2007 2009

26.12.2009 Canada Plans to Fight the Online Opposition to the Canadian Seal Hunt

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2009/12/24/nl-seal-hunt-241209.html
"The federal government plans to step up its efforts to fight opposition to the Canadian seal hunt by countering the online campaigns created by anti-sealing groups. The Department of Foreign Affairs has posted a request for proposals on the contract tendering site MERX.
The public tender listing describes the contract as "social media reputation and online issues management of the seal hunt."

It says anti-sealing groups are using digital communications and technologies to "great advantage," which the federal government wants to counter.

"Organized opposition to the seal hunt has been increasing internationally since the government of Canada announced a five-year management plan in 2006," the listing says.

"Tactics also include posting videos, images and other details … on platforms like YouTube and Flickr where sharing and viewership are maximized."

Foreign Affairs says the information is "frequently incorrect or disingenuous."

Simone MacAndrew, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs, said in an email to CBC News that "Canada goes to great lengths to ensure a humane, well-regulated and sustainable seal hunt."

MacAndrew said the contract would be a pilot project to help deliver that message and to counter the negative publicity surfacing on some online sites.

Some of objectives listed for the project include a plan to:

* Monitor, measure and counter the inaccurate claims online of anti-sealing groups.
* Provide balanced viewpoints and correct misinformation.
* Establish foundations and recommendations for future programs and campaigns to identify, activate and engage a supportive community of digital influencers online through education and dialogue.
* Complement government of Canada communications activities, domestically and internationally, online.

"The project goal is to allow the government to provide additional information, including correcting false information and dispelling myths about the Canadian seal hunt," MacAndrew said in her email.

The Department of Foreign Affairs estimates the value of the work is between $50,000 and $100,000."

Below Article by Patrick White http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ottawa-seeks-help-with-seal-message/article1412185/
The federal government is opening a new front in its decades-old clash with anti-sealing groups, shifting the battlefield from ice floes to the Internet.

Concerned that seal protests timed for the Vancouver Winter Olympics may further bloody the country's reputation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade posted a contract for a company to monitor and neutralize “well-organized anti-sealing groups” who are cultivating vast support online through Facebook, Twitter and other social-networking sites.

One such group, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, recently launched a site that features the cute Olympic mascots Miga, Quatchi and Sumi murdering a frightened seal. Several other sites run by Humane Society International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society all post videos of Canadian hunters clubbing seals and dragging their bleeding carcasses across the ice.

The DFAIT tender, posted Dec. 17, suggests the Conservatives realize they're being seriously out-manoeuvred online. Wily environmental groups are “leveraging Web 2.0 technologies and platforms to build communities of interest” by “posting videos, images and other details (frequently incorrect or disingenuous) on platforms like YouTube and Flickr where sharing and viewership are maximized,” according to a federal abstract the contract tendering site MERX.

To repulse that growing online presence, the federal government aims to spend between $50,000 and $100,000 on a firm that can help in “correcting false information and dispelling myths about the Canadian seal hunt,” according to Dana Cryderman, a foreign affairs spokeswoman.

Among those misconceptions, Ms. Cryderman said, is that Canada is callous in its regard for animal welfare.

“Canada goes to great lengths to ensure a humane, well-regulated and sustainable seal hunt,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Canada's Marine Mammal Regulations stipulate that seals must be killed quickly using only high-powered rifles, shotguns firing slugs, clubs or hakapiks.”

Not quickly enough for the cameras, however. With the rise of video-sharing sites, gruesome clips showing hunters bludgeoning seals until ice floes are covered in blood have circulated the world, offering vivid challenges to any claims of humanity.

In May, the European Union voted to ban the import of seal products, citing cruel hunting methods. The ban goes into effect in August of next year, and would effectively shutter the largest remaining market for Canadian seal pelts.

The U.S., Mexico and several other countries banned seal imports as far back as 1974.

“You now have more than a billion people whose governments have passed seal bans,” said Michael O'Sullivan, executive director of the Humane Society of Canada. “That means one in every six people on Earth don't believe in what the Canadian government is doing.”

Despite the outrage abroad, politicians of all stripes have found that defending sealers makes for good optics at home. Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic MPs have all publicly supported the industry, successfully lobbying the parliamentary restaurant to place seal meat on its menu.

But the political backing cannot mask the industry's plummeting fortunes.

The total hunt in 2009 netted just $1-million, down from between $2.5-million and $20-million in previous years. Prices have sagged as low as $15, from a 2006 peak of $105.

With the industry in tatters, anti-sealing campaigners expect the government's online countermeasures to have little effect on their battle to ban the hunt.

18.11.2009 Parliamentary restaurant to serve seal meat

No photo - it's disgusting !!
"OTTAWA–Governor General Michaëlle Jean declared it to be "absolutely delicious."
To others it is absolutely disgusting, not to mention morally reprehensible.
Members of Parliament and senators soon will be able to decide for themselves when seal meat comes to their swishy private restaurant on Parliament Hill."
more read on:
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/727259--parliamentary-restaurant-to-serve-seal-meat

07.11.2009 Quebec MP's sealskin portfolio a hit

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2009/11/03/seal-folder.html
"A sealskin-covered folder given to a Quebec MP by Iqaluit Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik has made national headlines and even moved other politicians to ask where they can get their own.

Sheutiapik gave the portfolio to Quebec Conservative MP Steven Blaney a couple of years ago while she was attending a political event in Quebec City.

The folder resurfaced Sept. 16 when anti-sealing protesters interrupted question period at the House of Commons. At that point, Blaney stood up in the Commons and held up the folder as a show of support for the Canadian seal hunt.

The Lévis-Bellechasse MP's gesture garnered applause and prompted a rare display of solidarity from the opposition benches. Some MPs then asked him where they could get a similar accessory.

"All the House … stood for this, I would say, principle of democracy, and also for the principle of defending the seal industry," Blaney told CBC News. "Since then, I received many calls and requests to get those great portfolios."

Blaney, who said he proudly carries his sealskin folder every day and recently wrote to Sheutiapik to ask how other members can get their own folder.

"When there's a high-profile visit or meeting, we usually give them these sealskin portfolios as a 'thank you' and we also realize that these are gifts that are not going to be forgotten. And here's a prime example," Sheutiapik said.

Blaney said some MPs have suggested presenting sealskin folders as gifts whenever a European parliamentarian comes to Ottawa.

The European Union banned the import of seal products from Canada and other sealing countries earlier this year. The ban exempts seal items derived from traditional Inuit hunts, but sealers in Nunavut have expressed concern that it would still hurt their livelihoods."

05.11.2009 Canada makes WTO complaint against EU seal product ban

MONTREAL — Canada filed an official complaint Monday at the World Trade Organisation against a European Union ban on imported seal products, saying it violated trade rules.

Foreign ministers in Brussels adopted in July a ban on seal products from Canada, ruling the goods could not be marketed in the 27 EU nations.

In a letter sent to the European Union and the WTO, Canada said the move was "inconsistent with the EC's (European Commission's) obligations" under international trade rules.

Ottawa was therefore calling for consultations with Brussels on the issue, according to a copy of the letter seen by AFP.

Under WTO rules, if both sides fail to resolve their dispute within 60 days of consultations, Canada can ask the organisation to make a ruling.

Canada's largest Inuit organisation, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, praised the government's action.

Mary Simon, the organisation's president, said she told the European Union that an exemption on Inuit products was "useless because once the market is eliminated for seal products, it is eliminated for Inuit products as well."

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, however, derided the Canadian action, arguing that it would cost the government more to protect the industry than it generates each year.

"Apparently the sky's the limit when it comes to bailing out special interests like commercial seal clubbing," said Sheryl Fink, a researcher with the animal protection group.

"There seems to be no end in sight to the use of Canadian's tax dollars to try and keep the sinking sealing industry afloat," she said.

Around 6,000 Canadians take part in seal hunting each year along the Atlantic coast.

Ottawa authorizes the slaughter of 338,000 seals per season and says the survival of the species is not in danger.

Seal hunters cashed in about 10 million dollars from the 2009 hunt, Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day said in July, adding that 25 percent of the sales usually come from exporting products to Europe.

Canada, Greenland and Namibia kill 60 percent of the 900,000 seals slain each year. Other seal-hunting countries include Norway, Iceland, Russia and the United States.

30.08.2009 Comment from Paul Watson

http://www.oceansentry.org/lang-en/menu-sea-shepherd/menu-shepherd-news/2223-serial-seal-slaying-senators-support-seal-slaughter.html
Some Canadian Senators and staffers decided to take a two-day visit to Namibia recently to indulge in a little bit of seal puppy snuff porn on the beaches of that country, where they joyfully observed and applauded the cruel slaughter of new born South African fur seal pups. They applauded as the baby seals lay writhing in agony in pools of blood and gore on the beaches as Namibian sealers laughed and posed for pictures for the Senators.

It’s unknown if they dined on raw baby seal hearts like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper did recently, or Canadian Governor General Michealle Jean did a few months ago. Eating raw seal meat and observing seals being killed is apparently the latest way to demonstrate patriotism in the Great White North, where men prove their manliness by clubbing baby animals and politicians demonstrate their whorishness by supporting any perversion for votes.

A few years ago, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society filmed a Newfoundland sealer as he dropped his pants and masturbated onto the bloody deck of his sealing boat.

Canadian politicians having been making fools of themselves internationally ever since the European Parliament voted to ban seal products into Europe, a move that has crippled the Canadian sealing industry. Eating raw bleeding seal hearts, demanding that the Canadian Olympic team wear seal skin uniforms, carrying seal skin brief cases, wearing seal skin jackets, and now watching baby seals being killed for the perverse pleasure of watching the little pups being clubbed alive. It’s clear that the European Parliament has shook things up so badly in the Canadian House of Commons that quite a few screws and nuts have been loosened causing embarrassment to all Canadians whenever and wherever these Senators, MP’s, and bureaucrats open their mouths.

Canadian Senators, by the way, have plenty of time to go on taxpayer-funded junkets. Canadians do not elect their senators. These people are usually sycophantic political ass-kissers who get appointed for life as Senators in exchange for political favors delivered to the government in power at the time.

Co-Chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, Senator Raynell Andreychuck, a Conservative, said that much of the condemnation over seal hunts is laced “with emotions rather than facts on the ground.” Animal rights activists and conservationists in Europe have criticized the governments of Namibia, Canada, Norway, and Greenland over the annual seal massacres.

What Audreychuck did not mention is that the European Commission has seen evidence from hundreds of hours of video footage of illegal killing and grossly cruel slaughter scenes. Their decision was based on solid fact and not emotion.

