm Canada’s economy and reputation, The Humane Society of Canada is urging Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador and Prime Minister Steven Harper to implement a program to buy back licences to end the seal hunt. Copies of the letters to the Prime Minister and the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador can be found on our website. And the animal charity is putting its money where its mouth is, by sending a letter along with a cheque for $10,000 to Prime Minister Harper and Premier Williams to start the ball rolling.


“More than ever before, Canadians know that the seal hunt is one of growing international concern. The Humane Society of Canada promises 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 HSC Chairman & CEO, Michael 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 see seals in their natural habitat. “Nine of out ten Canadians already support the protection and not the killing of wildlife. 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’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 support this failing industry?” asks O’Sullivan.

The animal charity 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 granted full authority to Premier Danny Williams to speak 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 for the last 35 years has worked across Canada and in over 95 countries 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.”

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?”

The official position of Federal politicians can be found here and of Provincial politicians can be found here.

“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 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.

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.










4,000 to 5,000 sealers living primarily in Newfoundland and Labrador who carry out sealing for several weeks each year

511,000 people living in Newfoundland and Labrador and 32 million Canadians who are not sealers

Less than 1 out of 10 people in Newfoundland and Labrador who are sealers (0.009% of their population are sealers) and published reports indicate that the money made from sealing contributes to less than 5% of the gross domestic product and about 2% of the fishery revenue for all of Newfoundland & Labrador

Less than 1 out 10 Canadians kill wildlife (less than 5% of Canadians hunt wildlife)

Sealers are causing and will continue to cause the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars because of a tourism boycott to Canada; and the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver which is hoping for over 2.3 million visitors, more than 5,000 athletes and 14,000 volunteers along with 10,000 members of the news media

The rest of Canada is being affected and will continue to be affected through the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the tourism boycott caused by the seal hunt. Last year more than 18.8 million tourists visited Canada and in 2004 spent over $ 10 billion. Canadian tourism experts are already concerned that a new U.S. law requiring travelers to show only approved identification documents and passports will decrease the number of tourists visiting Canada

Sealers are causing and will continue to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in losses due to a boycott of Canadian seafood products

The rest of Canada and is being affected and will continue to be affected through the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the seafood boycott caused by the seal hunt. Organizers of the seafood boycott claim that over the past year alone this has already cost Canada more than $ 174.89 million in lost revenues.

Politicians say that last year the seal hunt contributed $ 15.7 million to the economy of Newfoundland & Labrador

A Canadian study from the Gallon Environmental Newsletter prepared by the Canadian Institute for Business & the Environment which was headed by Gary Gallon showed that between 1995 and 2001 alone, that tax payers from the rest of Canada subsidized the seal hunt to the tune of at least $ 20 million. Politicians did not fully cooperate in the release of this information, and we believe the actual tax payer subsidy is even higher. If the rest of Canada did not pay for it with our hard earned tax dollars, then the seal hunt would have ended years ago. A full copy of the report can be found here. The politicians’ ongoing unfair subsidy of the seal hunt will eventually provoke a trade dispute before the World Trade Organization and Canada will lose such a dispute and could be required to pay compensation

Sealers in Newfoundland and Labrador represent less than 0.00015 % of all tax payers in Canada

Finance Canada reports that $ 1.5 billion was sent last year alone by taxpayers from the rest of Canada to help the people of Newfoundland and Labrador

4,000 to 5,000 sealers living primarily in Newfoundland and Labrador who want to continue the seal hunt

32 million Canadians who pay the price for their decision to continue the seal hunt

325,000 seals are to be killed this year alone. 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

Every time a seal pup is clubbed, stabbed or shot, the shockwave is felt across the Canadian economy. Seal populations are not just placed at risk by the direct killing operations carried out by sealers. They are also affected by manmade environmental impacts like global climate change, pollution and overfishing. Acting in concert these can have a devastating synergistic or multiplier effect on wildlife species. Historical studies have repeatedly shown that by the time scientists realize that any species has reached the brink of extinction then it is almost always too late to save them. The destruction of the cod stocks because of overfishing is but one recent example

Norway, Russia and China are the primary fashion markets for the fur of seal pups; and the penises of adult seals are sent to China for use as aphrodisiacs

Already 29 countries around the world ban the import of seal pup fur from Canada and others are considering similar bans. Although Canadian politicians continue to lobby against such bans, they abandoned a legal challenge before GATT which was the forerunner to the World Trade Organization because they believed they would lose such a challenge

Sealers could promote ecotourism instead of killing seals

Whale watching now generates more than $ 1.2 billion per year worldwide

Ecotourism provides an economic boost to many additional parts of the economy and improves the lives of people and animals.

