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1 August 2007 - Canadian seal hunt condemned by US House of Representatives       

Canadian seal hunt condemned by US House of Representatives

Sydney, 1 August 2007                            
                                                                                                                                            

International pressure is mounting on the Canadian Government to end the barbaric Canadian seal hunt once and for all. The United States House of Representatives has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the hunt, sending a strong message to Canada to put a stop to this international atrocity.

“Canada’s commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world,” said Rebecca Keeble, HSI Program Manager. “It results in the brutal slaughter of hundreds of thousands of baby seals for their fur every year. This resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives adds a strong voice to the growing global pressure against this annual massacre.”

Following international action from Mexico, the European Parliament and numerous European countries, the resolution, H. Res. 427, was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in May by Reps. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) along with 30 cosponsors. It notes that more than one million seals have been killed over the past three years, 95% of whom were between 12 days and 12 weeks old. In a statement, Rep. Shays stressed his commitment to animal welfare and the protection of all animals, and his hope for an end to the unnecessary cruelty of this practice.

“This resolution addresses the global outrage at this cruel slaughter,” said Ms Keeble. “Thankfully, it appears that time is fast running out for this gruesome industry fuelled by economic gain and the fashion industry, and we are hopeful the Canadian Government will respect the international community’s desire to protect these animals from such horrendous treatment.”

This latest condemnation of the Canadian Government sanctioned annual seal hunt comes on the back of similar stances being taken by Mexico, the European Parliament, and a growing number of European Countries including Germany, France, Austria and the Netherlands – all sending a clear message that this barbaric slaughter must end now.

Humane Society International applauds the passing of this resolution by the US House of Representatives, and calls on the Australian Government to follow the US lead, call on the Canadian Government to end the cruel seal hunt and ban the importation of seal products into Australia.

FACTS:

  • Canada's commercial seal hunt is the world's largest slaughter of marine mammals, with more than one million seals killed in the past three years. 
  • Well over 95 percent of the seals killed each year are under 3 months old.
    Hunters kill the seals for their skins, which are sold to the fashion industry in Europe and Asia. The bloody carcasses are left behind on the ice.
  • An independent panel of veterinary experts performed post mortems on seal carcasses at the hunt in 2001. In 42 percent of cases they studied, they concluded the seal did not show enough evidence of cranial injury to even guarantee unconsciousness – much less death – at the time of skinning.
  • The Canadian government estimates tens of thousands of seals are wounded in the course of the hunt each year, but escape beneath the water's surface. They die slowly and their bodies are not recovered.
  • The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 bars the importation of seal products into the United States. 




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