The Senators issued a media release saying, “We are one voice, we don’t believe that actions of the European Commission (EC) are justified. There is unity among the people, although a few minorities are against seal harvesting, but it’s a very few and an overwhelming majority supports our position.”

Who this majority might be is unknown, certainly not the majority of elected Parliamentarians in Europe or even the majority of the Canadian people.

The Senators added that they would continue to engage the EC on why there is a need for seal killing.

The Association briefed journalists about its visit to Namibia, boasting about how thrilling it was to see the Namibian sealers at work.

Describing their interactions with their Namibian counterparts as fruitful, another co-chair of the Association, Senator Mauril Bélanger, highlighted the need for stronger inter-parliamentary relations, “We hope to strengthen bilateral parliamentary engagements at a continental level as well.”

The team said there is a great need for the parliaments of the two countries to conduct regular parliamentary exchanges with the aim of promoting the slaughter of seals between the two nations.

The delegation that visited Namibia consisted of four legislators from both the party in government, the opposition, and senior staffers of the Association. The group also met with opposition parties represented in the National Assembly.

The delegation returned to Canada on Friday, pleased with what they saw and heard in Namibia.

As a Canadian I am appalled at the actions of the Senators but not surprised. Canadian politicians have decided that Canadian patriotism and the Canadian identity is to be linked to the slaughter of seals. Like the bullfight in Spain, the former foxhunting in England, cock fighting in the Philippines, and bear baiting in Russia, Canada has decided that it needs an official blood sport and the baby seal slaughter is the ticket.

Oh Canada, the true North strong and free, where killing baby animals with clubs is the measure of loyalty to the blood stained Maple Leaf.

I stand as a proud dissident Canuck along with the majority of the Canadian people who oppose this atrocity in proclaiming that a real Canadian is motivated by compassion and NOT cruelty and that the perversions of some of these Canadian Parliamentarians are NOT shared by decent Canadians.

Source: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

18.07.2009 Why Namibian Law is so selective?

"Hatem Yavuz, a leading buyer of wildlife skins has stated he would love to acquire African penguin skins. As the skins make the best fur jackets. Although Namibian govt lists the African penguin as a marine resource and is a consumer of commercial fish. Shares the same UN-CITES appendix II endangered species rating as the Cape fur seal. The Namibian govt has declared Penguins, most seabirds, 36 species of marine mammals (seals, dolphins and whales) and great white sharks – protected species.

Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA asks the Namibian govt what it needs to declare the Cape fur seals a protected species and to stop harvesting or culling ?

Over the past month over 400 media publications around the world have published negative reports on Namibia’s seal cull. Many more on websites, blogs, chat rooms and twitter. This cannot be good in times of a global recession or for Namibia’s tourism. The world wants the Namibian seal cull to end. Seal product imports banned in the US since 1972, South Africa since 1990 and now in the EU in 2009. Listed by UN-CITES in 1977 and 1990 by Namibia as an Appendix II endangered species."
Francois Hugo gave the best opportunity for Namibian gov to end the seal cull - he proposed recompensation for Namibia,a new jobs for sealers, investment in seals conservation etc. What the Namibian government wants to end the slaughter? Is it another "political" issue which uses animals lives to show who has the power???

17.07.2009 Journalists jailed for filmining Namibian Seal Slaughter

"According to AFP in Windhoek, Journalists Bart Smithers and Jim Wickens are being held in police cells at Henties Bay, following their arrest at 7am for filming a seal colony, and will appear in court on Friday. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090716/sc_afp/namibiaenvironmentarrestseals_20090716181614 . France’s Le Monde newspaper also ran the story, http://www.lemonde.fr/web/depeches/0,14-0,39-39876257@7-58,0.html

Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA is concerned that the charges are bogus, as according to AFP, Namibia police spokesperson Angula Amulungu, “they had allegedly contravened the Fisheries and Marine Resources Act”.

Contravened what ? Approaching to close to a seal colony being clubbed to death ?

Although the Minister of Fisheries grants sealers the right to club seal pups. The Minister’s jurisdiction ends at the high-tide water mark. The seal-clubbers practice of driving seal herd’s inland away from the seashore to club them. Is what in fact contravenes the Fisheries jurisdiction. The Minister of Fisheries has no legal basis to charge the two journalists, as this land upon which the Cape Cross seal colony sits, is managed by the Minister of the Environment and Tourism. The Cape Cross Colony is open to tourists all year round. The arrest and charge is therefore unlawful, as is the assault and damage to very expensive camera equipment by the sealers.

Is any tourist safe in Namibia now ? Should foreign embassy’s not issue warnings advising their citizens to avoid visiting any of the remote seal colonies in Namibia. For fear of being falsely assaulted and beaten for mistakenly being journalists.

On what basis were these two journalists, who until their arrest, could have been any foreign tourists who just happen to approach too close to a seal colony with their camera’s. On what basis, did the Namibian sealers chase after these “tourist/journalist’s” and attempt to run them over, assault and beat them and damage valuable private property. Particular as reported by AFP last year on July 6, 2007, in which “Moses Maurihungirire, director of resources management in the fisheries and marine resources ministry, would not comment on whether there was an official ban on reporters in the hunting region”. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/06/AR2007070601172_pf.html ).

Bart Smithers received no payment for undertaking this dangerous assignment. He did it because he is deeply concerned for the future survival of the Cape fur seal in Namibia.

Bart Smithers a long time friend and film-maker of Francois Hugo’s efforts to end the Namibian seal cull, sent the following two SMS’s today, “Don’t call, big shit, being arrested, they wanted to kill us … clubbers went crazy. managed to hide my phone, will contact soon, the embassies know. B”

and later in the day Bart phoned and said the police are taking away his phone, and hurriedly sent another text message, “clubbing was hectic, they randomly club seals in large herd, no knives etc. What’s more the chap that was the most hectic is from the ministry of fisheries name is claudius shutte ikeberg”.

more:
http://sealalertsa.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/film-maker-sits-in-namibian-jail-charged-for-filming/

15.07.2009 Namibian Seal Slaughter Began

The seal slaughter began on Monday 13th July 2009.
Comment from Francois Hugo:
"A video interview with Rebecca Aldworth of HSI in October 2006, stated the following, “Francois Hugo is an activist who is working in South Africa to put an end to the Namibian seal Cull and he has done some fantastic things in terms of getting the word out about this hunt that most people were unaware was going on”. “The Namibian seal hunt is particularly cruel, its an absolutely unsustainable hunt. It cannot continue for the survival of that seal population and it can’t continue because of the cruelty involved”. HSI believes in a License Retirement Program. “Its been implemented in many other fisheries around the world, it’s a system whereby govt buys back the licenses of the hunters and HSI has already suggested this program in Canada – we would be very anxious to sit down at the table of anyone who would be willing to talk to us in Namibia about doing the same thing. The good news is the Namibian government has already talked about a buyout, that means there’s political will there to do exactly that”. “Yes we do have some funds, but I think – in addition to that we have a membership of over 9 million, all of whom contribute to programs like this”. “We have a lot of individual donors, some of whom are quite wealthy, and are anxious to do away with seal hunting around the world”. “So there are stakeholders that will contribute, there are corporations that will contribute to this kind of a program”. “We are stakeholders in this, we are here to stop seal hunting around the world”.

Clearly these were just PR words. The Namibian sealers buyout offer in 2009. Which in order to sell their rights requires govt approval and consent. At $14 a seal. It obviously considered to high a price for HSI. As they have made no contact with Francois Hugo, Namibian sealing industry or govt."

10.07.2009 Would BIG ORGS help to end the Namibian seal slaughter?

Francois&seal.jpg

http://sealalertsa.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/hsi-offer-seal-alert-sa-the-14-million-and-i-mean-now/
"It is now the 9th Day, and still the cull has not started, and with over 100 media articles around the world – no seal pups have been clubbed to death, although one news report claimed it had started today."

For almost two weeks Seal Alert-SA has been trying to contact all big organisations and get any support from them. Seal Alert-SA is one-man organisation without millions of members who can donate 14 mln $ right now. To go further with talks about the buy-out Francois Hugo needs also legal help.
Francois Hugo:
"Seal Alert-SA email to Naomi Rose of HSI, receives the following response, “I will on vacation July 3-5 and then away on business July 6-10. I will be checking emails regularly next week, but please be patient if my response is delayed. I will not be checking voice mail. Thank you”. Francois comments, “Is that not just typical first on holiday, no checking of voicemail, and then flying around on anti-seal hunt supporter donations, whilst the world largest seal cull starts”.

All emails, phone-calls and attempts to get HSI to answer questions, even on a radio station last night, for their complete lack of concern and inactivity, have received no response or even the concern of a reply.

HSI/HSUS has between 2006 and 2009 increased its membership by 2 million activists, if each of these new members, since HSI announced, “EXTINCTION – Take Action, Action Alert – Please stop the Namibian Seal Slaughter” on their website, each donated $7 just once, we would have the funds for buyout and stop the seal cull in Namibia and save 1 million Cape fur seal pups from clubbing.

If a single Cape fur seal pup dies this season I will hold HSI personally responsible, primarily due to their complete lack of communication in this matter."

On 1st of July I got the reply from IFAW:
Ending Namibia's commercial seal hunt is an important step toward achieving IFAW's goal of ending commercial sealing globally.

The idea of a buy-out is appealing because they benefit seals and, ideally, fairly compensate individual sealers and sealing companies for moving on to other economic opportunities (see, for example, a recent economic study of Canada's commercial seal hunt that investigates economic mechanisms for ending it).

In order for a buy out to be successful, it is necessary to have a reasonable valuation of the industry, and the co-operation not only of the sealers and the sealing industry, but of the responsible government as well.

IFAW is currently monitoring the on-going discussions in Namibia and conducting its own evaluation of the proposed buy out.

At the present time we haven't yet secured adequate information to draw any definitive conclusions.

We are concerned, however, that there seems to be an unreasonable deadline associated with the current proposal. These sorts of proposals are complicated and require adequate time to work out the details.

Once we learn more, we will be in a better position to evaluate IFAW's involvement (if any) in the proposed buy out.

Best regards,

IFAW Supporter Relations"

The same reply IFAW is sending all the time - how much of the "adequate" time IFAW needs to "work it out"?

Seal Alert: "Francois Hugo questions why the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) South African director of operations, Jason Bell, has not got back him to regarding IFAW’s decision to assist in the buyout or not. Francois Hugo is sure the Namibian Sealing Industry would accept $1,4 million as a down payment to secure the buyout. When considering IFAW spent a bequest of $10 million on building their new head office, and had $25 million dollar income from donations last year, plus a further $41 million in assets or cash in bank and 3 million supporting members.

