Monday, May 03, 2004

SOURCE: political animal, [BanFur]


Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Recommend Resolution to Full Senate

WASHINGTON—A U.S. Senate resolution urging the Canadian government to end the needless slaughter of harp and hooded seals has gained the support and co-sponsorship of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE). “We applaud the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its leaders for unequivocally condemning the Canadian seal hunt,” said Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president of wildlife programs for The Humane Society of the United States (The HSUS). “Greenpeace USA and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) join us in thanking the Committee because there is simply no justification for Canada’s killing of harp seals. By putting the Committee on record against the unconscionable and needless slaughter of seals for fur, they have conveyed to the Canadian Prime Minister and the rest of the world that the practice must be ended once and for all.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today favorably reported the resolution for action by the full Senate.
The resolution made the following points:

• Last year, the Canadian government announced that it would permit the clubbing and shooting of close to one million baby harp seals over the next three years, the highest quota for seal killing in Canada’s history.

• This year’s hunt has already resulted in the deaths of over 320,000 seals – mostly between the ages of twelve days and three months old.

• The Canadian seal hunt is the largest commercial kill of marine mammals in the world.

• A 2001 study by an independent team of veterinarians found that up to 42 percent of the seals examined were
likely skinned while alive and conscious.

• The world community is condemning the hunt, with initiatives to ban seal products under consideration in Italy and Belgium.

Greenpeace USA has joined with other animal protection organizations of the world to say that this abhorrent practice has to end. “If the Canadian government continues to promote this horrific and needless slaughter as the only way it knows to help the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, then the imagination and leadership abilities of Canada’s leaders are in as great jeopardy as the seals themselves,” said John Passacantando, executive director, Greenpeace USA.

The resolution was originally introduced by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and strongly supported by Susan Collins (R-ME). The Humane Society of the United States along with other animal welfare and conservation groups have actively campaigned against the Canadian seal hunt, running full page advertisements in major U.S. newspapers and encouraging their members to think twice about traveling to Canada.

“Canada’s commercial seal hunt is a cruel and outmoded industry with no place in the 21st century,” said Fred O’Regan, President of IFAW. “Today’s bipartisan action in the United States Senate is another step toward a better world for animals and people.”

Aside from the inherent cruelty associated with the clubbing and shooting of the seals, the resolution also pointed to the inability of the Canadian government to enforce the quota, citing the fact that many of the seals shot during the hunt escape beneath the ice and die later after suffering. These “struck and lost” animals are not counted against the quota, causing significant inaccuracies in the official kill statistics. Finally, the resolution refuted several arguments made by the Canadian government and sealing lobby in favor of the hunt, including their arguments that it is vital to the economy of Atlantic Canada and will help restore depleted cod stocks.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization with more than eight million members and constituents.
The HSUS is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection,
wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research and farm animals and sustainable agriculture. The HSUS protects all animals through legislation, litigation, investigation, education, advocacy and fieldwork.
The non-profit organization, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2004, is based in Washington, DC
and has 10 regional offices across the country. On the web at or

The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St., NW
Washington, DC 20037
Promoting the Protection of All Animals