Throughout the animal’s lifetime, a single African elephant contributes over $ 1 million through ecotourism revenues.


4,000 to 5,000 sealers who could consider any alternatives such as a buyback of their sealing licences and ecotourism

The long term cost to 32 million of their fellow Canadians and Canada’s reputation because of the seal hunt: Priceless.

Offering no proof that they actually even enforce the law, politicians claim that no whitecoat harp seal pups are killed any longer.

The term "whitecoat" refers to the stage of development of a pup, and means the pup is 14 to 21 days of age. Instead, sealers simply wait less than a day until the seal’s fur begins to moult before they club, stab or shoot the seal pup. Published reports indicate that last year alone, 98.5% of all seal pups killed were less than two months of age. At this age, the seal pups are not able to find food, and cannot swim or escape from the hunters

Politicians claim that the seal hunt is good conservation

Lagging behind many other countries in the world because of political infighting between the federal, provincial and territorial governments, it took over 30 years to finally pass the federal Species At Risk law in 2003 to protect endangered species – which many believe contains too many loopholes and is poorly enforced. In the past, species in Canada have already been driven to extinction.

Politicians and sealers claim that seals ate all of the cod fish

Canadian studies have shown that cod make up less than 3% of a harp seal’s diet and that seals also eat other fish which prey on the cod. These same politicians allowed the commercial overexploitation of the cod fish and now the lobster, crab and other shellfish stocks which was a focus of concern in the 1999 Report by the Federal Auditor General. The mismanagement by politicians of the cod stocks is a tragic tale of hook, line and extinction. More than 200 major commercial fisheries around the world are in a downward spiral. Even the World Bank and the World Trade Organization agree that the global fishing industry is heavily overly subsidized with tax dollars in the amount of $ 30 billion. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization reports that there is a global overfishing crisis with 52% of stocks fully exploited and a further 24% of stocks depleted due to overexploitation. Each year commercial fishing fleets throw away 60 billion pounds of unwanted fish which is about 25% of the total global catch. There are simply too many vessels, catching too many fish, using too many destructive methods.

Politicians claim there are more than 6 million seals

While it sounds good on paper, in reality there is no scientific way to accurately verify the total number of seals living in the ocean

Politicians says that laws are necessary to prevent protestors from interfering with the seal hunt

Politicians rarely if ever fine or suspend sealers and instead retaliate against anyone whose views differ from their own including threatening charities who disagree with them Although every Canadian is guaranteed freedom of expression and movement anywhere in Canada by law under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, most Canadians would be surprised to learn that it is illegal to attend and view the seal hunt without first obtaining permission from politicians and that they can refuse to grant such permission for any reason they choose. Further, if you do not have permission from politicians that it is illegal to come within one nautical mile of a single seal. Even if a person is granted permission by politicians, unless you intend to shoot, stab or club a seal pup then it is also illegal to touch any seal. The penalties for disobeying the politicians who created these laws includes fines ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 and a term of imprisonment of between one to two years or both; and whatever forfeiture of goods, services or other restitution that politicians order. Because Department of Fisheries and Oceans civil servants refuse to verify this information we have provided a direct link to the politicians’ website which can be found here. Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador is demanding that unless a person is slaughtering seal pups, no one, including Canadians should be allowed to attend and observe the hunt even with a permit because it poses too many problems. This is not the kind of police state mentality Canadians want or expect from politicians.


Here’s what you can do to help end the brutal slaughter of seal pups:

The Humane Society of Canada is asking you, your family, friends and coworkers to write a polite yet firm letter to Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland & Labrador and Prime Minister Steven Harper asking them to support a plan to buy back licences and launch new ecotourism initiatives and remind them that Canada and the world is watching and waiting for them to end the largest tax payer funded slaughter of marine mammals in the world.

A registered charity, The Humane Society of Canada 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 campaign to end the seal hunt please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty, we don’t give up. Ever.