It does not seem appropriate that IFAW stands by doing nothing. Whilst the world’s largest seal cull hangs by a thread. A thread a single individual is holding tightly. The largest cull of endangered seals, the last nursing seal pup cull in the world and the largest slaughter of wildlife in Africa and the first seal hunt, following the EU Seal import ban in May, is about to begin or begun.

Depending on who you support and believe."

Please ask major animal protection groups to support this buyout with financial contributions and expert assistance in the negotiation process: http://againess-en.wikidot.com/stop-the-slaughter-of-baby-seals#toc17

07.07.2009 Namibia : Seal Cull NOT Started, Seal Alert calling for help

Seal Alert-SA, Media Release, 7th July 2009
22-minutes ago, News24 reports amongst 70 other media publications, that the, "Namibian seal hunt will go on", http://www.news24.com/Content/Africa/News/965/0796891ee22e4410b21f0d584a4b7e80/06-07-2009%2009-07/Namibian_seal_hunt_will_go_on.

The National newspaper reported more in depth, "$14 million deal to end seal cull", http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090707/FOREIGN/707069864/1017/NEWS .

016a.jpg

It is the end of 6th Day in Africa, and still the seal cull has not started. No seal pups have been killed.

Namibian govt officials can tell the media what they like, but govt does not do the baby seal pup clubbing, business does, and the business of ending the seal cull, has not been concluded yet. Business will decide whether the seal cull starts or ends, not govt fisheries officials.

The Seal 'business' in Namibia is dead. World economic slump, bans in the US and EU, poor demand for luxury fur fashion goods, no fur buyers, surplus of unsold seal skins, a declining seal population - and a sealing industry that wants to sell-out for $14 million. Something the Namibian govt must now come to terms with, and now look at alternative economic solutions.

Clubbing cruelly these seal pups is senseless and idiotic, as Namibia's last fur buyer, still has 20 000 skins from the 23 000 he bought in 2008, and cannot even sell these, and has placed no orders for 2009.

Whilst Seal Alert-SA bangs on the back-door to end the cull and continues its efforts to publicly raise $14 million US dollars to buyout the industry, it has now asked the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Humane Society International (HSI) to politely knock on the front-door of the Namibian Govt, and make it an offer nobody can refuse.

Since Namibia became independent in 1990, and revived the seal culling industry, issuing the rights and quotas to two sealing concession holders to club 930 000 seal pups cruelly to death. The sealing industry has cost govt lost revenue. Killing only 610 000 seal pups of their quota. Seal harvesting have only managed to fill 60 percent of their annual quota since 1990, causing govt to loose the 40 percent revenue it gets from each pup killed.

In 2008, govt lost even more, with seal harvesting yielding only 23 000 pups on an 85 000 pup quota.

Seal Alert-SA asks WSPA and HSI whom was at my meeting with the Prime Minister and Ministry of Fisheries in 2007, to come forward and immediately offer the Namibian government a deal, that it cannot legally refuse.

The front-door deal is. Offer to take over the sealing rights and annual quotas for this seal resource until rights end in 2019. Paying govt upfront for the full levies on each seal in the quota that govt derives its revenue from. Legislated at N$2 Namibian dollars (.25 US cents) a seal pup and N$6 Namibian dollars (.75 US cents) per bull for the full quota.

This would amount to N$170 000 Namibian dollars for the 85 000 pups and N$36 000 Namibian dollars for the 6000 bulls each season. These annual quota levies which amounts to $25 000 USD dollars per year, to be guaranteed until Sealing Rights end in 2019. In addition, as govt has repeatedly stated, that the cull is a necessity under the constitution as it creates jobs for the unskilled and unemployed 97 workers in the industry. To offer to re-train, re-skill and offer these seal-clubbers full time employment in their new position, year round as "Seal Protectors and Seal Colony Monitors", whose jobs would be to protect the seal colonies from disturbance from the sealing industry and increasing tourism. Whose jobs costing N$ 2 million Namibian dollars ($230 000 US dollars) a year, to be equally guarantied for ten years, until 2019.

Seal Alert-SA suggests WSPA offers the govt to put $2 million US dollars in a trust to guarantee govt levies on quota and the cover workers salaries for 10 years, until 2019, and match any and all benefits that the sealing industry offers its workers, if any. Seal Alert then through its supporters will assist WSPA and HSI to fund the annual levies and 'seal protectors' salaries, totaling $230 000 US dollars through online pledges and donations.

Its a $260 000 US dollars a year deal until 2019, which a surety of $2 million dollars sitting in a Namibian npo trust.

Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula shoved the Namibian Constitution Booklet repeatedly in my face, which he co-wrote, stating I must find a solution within the constitution. Well, PM this is it, "the constitution of Namibia allows for the sustainable utilization of the living natural resources (seals), slide 2, confirms your policy of either consumptive (culling) or non-consumptive". The offer from either the back-door or front-door is in line with the constitution's non-consumptive approach to seals. Nowhere does the constitution state govt must harvest or kill seals.
Can govt legally accept the 'front-door' offer ? Marine Resource Act of 2000, states, "The Minister whenever he is of the opinion that it is in the interest of the promotion, protection or utilization on a sustainable basis of a particular resource, at any time, suspend, cancel or ….. of such rights, quota or license".

Can Seal Alert-SA succeeded with the 'back-door' offer ? Marine Resources Act of 2000, states, "No right may be transferred to another person except with the approval of the Minister, but such approval may only be granted if the quota connected with the right is also transferred to the same person".

If the Namibian Sealing Industry cannot deliver on their offer of $14 million buyout to end sealing with the Minister's consent, I will have to look at extortion and attempted fraud charges.

Namibian sealing industry has sealing rights until 2019 to kill a million seal pups, their offer to Seal Alert is 14 Million US dollars in a buyout..

This would be in line with the policy of the department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism sign-board at the entrance to the Cape Cross Sealing colony, where it urges, "people to help protect the seal colony".

Fisheries officials comments that clubbing nursing seal pups is a necessity to manage the seal population to protect fisheries is non-nonsensical and once again idiotic. As the cull exempts breeding cows and all ages of fish eating seals, as no market exists for its skins or products. Equally, South Africa has proven nature more than effectively manages the seal population, which has seen no increase in its seal population after stopping its commercial cull in 1990.

Pups washing off rocks and drowning, jackals predation on mainland colonies, and shark predation at sea and around island seal colonies, together with several mass die-off incidents since 1994, is all nature's way of controlling the population without the need for human intervention.

As an already UN listed endangered species since 1977, with 23 former island colonies extinct. Govt should take the offer to protect and not club.

The non-consumptive solution.

Seal Alert urges all supporters to keep sending in pledges, and no donations please, this fight is a long way from being over.

For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
27-21-790 8774
http://sealalertsa.wordpress.com/

05.07.2009 Doing business in Africa

http://sealalertsa.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/doing-seal-business-in-africa/
"(…)The very latest development, is that according to the article in the Sunday Independent by Eleanor Momberg az.oc.lni|grebmom.ronaele#az.oc.lni|grebmom.ronaele on the 5th July 2009, titled , “Show me the money, businessman tells seal protests”. Speaking from Turkey, Hatem Yavuz, has once again when informed that he faces possible attempted fraud charges internationally, has completely reversed his statements to the Times newspaper the day before, and has now confirmed his offer to Seal Alert to buyout the Namibian sealing industry was real, but does not believe Seal Alert acceptance of the offer, is real, because other anti-seal hunt organizations won’t support the buyout. “If Seal Alert-SA wants to buy my business out, founder Francois Hugo must come to my offices in Istanbul so we can sit down and talk. I have not seen anyone serious enough to come with the money” Hatem Yavuz told the reporter. He further threatened that if he did not cull and buy the skins from the sealers, the Chinese will take over.
(…)The only solution to stopping the seal cull and closing down the industry, is for all of us copied in this email to come together and meet in Cape Town South Africa (a neutral destination), and sit down with government and the sealing industry and fur exporter/buyer Hatem Yavuz and sign and seal this buyout with government which has clearly now got government support to go ahead.

If it did not have government’s support, (which by the way govt wont admit publicly until we all come forward with the 14 million dollars), then govt would have already withdrawn the sealing rights and we would never be offerred by Hatem to ’show’ we have the cash.

I therefore await confirmation, from govt or reply to this email. Hopefully a business solution to ending the seal cull can be found. If ever there was a situation where a businessman was making it near impossible to raise the cash to buy him out, this is it, with all the hallmarks of a scam written all over it. The only solution is either we all sit with government and resolve this or we all go to criminal courts and the seals lose. I sincerely hope HSI and IFAW and Seashepherd do not use Hatem’s poor conduct to date to walk away from a possible solution for the seals.

Please continue to send pledges, and please anti-seal hunt groups get in contact with me, and lets show unity, what have we got to lose. This is the final hour for the seals."

01.07.2009 Namibia: Hatem Yavuz is interested in business not seal's welfare. What about Namibia government?

Francis Hugo:
"Late last night, Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA receives a call from Hatem Yavuz, the Australian fur buyer now phoning from Russia, he was distressed, angry and annoyed, but spoke openly and professionally, and very business-like. He claimed his company does $150 million turnover and that the seal business is just a small part of this family business, with interests in diamonds and food processing. My campaign which exposed him as Namibia’s last seal skin buyer, two weeks ago, has lead to over 3000 ‘hate’ emails and phone calls to his office, are blocking his email and phone lines. He further states, he is receiving calls from govt officials from Turkey, Namibia and Australia including Ambassadors, media is calling him non-stop. He apologized for not responding, citing he had difficulty answering his emails, with all the hate emails coming in. He is finding it difficult to do his own business.

He was angry, that I publicly revealed the details of the buy-out, and said this was creating huge problems with everyone involved in the industry and threatens the buy-out, and further said, this is not how a business-man does professional business, no buyer/seller discusses the deal in public. Do you think BP would disclose details of a buy-out in the media ?. He also confirmed because of the media interest he has received now other offers, and even suggested it might be necessary to offer the sealing industry, a better offer.

After a lengthy call, he confirmed the deal and buy-out is still on, but also confirmed he is denying everything to anyone who calls. He then said, even though I am not giving him a deposit at this stage, he has instructed the Namibian sealers not to go out and kill seals for the next 7 days, giving me time to raise the cash. He said, but he will also deny it. He said the next few days will test my character."

