Heather and Paul McCartney visit seal nursery just days before brutal slaughter begins
McCartneys and The HSUS Call on the Canadian Government to End the Seal Hunt
Later this week, Heather and Paul McCartney will join The Humane Society of the United States on the ice floes off the East Coast of Canada to observe newborn harp seal pups just weeks before they will be clubbed and shot to death for their fur.
The McCartney's trip March 2 and 3 will highlight the work of two animal protection groups to stop the Canadian seal hunt, during which hundreds of thousands of seal pups are killed each year: The HSUS and its international arm, Humane Society International, and the UK campaign group Respect for Animals. Both organizations are working to close global markets for seal products and to pressure the Canadian government to end the seal hunt for good.
During the last three years alone, the Canadian government has allowed nearly 1 million seals to be slaughtered. Fully 97 percent of them were less than 3 months of age, and the majority was less than 1 month old. A 2001 independent veterinarian report concluded that close to half of the seals examined were likely still conscious when skinned, causing "considerable and unacceptable suffering."
"Heather and Paul's visit to the seal pups will shine a global media spotlight on this cruel and needless slaughter," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of Canadian wildlife issues for Humane Society International . "The Canadian government must act now to save Canada's international reputation and put a final end to the commercial seal hunt."
Today's kill levels meet and even exceed those of the 1950s and 1960s, when the harp seal population was reduced by as much as two-thirds. In the 1980s, an EU ban on the import of the skins from 'whitecoat' (newborn) seals dramatically reduced the number of seals killed in the hunt. But today, sealers kill pups as soon as they have begun to moult - as young as 12 days old - and the skins of these slightly older seals are legally traded in Europe.
Opinion polls consistently show the overwhelming majority of Canadians, Americans and Europeans oppose the commercial seal hunt. Mexico, Italy and Greenland are just the latest countries to take action to ban the trade in Canadian seal products.