Read also: The Noises of Seal Fur Protestors - by Hatem Yavuz

For Yavuz the buy-out contract with Francois would be great deal, for Francois to raise the 14 milion $ is enormous effort. Francois hopes that Namibia government would be wiiling to talk with him about ending the seal slaughter:
"The Namibian sealers need to club approximately 1000 pups a day to reach their 85 000 pup quota, for which they receive $7 a skin, according to the Ministry of Fisheries. Through their partnership with Hatem, it is believed the sealers also get a share in the 5000 euro seal skin jackets that are produced.

As such, Seal Alert-SA today, is making a public offer to the Namibian sealers to not go out and kill seal pups, if agreed, Seal Alert-SA will pay the Sealing Industry in Namibia $15 000 a day, for each day they do not go out and kill seals. Thereby buying Seal Alert-SA further days to raise the full cash.

This offer starts on the 8th, as is dependent upon the Sealing Industry upholding its side of the agreement to not kill seals for the first 7 days of the sealing season, which starts today.

Seal Alert-SA will also compensate the Namibian government for any lost revenue."

28.06.2009 Namibia seals: Alert from Francois Hugo who has signed Agreement to End Seal Clubbing

seals.jpg

On the 26th June 2009, 5 days before the Namibian annual slaughter of 91 000 seals. I have received a signed exclusive agreement to completely buy-out the entire Namibian sealing industry, lock, stock and barrel and thereafter shut it down.
After 10 years of trying, doing everything humanely possible, the end is in sight, This has never happened in the world, it’s a world first. A once in a life opportunity to save an entire wildlife species.
Interested in becoming a financial partner with me in this (then you need to contact me most urgently), and together we can make world history together and save an entire species, and prevent over one million seals being clubbed cruelly to death.
Please See, 2-minute video clip on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/user/sealmancam#play/uploads/5/uzPcAvEARwI .

Please forward this email to all friends, family or associates in this international effort to stop cruelty and save a species. There are millions of animal lovers out there.
Together we can do it.
A once-off financial investment from each of you, and which will give you each a return within days, could give the Cape fur seals as a species in Namibia a life-time.
You have nothing to lose, as the financial pledge is not binding or enforced in anyway, it simply leads us to the next and final step.
Write to Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA at az.oc.maw|noilaesas#az.oc.maw|noilaesas most urgently, stating clearly the amount of your financial pledge and your support (please be honest and keep your email short).
Buy-out of commercial competitors takes place everyday, in every commercial business centre in the world. All other non-commercial avenues have been exhausted. This is a once only offer, failure to conclude by 1 July 2009, will see the continued slaughter of just under one million Cape fur seals in Namibia until 2019 or the collapse of the species or market. The Namibian Sealing Industry will thereafter enter no further discussions or offers with anyone until their sealing rights are exhausted in 2019.
Namibian sealing industry is a lawful business in Namibia according Namibian government, with investments in land, equipment, factories in Namibia and Turkey, and 160 staff, and their biggest asset 10-year sealing rights to kill one million endangered Cape fur seals, yet their activities in seal culls are a crime against nature and their product exports banned in the US, EU and SA.
There is no alternative, but to buy-out the sealing industry in Namibia. In reality, saving each seal’s life, will be a once-off cost of $15
We have hours and few days in which to conclude this deal, a difficult task, but not impossible. The power of the internet and email, could reach millions of animal lovers around the world overnight. The power to save a species, rests in your hands.
Interested, then act now and email me for full details.[Please note - I will only individually reply to each email with full details, once the pledges offered exceed 14 million US dollars]
Lets together, change history, and make it happen.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
27-21-790 8774

arrticle&photos:
http://sealalertsa.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/seal-approved-i-have-a-signed-exclusive-agreement-to-end-seal-clubbing-and-sealing/

20.06.2009 This year the world 's largest seal slaughter will take place in Namibia

Since Canadian hunters took around 70.000 seals this year, the Namibia's quota of 91.000 will make the seal slaughter the largest on the Earth. Also the most cruel as Namibia's sealers will clubbing baby seals still suckling mothers milk.

"not a single mainstream newspaper or TV program in Namibia has reported on the EU Seal Product Import ban vote in May 2009, although the EU is Namibia’s largest trading and tourism partner.

In the past week, state owned New Era newspaper, days before the world’s largest seal cull of baby seal pups is to begin on Namibia’s beaches, it publishes three misleading articles by the same reporter, this first claims, “Namibian Seal Products Feature in Turkey – by Desie Heita”, claiming Namibian seal pup skins makes the best fur jackets and sales are booming, completely concealing that exports to the EU are being routed through Turkey who is not an EU member, to avoid the EU Seal import ban. Its second article, “Seal Fur An Investor’s Gold Mine – by Desie Heita”, once again ignores US and EU Seal import bans, and purports to suggest huge profits can be made by investors in Seal fur, as Namibian seal skin fur jackets sells for 100 000 Euros and that by doing so it will help impoverished poor Namibians. Yet, foolishly ignores that even the prices quoted in Euros is banned. Citing an Australian fur trader sales claims, completely ignoring that this fur buyer, actually stopped buying Namibian seal skins in 2008, and has no plans to re-order as the market is dead or that he was the sole seal skin buyer in 2008.

What the Namibian government state owned newspaper is desperately trying to indirectly advertise is for a seal skin buyer to come forward, as Namibia has no buyers for its 2009 sealing season, the largest seal hunt in the world."

more: http://sealalertsa.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/13-days-to-go-to-the-worlds-largest-seal-slaughter-on-earth/

19.06.2009 Canadian seal hunt 'collapsing'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8106539.stm
Canada's annual seal hunt has ended with only a quarter of the quota of seals being caught. The quota had been set at 273,000, but fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador, eastern Canada, took some 70,000 seals. They blame plummeting prices for seal pelts and an impending European Union ban on seal products, which is expected to come into effect in October.
Some local fishermen are wondering if this could be the beginning of the end for the centuries-old practice.
Uphill battle
Many hunters from fishing communities in eastern Canada, did not even bother taking their boats out for this year's seal hunt. The market price for a seal pelt is about $12, a steep decline from a peak of $100 a pelt a few years ago. The depressed value of the Russian Rouble and the subsequent erosion of one of Canada's largest markets for seal products, is partially to blame for the decline in numbers.
China is another major customer, also reeling from the global recession. But it is clear that the prospect of a EU ban on seal products and growing international disdain for the hunt is becoming a major factor in its near collapse.
The European Parliament passed the ban in May, but it still needs the backing of EU governments. That is expected to be a formality. Canadian fisheries officials admit that they have an uphill battle in what has become an emotional international debate.
Animal rights groups have successfully campaigned for decades against the seal hunt.
The annual kill has been a source of critical seasonal income for fishing communities already hit hard by dwindling fish stocks.

and the same news from canadian press:
ST. JOHN'S, N.L — Fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador caught only a quarter of this year's seal quota as pelt prices plummeted, the recession clobbered their traditional markets, and Europe inched closer to a ban on the disputed products.

Fewer than 500 vessels carrying 1,000 hunters ventured out for the annual hunt this year with about 70,000 harp seals taken out of the commercial, non-aboriginal quota of 273,000 animals for the province.

A year ago, about 900 boats with roughly 4,000 sealers went out to take almost 218,000 harp seals. About 225,000 seals were killed in 2007.

Frank Pinhorn of the Canadian Sealers Association said many fishermen decided not to go out this year because of pelt prices that have bottomed out at $14 from a high of over $100 per pelt several years ago.

"Anything under $35 would be low and they won't participate because they won't recover their costs," he said Wednesday from St. John's, N.L.

"There are only three companies here that buy pelts and they were not buying."

The industry is also carrying about 60,000 pelts from the previous year in a market that is drying up due to the recession, the depressed value of the Russian ruble and growing international distaste for seal products.

Fishermen are also grappling with the near certainty that the European Union will ban the importation of seal products, a measure that could take effect in October.

The European parliament passed the ban in May, but still needs the backing of EU governments. Officials have said that's only a formality since national envoys had already endorsed the legislation prior to May's vote.

Seal products can still be shipped through Europe, but promotion of those same products would be prohibited. Sealing industry experts fear that would shut off access to the fashion runways of Italy and France, countries that are highly influential in determining global fashion trends in the larger markets of Russia and China.

An official with the federal Fisheries Department said it will continue lobbying senior European politicians to make the proposed regulations more acceptable to Canada.

The department is also working on a World Trade Organization challenge, the official said, adding "we will exercise our international trade rights if the proposed regulation is unacceptable to Canada."

Senator Fabian Manning linked the poor results from this year's hunt to the recession but conceded there are concerns over the EU ban and the continued campaign by animals rights activists.

"Needless to say, we are fighting an uphill battle," he said from Ottawa. "This situation has become very emotional and trying to put the facts forward is very difficult."

Pinhorn is hoping the ban won't interfere with trade between China and Russia, where the bulk of Canadian seal products are sold.

The most important thing for us is that it may interfere with the trade routes," he said. "They have to go through European ports on their way to the marketplace.""

Shannon Lewis of the Northeast Coast Sealers' Co-op said the ban might hinder trade, but he said the global recession is hurting the industry more than the proposed ban.

"It's significantly decreased from last year and this economic recession has played a major part," he said from Fleur de Lys, N.L.

"There was a combination of factors early on in the season that caused a lot of uncertainty, including the outcome of the vote" in Europe.

The ban would apply to all products and processed goods derived from seals, including fur, meat, oil blubber and even omega-3 pills made from seal oil.

In 2007, the landed value of the harp seal hunt was $12 million with an average price per pelt at $52. Pinhorn said Newfoundland sealers will probably bring in just over $1 million this year.

The drop in the catch and price has some wondering if it could spell the end of the centuries-old hunt, which provides valuable income to remote rural communities.

Pinhorn rejected the suggestion, saying people in the industry are hoping to expand the market by using seal products for different purposes. He said the medical community is looking closely at seal heart valves for certain procedures, while the oil is used in edible omega-3 products.

"Have we given up on the seal industry? Not a chance," he said. "The seal industry will come back. You don't have to worry about that."

17.05.2009 Olympic team opposes motion for sealskin uniforms

video: http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/8752/bc/ondemand/video/bc-090507-no-seal-of-approval-LEE.wmv
Olympic officials say 'No' to politics

But the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee immediately shot down the idea that sealskin, or any political statement, might be incorporated into the Olympic uniform.

"No, we would not be doing that," said Chris Rudge, adding that over the coming year he expects to field a variety of requests similar to the one made Wednesday, and his answer won't change.

"These are social and economic issues that our government will deal with," said Rudge. "I think it would be inappropriate to use the athletes as a voice for issues that accrue to other elements to our society."

The 2004 Games in Athens were marked by protests over the killing of stray dogs, and the Beijing Games in 2008 became embroiled in international debate over Tibet and alleged human rights abuses, Rudge noted.

"People are concerned about these [issues], and they're important things to be concerned about. I'm certainly not diminishing them. But we couldn't begin to speak out about them, even if it was appropriate. There are many things in society that are worthy of social engagement."

Rudge also said it is in fact too late to include sealskin in the uniforms; the 500 outfits for athletes and staff have already been approved by the International Olympic Committee and are in production.

Officials at the Vancouver Organizing Committee declined to comment on the sealskin uniform proposal, saying that uniforms are the responsibility of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

15.05.2009 Canadian government wants to promote seal slaughter during 2010 Olympics but Olympics Commitee says NO

http://www.vancouversun.com/Business/Seal+skin+Olympic+uniforms/1570380/story.html

The federal government wants Canadian Olympians to wear a seal product — most likely skin — during the 2010 Winter Games to help protest a European Union ban on Canada’s seal hunt.
Members of Parliament from all parties voted unanimously Wednesday in favour of a Bloc Quebecois motion calling on the government to come up with a way to integrate seal pelts into the athletes’ uniforms.
“With the upcoming Winter Olympics that will be in Vancouver in 2010, the government has a chance to offer some concrete action to promote seal products,” Bloc Quebec MP Raynald Blais said. “Today we are tabling a motion aimed at studying the possibility to integrate into the Canadian athletes' uniforms. Is the government ready to act to save an industry?”
Canadian Olympic Committee president Mike Chambers said adding seal products to Olympians’ gear would not only mar athletes’ performance, but politicize the Games.

“I’m used to those in the political arena wishing to attach their issues to the Olympic arena,” he said from Lausanne, Switzerland. “But this is one … that will not and cannot be allowed to occur. It’s our intent for our athletes to remain free of the politics that arises in and around the Olympic Games. The seal issue, while important, is an issue that has become politicized.”
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games would not comment, as athletes’ uniforms are the responsibility of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh was among those who supported the motion.
“It’s an industry in the Atlantic and I believe that our caucus is unanimous in supporting it,” he said.
When pressed for details, he added, “I’m not going to say anything more than what I have just said to you.”
Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea said the move would signal Canada’s support of the sealing industry.
“I would imagine that the Olympic clothing is all designed and probably made by now, but I think it’s a good symbolic suggestion to add something to the outfit of our athletes. I think it would be a good statement for the Canadian sealing industry and Canada’s support of it.”
Seal skin has made high-profile appearances in the past — even on the catwalk. Inuit designers such as Elisapee Kilabuk have showcased creations as diverse as motorcycle jackets to bustiers in international shows.
Chambers said he it’s “doubtful” that the MPs wishes would make any gains.
“There are political issues all over the world,” he said. “If the IOC started allowing a patch on everyone’s uniform we’d all look like FI speed racers. Let the politics do the political thing and keep the sport to the games.”

06.05.2009 Canadian response to the EU ban

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1564808
OTTAWA — The federal government has a strong case to launch a World Trade Organization challenge to a European ban on seal products because the decision was based on "people's feelings" rather than hard facts, Trade Minister Stockwell Day says.
"We're moving ahead with an appeal," Mr. Day told Canwest News Service on Tuesday, warning that the trade action will proceed unless the European UnionParliament exempts Canada and other countries that he said practise humane and sustainable seal hunting.
"We'll go to the WTO because it's clear in WTO regulations that if one country wants to ban the products of another, it has to have clear scientific, medically acceptable reasons for doing so, and this EU ban is not based on hard science."
The EU Parliament voted 550-49 Tuesday to eliminate seal product imports — such as such as pelts, oil, and meat — a prohibition that would mean a $2.4-million loss for the Canadian industry.
The proposal still must be approved by individual European governments before becoming law and if passed, it could take effect as early as 2010 in the 27 EU nations.
The law would include some exemptions to Inuit communities so they can continue their traditional hunts.
Mr. Day said that the vote was based on emotion rather than facts because opponents portray the seal hunt as it was 40 years ago.
But he said that it has changed and Canada deserves an exemption because it follows internationally accepted guidelines. Among other things, Canada no longer allows the clubbing of baby seals while they still have their white coats.
Fisheries Minister Gail Shea defended the government's planned trade action, a challenge that could turn out to be relatively expensive, given that the entire Canadian industry, based on the East Coast, is worth an estimated $7-million.
"When you live in small coastal communities, sometimes there's not many opportunities to make some additional money," she said on Parliament Hill. "We have a number of families who make up to 35% of their annual income from the seal hunt. So yes, I do think it's very important."
Ms. Shea described the European Parliament's decision as a "politically motivated" one that was driven by special interest groups who have "spent a lot of money misleading the public in Europe" for decades.
Ms. Shea singled out French actress Brigitte Bardot, one of the first of many celebrities to attack the seal hunt. Her high-profile campaign included a 1977 trip to the ice floes off the East Coast, where a famous photograph was taken of her holding a baby seal.
The European Parliament's move pitted sealers against animal-rights groups, who have decried the annual spring seal hunt as barbaric.
"This is a historic moment in the campaign to stop commercial seal hunts around the world," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of the Humane Society International Canada, adding that European parliamentarians who supported the law held up photographs and stuffed seal toys before the vote.
Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union could not contain his anger toward the EU Parliament.
"They are trying to tell us how to live, to pass judgment on how we live with no regards whatsoever for the impact a growing seal population would have on our fish stocks," he said.
Robert Courtney, president of the North of Smokey Fishermen's Association in Nova Scotia, said the government will have to cull the fish-preying seal herd if the ban goes ahead and sealers are no longer motivated to hunt.
Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams called on the Conservative government to retaliate by walking away from a pending trade deal with the European Union being negotiated at a Canada-EU summit in Prague.
"While this vote is certainly a blow to the Canadian sealing industry, it comes at a time when the Government of Canada is very well positioned to deliver a strong message to the European Union," Mr. Williams said in a statement.
He also called on Harper to urge EU countries to reject the seal ban.
In the House of Commons, MPs from all parties voted to hold a debate Tuesday night to take note "that the seal hunt is a humane and legitimate economic pursuit, and that the European Parliament's recent decision to ban the importation of seal products is misinformed, inflammatory, counterproductive, and should be rejected."
The Department of Fisheries estimates the seal population in Canada at about 5.6-million. It sets an annual quota for the hunt, which this spring was 280,000. The bulk of the country's 7,000 sealers are based in Newfoundland.

05.05.2009 Ban on seals products in EU

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news
MEPs adopt strict conditions for the placing on the market of seal products in the European Union
The placing on the market of seal products should not be allowed say MEPs. It is permitted only where the seal products result from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities. Otherwise the import is permitted where it is of an occasional nature and consists exclusively of goods for the personal use of the travellers or products that result from by-products of hunting and conducted for the purpose of sustainable management of marine resources on a non-profit basis.
Conditions for placing on the market

The placing on the market of seal products shall be allowed only where the seal products result from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities and which contribute to their subsistence. These conditions shall apply at the time or point of import for imported products.

The legislative report which has been agreed with the Council in first-reading has been drawn up by Diana WALLIS (ALDE, UK). The legislative resolution was adopted with 550 votes in favour, 49 against and 41 abstentions.

The Regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the placing on the market of seal products. It is therefore without prejudice to other Community or national rules regulating the hunting of seals.

By way of derogation from the above:

(a) the import of seal products shall also be allowed where it is of an occasional nature and consists exclusively of goods for the personal use of the travellers or their families. The nature and quantity of such goods may not be such as to indicate that they are being imported for commercial reasons;

(b) the placing on the market shall also be allowed for seal products that result from by-products of hunting that is regulated under national law and conducted for the sole purpose of sustainable management of marine resources. Such placing on the market shall only be allowed on a non-profit basis. The nature and quantity of such products shall not be such as to indicate that they are being placed on the market for commercial reasons.

Definition of Inuit

"Inuit" means indigenous members of the Inuit homeland – i.e. those arctic and subarctic areas where, presently or traditionally, Inuit have Aboriginal rights and interests – recognized by Inuit as being members of their people and includes Inupiat, Yupik (Alaska), Inuit, Inuvialuit (Canada), Kalaallit (Greenland) and Yupik (Russia)

Penalties

Member States will lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of this Regulation and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Omega-3

MEPs point out that the existence of those diverse legal requirements may further discourage consumers from buying products not made from seals, but which may not be easily distinguishable from similar goods made from seals, or products which may include elements or ingredients obtained from seals without this being clearly recognisable, such as furs, Omega-3 capsules and oils and leather goods.

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on the 20th day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The article on conditions for placing on the market enters into force nine months from the date of entry into force of this Regulation.

Debate in plenary Monday 4 May

Diana Wallis (ALDE, UK) rapporteur said: "Seals are very beautiful marine animals – in fact, I have realised during this process that they have great PR – but to some they are the rats of the sea. That is how they are perceived by many fishermen: an adult seal gets through an enormous amount of fish on a daily basis. Therefore, there will remain the need for seals to be hunted to ensure the sustainability of fisheries in some area."

But what we have not done here is to regulate hunting. If people in any of our Member States wish to hunt, they can still continue to hunt. What they cannot do is take commercial gain from the results of that hunt. But it should be the case that the results of the hunt can be used, and I hope particularly that those parts of seals that can be used by the medical community will be able to be used."

Malcolm Harbour (EPP-ED, UK) said: "I think this is a call for action. What people have indicated so far is that this is the beginning of a process and not an end. The issue is the inhumane way in which seals are being killed and the inability of the professional hunters to deal with it. I think the Canadian Government has to reflect on that as well. There are plenty of review clauses built in here to ensure this works. I think the exemptions are well balanced because firstly they reflect the importance of supporting traditional hunting in communities."

Arlene McCarthy (PES, UK) said: "The USA has had a ban for many years, Mexico has banned the trade; in Europe we already have national bans in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy; Germany and the UK are considering ways to ban the trade; bans are now in place in Russia; Hong Kong is planning a ban. This is a political issue that now has it time. After a 40 year campaign against the trade, Europe has the chance to introduce a ban in all 27 states. This year 50 000 seals have been slaughtered that Canadians hunt compared to 220 000 last year. That means that we as citizens have now the opportunity to ban this cruel trade. I know that this will be applauded by the citizens of Europe."

Caroline Lucas (Greens/EFA, UK) said: "Today, nearly one million seals are slaughtered annually in commercial seal kills around the world, and when we vote on this package tomorrow, we will be helping to end one of the most vile examples of animal cruelty."

Avril Doyle (EPP-ED, IE) said: "This has been a difficult debate, often emotional, with the heart ruling the head on many occasions. Great progress has been made in the survival and quality of life of cardiac patients by using the aortic, pulmonary and pericardial tissue of harp seals, the assumption being that they are sustainably hunted or killed and not in a cruel way. I would like assurances on ongoing medical research and bioprosthetic use of products from seals in the context of the compromise".

Background

According to EC proposal, Denmark and Italy are by far the two largest importers of raw fur skin from seal for further processing/sales on the Community market, and will thus also be affected by such regulation. Denmark imports the raw fur skins directly coming from Canada and Greenland (that are not categorised as goods in transit), while Italy imports the raw fur skins from Russia, Finland and the UK (Scotland). Greece also has a noticeable trade in raw skins originating in the two latter range states.

Diana Wallis (ALDE, UK) rapporteur said: "Seals are very beautiful marine animals – in fact, I have realised during this process that they have great PR – but to some they are the rats of the sea. That is how they are perceived by many fishermen: an adult seal gets through an enormous amount of fish on a daily basis. Therefore, there will remain the need for seals to be hunted to ensure the sustainability of fisheries in some area."

27.04.2009 EU Nations Agree Seal Product Ban, Trade Row Looms

http://www.evana.org/index.php?id=43768&lang=en

European ambassadors approved a European Union plan to ban imports of furs and other products from culled seals on Friday, moving the 27-nation bloc one step closer to a trade clash with Norway and Canada.

Both seal-hunting nations have warned the EU in recent weeks that they could challenge the EU ban at the World Trade Organisation, the global trade watchdog, if it takes shape as currently foreseen.

"Nothing should now stand in the way of this ban being adopted," said an official from the EU's Czech presidency, which brokered a deal this week that will exclude hunts by the Inuit……..

20.04.2009 Norway threatens to take on EU over import ban

http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLK137048

By Pete Harrison

BRUSSELS, April 20 (Reuters) - Norway has threatened to challenge the European Union over plans to ban imports of furs and other products from seals.

The executive European Commission last year proposed banning the import of pelts from seals that have endured excessive suffering while being killed.

"In our view, the proposal cannot be justified under the WTO (World Trade Organisation)," Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote in a letter to EU trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, a copy of which was seen by Reuters on Monday.

"A ban on trade in seal products will set a dangerous precedent in the matter of sustainable harvesting of renewable resources," Stoere wrote.

Canada has also threatened to challenge the EU's proposed ban.

Canada, Greenland and Namibia account for around 60 percent of the 900,000 seals hunted each year. The rest are killed in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Britain and the United States.

The proposed ban is being discussed by the EU's 27 member states and the European Parliament before it becomes law. Norway, which is not an EU member state, said the drafts being discussed were unacceptable.

"The Norwegian government has decided to initiate consultations under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, should the EU take a decision along the lines that now seems to be developing," Stoere wrote.

The WTO's dispute settlement understanding is intended to settle trade disputes when one country says another's action or trade policies violate WTO agreements.

The 15 seal species now hunted are not endangered but European politicians demanded action after finding what they said was evidence that many are skinned while still conscious.

The animals are usually first shot or bludgeoned over the head with a spiked club known as a hakapik.

Russia banned the hunting of baby harp seals last month, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called it a "bloody industry".

A European Food Safety Authority report last year highlighted various causes of unnecessary suffering, such as trapping seals underwater where they drown.

It recommended that seals first be shot or clubbed and then monitored to check they are dead before being bled and skinned, to ensure they never regain consciousness during the process. (Reporting by Pete Harrison; Editing by Farah Master)

14.04.2009 Email action needed!!

From Erica Ceballos:
This is the last CATCA international campaign effort to add pressure to the few European Union countries against the total ban on the trade of seal products. The Final vote day has been moved again, this time to the end of April or first days of May, 2009. So we have to ACT FAST!

Please, do contact the following people from these ministries and governments and kindly ask them to reconsider supporting the total ban on the trade of seal products at the European Union. Just please, stick to the facts mentioned below. Please, do not mention organizations, your feelings, anger and your frustration. This is our last chance to add pressure, so we have to be really careful and straight to the point in your e-mails. Be very polite and once more, just mention the facts from the sample letter below.

Remember: Any replies or questions you get, re-send them to me for our data and to reply to them OK? Please, send them to: moc.liamtoh|gro.actac#moc.liamtoh|gro.actac

PLEASE, STICK ONLY TO THESE COUNTRIES MENTIONED BELOW.

Bulgaria
Ministry of environment and waters: Minister - Dzhevdet Chakarov, e-mail: gb.tnemnrevog.weom|avonaviv#gb.tnemnrevog.weom|avonaviv (the secretary)
gb.tnemnrevog.weom|tcatnoc#gb.tnemnrevog.weom|tcatnoc (the Ministry)
Atanas Kostadinov Deputy Minister of Environment and Water: gb.tnemnrevog.weom|205tenibak#gb.tnemnrevog.weom|205tenibak
Foreign Affairs Ministry: Director: Albena Vodenitcharova e-mail: gb.tnemnrevog.afm|drpi#gb.tnemnrevog.afm|drpi


Dear Minister

I am appalled to know that Bulgaria is against the proposal of a total ban of seal products at the European Union, when most of the EU countries are in favor.

During this commercial hunt, the sealers skin off the animals and throw the carcasses to the ocean or leave them on the ice. Such "use" of the resources can't be named "sustainable" in any case. Some Baltic and Scandinavian countries are against the ban because other reasons (such as their own seal hunting tradition or seal cull control).

The vast majority of countries and public in Europe and the rest of the developed world are against this biggest and senseless slaughter of marine mammals on the planet.

Every year in Canada about 300,000 baby seals mostly of the age of 12 days to 3 months old, are beaten, clubbed and shot for their fur. This is the largest slaughter of marine mammals worldwide. A shocking 42% of these baby seals are skinned alive. The Canadian government doesn’t count the thousands of seal pups that get shot and try to escape to the sea, where they die. There has been in recent years a huge mortality in baby harp seals in Canada due to global warming and in spite of this, Canada refuses to even give a break in the hunting of the baby seals!

Due to the geographic conditions and extreme weather it is impossible to kill the baby seals in a humane way in Canada. Reports as far as 60 years ago from veterinarians and other experts on the field have proven that and the Canadian government continues allowing this atrocity to happen year after year just for politics.

This annual commercial seal hunt has absolute nothing to do with the aboriginal seal hunt in Canada. The aboriginals kill mostly ringed seals, they kill only the seals that they need for food and consume all the animal parts. This is a misconception that the official Canadian delegation has been spreading in the EU, trying to convince the governments that the aboriginals will suffer if the commercial seal hunt in Canada stops, when in reality, all the sealers (fishermen) from the commercial seal hunt are mostly Irish, Scottish and French Canadians, that only earn from a 0.5% to about a 2% - 5% from their annual income for killing the seals.

Canada just started the second bloodiest phase of the commercial annual seal massacre in what is called "the front" (the waters off New Foundland and Labrador).

Here is a statement from Rebecca Aldworth (director of the Humane Society International), while observing the seal hunt a couple of days ago:

"Despite Canada's assurances that this year the seal hunt will be humane, we filmed so much cruelty it is unbearable. Sealers were shooting at seals in open water, not bothering to retrieve the wounded animals." "So many pups were shot multiple times before the sealer approached and, realizing the seal was still conscious; beat the animals to death with wooden bats. Wounded seals were repeatedly allowed to slip beneath the water's surface, left to die slowly". “We witnessed so many seals dying a horrible death, as sealers shot at the terrified babies, and then descended on the wounded, struggling animals with wooden bats."

People all over the world are wondering why Bulgaria is the only country which supports this cruelty without any own interest on it, voting against the EU ban on seal products. If Bulgaria votes against this ban, Bulgaria will be condemning millions of baby seals to be brutally killed in Canada and will be responsible of the harp seals stock collapse eventually.

I ask you to please reconsider your country’s position regarding this important issue of worldwide importance, and support the total ban.

Best regards,


To these two people, please, just ask them very politely to help us to convince the government of Bulgaria to vote for the total ban on the trade of seal products at the European Union.
National service for the nature protection /The agency under the ministry of environment/ - who are responsible for the biodiversity and especially in CITES: Krastyo Popov - gb.tnemnrevog.weom|vopopk#gb.tnemnrevog.weom|vopopk and Valery Georgiev gb.tnemnrevog.weom|fspnn#gb.tnemnrevog.weom|fspnn

Sweden:

Prime Minister - Fredrik Reinfeldt Email: use this form: http://www.sweden.gov.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70244&m=popup&l=en

http://www.regeringen.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70244&m=popup&l=en

Minister for EU Affairs - Cecilia Malmström Email: use this form: http://www.sweden.gov.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70249&m=popup&l=en
http://www.regeringen.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70249&m=popup&l=en

Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt Stock hhttp://www.regeringen.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70298&m=popup&l=enolm Email: use this form:http://www.sweden.gov.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70298&m=popup&l=en

Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren Email: use this form: http://www.sweden.gov.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70269&m=popup&l=
Elisabet Falemo, State Secretary http://www.sweden.gov.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70269&m=popup&l=
Åsa-Britt Karlsson, State Secretary http://www.sweden.gov.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=70269&m=popup&l=
Eskil Erlandsson, Minister for Agriculture http://www.regeringen.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=47734&m=popup&l=en
Laila Dixberg Andersen, Assistant to the Minister http://www.regeringen.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=47734&m=popup&l=en
Rolf Eriksson, State Secretary http://www.regeringen.se/pub/road/Classic/article/117/jsp/Render.jsp?a=47734&m=popup&l=en

Denmark:

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, kd.mts|mts#kd.mts|mts

Per Stig Møller, Minister for Foreign Affairs, kd.mu|mu#kd.mu|mu, http://www.denmark.dk/CMS.Web/Misc/TipAFriend.aspx?postingguid={1CE34AF6-C5C9-49F2-9AAB-CC7A7E2B4689}&language=en

Minister of the Environment Troels Lund Poulsen kd.mim|mim#kd.mim|mim http://www.denmark.dk/CMS.Web/Misc/TipAFriend.aspx?postingguid={0CD69722-19D2-425C-B97B-9CAE9B6F2426}&language=en

Eva Kjer Hansen, Minister for Food, Agriculture & Fisheries kd.mvf|mvf#kd.mvf|mvf, http://www.denmark.dk/CMS.Web/Misc/TipAFriend.aspx?postingguid={B2B77804-7467-44D8-A5F1-01E0B66AE56D}&language=en

Finland:

President of the Republic Finland - Tarja Halonen Email: if.kpt|ittnediserp#if.kpt|ittnediserp
Email of the Office of the President of the Republic: if.kpt|omaajrik#if.kpt|omaajrik

Prime Minister's Office Matti Vanhanen, if.knv|nenahnav.ittam#if.knv|nenahnav.ittam
State Secretary Mr Risto Volanen if.knv|nnenalov.otsir#if.knv|nnenalov.otsir
Secretary to the Prime Minister Ms Riitta Gustafsson if.knv|nossfatsug.atiir#if.knv|nossfatsug.atiir
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexander Stubb E-mail: if.nimrof|IMU#if.nimrof|IMU,
Ms. Katariina Prepula Secretary to the Minister if.nimrof|aluperp.aniiratak#if.nimrof|aluperp.aniiratak
Senior Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Ms.Tanja Jääskeläinen if.nimrof|nenialeksaaj.ajnat#if.nimrof|nenialeksaaj.ajnat
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Ms Sirkka-Liisa Anttila if.mmm|mmm.omaajrik#if.mmm|mmm.omaajrik or if.mmm|alittna.asiil-akkris#if.mmm|alittna.asiil-akkris
State Secretary Mr Jouni Lind if.mmm|dnil.inuoj#if.mmm|dnil.inuoj
Special Adviser to the Minister Ms Minna-Mari Kaila if.mmm|aliak.iram-annim#if.mmm|aliak.iram-annim Department of Fisheries and Game Mr Pentti Lähteenoja, Director-General if.mmm|ajoneethal.ittnep#if.mmm|ajoneethal.ittnep
Ministry of the Environment Lehtomäki Paula, if.otsirapmy|ikamothel.aluap#if.otsirapmy|ikamothel.aluap,
Secretary to the Minister Tamminen Kristina if.otsirapmy|nenimmat.anitsirk#if.otsirapmy|nenimmat.anitsirk

Estonia:

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves http://www.president.ee/en/mailbox, ee.kpv|ofnipv#ee.kpv|ofnipv

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip: ee.kr|sustilav#ee.kr|sustilav
The State Chancellery of th Rep.of Estonia ee.ielestnakigiir|ielestnakigiir#ee.ielestnakigiir|ielestnakigiir
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet ee.mv|ofnimv#ee.mv|ofnimv
Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi ee.rivne|ivikmat.sunaaj#ee.rivne|ivikmat.sunaaj

Lithuania:

PRIME MINISTER of the REPUBLIC of LITHUANIA ANDRIUS KUBILIUS tl.kvrl|ajirailecnak#tl.kvrl|ajirailecnak
Dalija Medeišienė tl.kvrl|eneisiedem.ajilad#tl.kvrl|eneisiedem.ajilad Emilija Šakina emilija.sakina@lrvt
Department of the State and Diplomatic Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tl.mru|mru#tl.mru|mru
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Gediminas Kazlauskas tl.ma|ajirailecnak#tl.ma|ajirailecnak
Kristina Petkūnienė tl.ma|eneinuktep.anitsirk#tl.ma|eneinuktep.anitsirk, Ramūnas Kalvaitis tl.ma|sitiavlak.sanumar#tl.ma|sitiavlak.sanumar, Arvydas Dragūnas tl.ma|sanugard.sadyvra#tl.ma|sanugard.sadyvra
Chancillery: E-mail tl.kvrl|ajirailecnak#tl.kvrl|ajirailecnak tl.amuknilpa|ajirailecnak#tl.amuknilpa|ajirailecnak,
Minister of Foreign Affairs VYGAUDAS UŠACKAS, tl.mru|mru#tl.mru|mru, tl.mru|sakcasu.saduagyv#tl.mru|sakcasu.saduagyv,
Vice-Minister Šarūnas Adomavičius, tl.mru|suicivamoda.sanuras#tl.mru|suicivamoda.sanuras
Kęstutis Jankauskas, State Secretary of the Ministry tl.mru|saksuaknaj.situtsek#tl.mru|saksuaknaj.situtsek,

Latvia:

President Valdis Zatlers vl.tnediserp|yrecnahc#vl.tnediserp|yrecnahc
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis vl.vog.km|kv#vl.vog.km|kv, vl.il|ofni#vl.il|ofni
Minister of Foreign Affairs Māris Riekstiņš vl.vog.km|kv#vl.vog.km|kv, vl.vog.afm|ahc.afm#vl.vog.afm|ahc.afm
Minister for Environment Raimonds Vējonis vl.vog.km|kv#vl.vog.km|kv
Head of the Chancery of the President Eduards Stiprais vl.tnediserp|yrecnahc#vl.tnediserp|yrecnahc, vl.ollopa-e|siarpits.sdraude#vl.ollopa-e|siarpits.sdraude

14.04.2009 Canadians to educate U.S. President Obama about the seal hunt

In 2006, Barack Obama said that the Canadian seal hunt was "inhumane" and vowed to express his "outrage" during his days as a senator: ""I share your concerns about the Canadian seal hunt," wrote Obama, who has not spoken publicly on the issue since he became president in January.

"As you know, Canada annually opens its eastern waters to commercial seal hunting. The United States and European Union have been unified in their opposition to the slaughter of seals by passing legislation decades ago to restrict the sale of seal-based products within their borders," Obama wrote.

The news revealed in media (the letter was made public by PETA) weren't very nice for Canadian government; DFO or Foreign Affairs haven't made any comment yet but Newfoundland and Labrador MP called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to educate U.S. President Barack Obama about the East Coast seal hunt "If Mr. Harper wants to stand up for all Canadians, like he says he will do, now's a good time to call the president, and give him our opinion and defend the sealers of the East Coast of this country".

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/616723
http://www.antisealingcoalition.ca/newsstory.php?rid=486

10.04.2009

www.hsus.org:
"Following a meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives on Friday 27th March, the Czech Republic Presidency confirmed that a qualified voting majority exists in the Council in support of a total ban on trade in seal products. We understand that this would include special arrangements for traditional Inuit communities. Humane Society International applauds all supporting nations for backing the complete ban.
Because this majority emerged, the Council authorized the Czech Presidency to open exploratory talks with the other two institutions concerned, the Parliament and the Commission. The objective was to review the possibilities of achieving a common line in the coming weeks that would enable the adoption of a regulation banning the trade in seal products in a single reading before the European elections.

Results of Talks
Those talks occurred on Monday 30th March and the Parliament and Council delegates agreed to attempt to conclude before the elections. The Commission reserved its position that day, however. Its original proposal envisaged wide exemptions, which both Council and Parliament do not want in the final legislation. Accordingly, the Commission needed further time to reflect and consult internally on how to proceed from its point of view. Meanwhile, we are delighted that the Commission has agreed to follow the position of MEPs and Member States and support a robust ban with special arrangements for Inuits. In addition, the Czech Presidency has also put forward a compromise text to address the matter of small-scale hunting for population control purposes.

Next Steps
This and the other elements of a commonly agreed-upon package will need to be discussed among the three institutions via the so-called "trilogue" process—negotiations involving a core group of MEPs, the Czech Presidency and the Committee of Member State Permanent Representatives (COREPER I) and senior Commission officials. Once agreement has been achieved informally, the package will be submitted to Parliament's plenary session for adoption as a package and the Council will rubber stamp this subsequently.
So far, Parliament's conference of presidents (the committee of the heads of the different political groups in Parliament) has not yet confirmed that the item will be on the agenda of the May plenary session in Strasbourg. May is the last chance for Parliament to adopt the legislation before it dissolves for the elections, so it is crucial that the compromise package that will emerge from the "trilogue" be voted on in May. It is expected that inclusion of the seal trade ban on the agenda will be confirmed in the coming days.

Time to Act
"After decades of campaigning, it appears that the European institutions are at last going to do the right thing and adopt a full ban," said Mark Glover, of HSI UK. "We are taking nothing for granted, however, and will be working to ensure that this becomes an electoral issue across the EU."
In summary, one of the final acts of this current Parliament can be the adoption of a historic agreement to stop the trade that leads to the cruel slaughter of hundreds of thousands of defenseless young seals. This will be a marvelous achievement to bring to Europe's electorate just before the polls in June. We hope and trust that all the EU institutions will resist the last-minute threatening, scaremongering tactics of the Canadian government and answer the call of millions of European citizens by adopting a robust ban."

26.03.2009 IFAW Seal Slaughter Watch video - day 3

23.03.2009 Canadian Seal slaughter starts today!!

Despite the fact that Canada has been left almost alone in their amazed effort to kill the baby seals, the hunt started today in the southern Gulf of St Lawrence. DFO is doing everything against the world opinion to show they have the right to do what they want with THEIR seals.
I hope they won't achieve even 10% of their greedy quota for this year.
"The Canadian government has ignored sound science by setting a recklessly
high quota for this year's kill. Sealers can club and shoot 338,200 seals - an
increase of 55,000 from last year's quota. The 2009 quota includes 280,000
harp seals, 50,000 grey seals and 8,200 hooded seals. Independent scientist
have warned the high kill levels, paired with the impacts of global warming on
ice-dependent harp seals, pose a serious threat to the survival of seal
populations. "
article from nineman: Canada's controversial seal hunt starts

19.03.2009 Russia Bans the Hunt for All Harp Seals Less Than One Year of Age

MOSCOW, RUSSIA—(Marketwire - March 18, 2009) - Today, Yuriy Trutnev, Russia's Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology announced a complete ban on the hunting of all harp seals less than one year of age in the White Sea. This historic end to Russia's harp seal hunt was applauded by IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org), which has been working in Russia, in Canada, and throughout the world to put an end to commercial seal hunts.
"The bloody seal slaughter, the killing of the defenseless animals, which can't be even called a 'hunt,' is now prohibited in Russia as it is in most developed countries. It is a serious step towards the conservation of biodiversity in Russia," stated Minister Trutnev.
This confirmation comes after an announcement last month that Russia would ban the killing of whitecoat harp seals (unmoulted pups less than 2 months of age) and adults in the White Sea.

18.03.2009 Irleand supports a total ban!

The Irish Ministers gave official statement that they support a total ban on seal products trade in EU.

09.03.2009 Cnadian senator proposed an end of Canada's commercial seal hunt.

news.prnewswire.com
On 3rd March IFAW has applauded a private member's bill introduced by Senator Mac Harb calling for an end to Canada's commercial seal hunt. IFAW: "This marks the first time a Canadian politician has introduced legislation to put an end to the largest remaining marine mammal slaughter in the world."
But, of course, senator Harb couldn't do a lot even with his party - there was nobody to support him:
"He argued that the industry was dying, propped up by public tax dollars and costing Canada international good will. But his proposal died when Mr. Harb could not get another member to second his motion.
“There was silence. Total silence!” he said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “I was amazed that not one of my colleagues, from any one of the political parties, would even want to debate the issue.”" (NY Times)

08.03.2009 Russian ban on slaughter of whitecoats

reuters: Small Victory for Seals: Russia Moves towards Banning the Hunt for Baby Seals
Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:46pm ES
MOSCOW, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Russian ministers announced a
complete ban on the hunt for "whitecoat harp" seals (pups up to about 11 days
old) as the first step in an agreement to end the killing of all baby seals.
The announcement of this new accord between the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Environment (MPR) and the State Fisheries Committee came just one day
after Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin said "[this] is such a bloody
hunt, and it is clear that it should have been banned a long time ago."

Other media reported that the next step will be a ban on killing all seals up to 1 year old. But as far as I know nothing like that happened yet.
The new regulation sets:
ban on hunting whitecoats and feeding females - all year around
ban on hunting ragget jacket and adults from 1st May to 10 March

I don't know why Sea Shepherd wrote in their news that Russia went forward than Canada - actually Russia didn't. The ban on hunting whitecoats was set in 1987 in Canada, after EU set ban on trade whitecoats trade.

Very interesting article you can find here: http://drugoi.livejournal.com/2882683.html?thread=194043003
below you find at now google translation (sorry):
Last week, the entire progressive community hands the new «Regulation of fishing for northern fishery basin» - as well as, finally, in Russia banned hunting of small accidents Belkov for whom who have just not intercede - from musicians to the Prime Minister. Vladimir Putin has even called (and rightly so) hunting tyulenyshey «bloody fishing» and zarukopleskali - hurray, now Russia will not hunt Belka!

The citizens of a progressive society, the Federal Agency for Fisheries tritely you deceived, encircled round. Little seals killed in Russia as well and will kill, read these same rules look:

3. Dates (times), no-extraction (catch) aquatic biological resources

37.3 harp seal (White population):
Belkov and females at detnyh zalezhkah - during the year;
Serkov, adults - from 1 May to 10 March;

This is «on March 10» means that the hunters have, at least a month and a half to full-fishing, but, speaking directly to the destruction of harp seal in the White Sea. Most "hot" time to harvest is left to hunt for kids.
Indeed, Belka accident two years ago did not hunt, as well as hunters, it is not necessary - it is bad, low-quality fur. Pomorie, incidentally, never at him and not hunted. Hunters need Cerca - just seal postarshe. Belek on the third week of his life begins to fade, a white fur begins proglyadyvat beautiful silvery skin. During the week that Belek is called hohlushey. Once the moult is over, and the fur is completely replaced, the young become Serkov and down into the water. Serkov go after with a gun, beat her in the water - it is difficult and often dangerous. Therefore, hohlushu when it still does not know how to swim and lay next to his mother on the ice, just collect in baskets and brought to shore. On the bank arranged the so-called «Seal farms», and, in fact, just the concentration to seal. Taken from the mother, Scared and often mutilated, they lie on the ground and waiting for them will be killed. Waiting a long time - unfed hohlushi lie in pens for about a month, until their skin becomes «certified».
So looks like a concentration camp for kids. Creek and is crying here all day and night.

Said that these «farm» there will be no more - this is a dirty business, inhuman. Where are there! For the mouse - there is a slot, and for hunters - bracket. Rather, what is in parenthesis:

4. No-extraction (catch) species of aquatic bio -

38. specialized fishing is prohibited:
harp seal being hohlusha (with the exception of his capture without selection for doraschivaniya before being fur Serko);

The founding fathers Jesuits could obzavidovalis ability of the drafters of these regulations authorizing the guise of a ban.

So, with progressive public deception clear. It is clear that the seal in Russia will be hit and the new regulations this is not a handicap. Now, talk about who is all you need and why?

To say that anybody is not necessary, it would be dishonest. Fishing this marginal, of course, and the benefits of his mite, but there is one important point - it is generously sponsored from abroad.

In late August, if you remember, I traveled in polar Norwegian city of Tromso in order to observe it at the request of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for the Conference hunters - our Canadian and Norwegian. On the voice recorder in hand, I talked with the chairman of a kolkhoz zveroboynogo on the White Sea, the director of a joint enterprise with the Norwegians for dressing skins in Arkhangelsk, with officials from the Norwegian Minrybhoza. None of them, and does not hide the fact that virtually all harp seal fishery on the White Sea is financed from the Norwegian budget, but, rather, from a government fund «Innovation Norway» and rybodobychi Ministry of Norway. 80% of the money on hunting go from there. Sorry, I do not have now at hand photo, which I did in the conference room at the time of the report of the Norwegian officials - on the big screen, he showed the scheme, as the income hunters - a little bit from the sale of skins, even less - from the marketing of seal fat and thick, a large graph with the inscription «money of the State».

According to Halvarda Johansen, the Norwegian Ministry officials, «in 2008, the Norwegian Government has allocated five million crowns for the purchase of equipment for hunting, hunter education, funding for the procurement of fishing products (hides)».

This is the exact data Norwegian expenditure side:

Norway subsidizes the 2009 fishing in the White Sea from the budgets:
- Ministry of rybodobychi and coastal fisheries: (amounting to 3 million Norwegian kroner) (formerly 2006 and 2007: 500 000 EEK 5 million in 2008)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the amount is unknown, but the budget of the Ministry has a budget for the rental of ice and other items, which can be interpreted as an aid in the development of fisheries).
- Government investment fund ( «Innovation Norway»): in the amount of 1,5 million NOK. «Innovation Norway» is co-owner (through an investment fund) - 34% OOO «Ribera Ckin-Pomerania» (founded in March 2007) - part of 1 400 000 kroons.

In a private conversation with me, Mr. Johansen has recognized the fact that Norway last year destroyed several thousand seals skins - supposedly their manufacture does not comply with the standard. In fact, there is evidence that these skins were simply nowhere to sell.

Control and organization of production of seals in the White Sea is the Norwegian company «Ribera Skin» (GC Rieber Skinn AS), together with local farmers, the director of which the most interested in the continuation of fishing. In 2008, fishing, organized «Ribera-Skins Pomorie», involved a total of about 50 people, most of them were people who were born in villages, but residents of Arkhangelsk and other major towns, the workers trawl fleet, a few sailors and fishermen, people from the collective farms.

Company «Ribera Skin» is responsible for a joint project of «Marine mammals». In 2008, hunting was carried out with the Russian ships from the Russian team, but the training was carried out by «Ribera Skin». Norwegian zveroboynye captains to assist in the implementation of ongoing work on board ships during zveroboynogo fishing. Marine Mammal Program coordinated by the Norwegian Government for the development of harvesting of seals in the north-west Russia. The main partner of this program is the fund «Innovation Norway».

05.03.2009 World Wildlife Fund support the commercial seal hunt

WWF trophy hunting is enough to say they are scums, but support Canadian seals slaughter…
In a press release issued by the Liberal Party of Canada on March 3, 2009, Liberal MP, Hon.
Gerry Byrne alleges that the World Wildlife Fund supports the commercial seal hunt and uses their alleged support as justification for
the Liberal Party supporting the hunt. I requested the WWF Canada position statement on the seal hunt. I have attached it here below. Please read their position on the seal hunt.

WWF Position Statement | Harp Seal Hunt in the Northwest Atlantic Ecoregion | March 2009

WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature. To achieve this mission and to ensure lasting success, conservation efforts must take into account cultural diversity as well as historical and economic realities. WWF recognizes that local communities play a significant role in, and benefit economically from, the sustainable use of natural resources.

For over 40 years the Canadian harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) hunt has been controversial. Many people have strong objections to the commercial harvesting of wildlife, and of marine mammals in particular. Animal welfare organizations both inside and outside Canada continue to press for improvement of humane hunting methods and tighter monitoring, while some oppose the seal hunt altogether.

In the past, largely due to considerable international pressure, several measures were taken that affected the Canadian seal hunt. In 1972, the United States prohibited the import of seal products under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In 1987, the Canadian government prohibited the hunting of the harp seal pups, at the "whitecoat" stage. More recently, there has been a movement to impose a trading ban of seal products altogether particularly at the European Union.

The long history of controversy reflects both the diversity of individual values and the diversity of cultural and national experiences with wildlife and wildlife harvesting. WWF respects this range of diversity.
As well, WWF
recognizes that hunting seals is an important part of the local economy, culture and heritage of many coastal communities in Atlantic Canada, the Arctic, many other maritime nations.

Most importantly, from the perspective of a conservation organization such as ours, the harp seal population is at a near record high with more than 5 million individuals and current harvest practices pose no apparent threat to the long-term health of the species.

While there are no conservation grounds on which to end the seal hunt at this time, vigilant monitoring of the impacts of harvesting and environmental conditions will be important. Climate change may affect the availability of sea ice, which plays an essential role in the birth and weaning process of harp seal pups. WWF will continue to work on an ecosystem-based management approach in the Northwest Atlantic Ecoregion that will take into account the overall health of the marine environment and the role of all species, including harp seals.

Furthermore, WWF has launched a global campaign to reduce the effects of climate change which poses a major threat to all Arctic species.

An important component of WWF's work in the region includes reducing the ecological footprint of nations fishing on the Grand Banks. This means reducing bycatch and habitat impacts of all fisheries and ensuring all quotas are sustainable, including those in high seas areas adjacent to Canadian waters. These are critically important changes in order to secure the recovery of this overexploited ecosystem. It is also key to securing the long-term sustainability of coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

03.03.09 IMCO voted for a total ban

Humane Society International Canada congratulated the Internal Markets and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament for voting in favour of a strong prohibition on trade in seal products in the European Union. The IMCO Opinion will go forward to plenary weeks from now.
IMCO rejected Diane Wallis' proposal to label the products instead of total ban.
A vote by the EU parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee endorsed a bill that would impose a ban on the import of all seal products to the 27-member union. It voted 25-7 in favour of the ban.
The same bill granted an exemption to Canada's Inuit to continue to trade seal products "for cultural, educational or ceremonial purposes."

http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1109306.html :
"The federal fisheries minister had met with European officials in the weeks leading up to the committee’s vote, which she described Monday as "extremely disappointing."
"It just exemplifies that despite our best efforts, the Europeans are still uninformed and they’re being led by what amounts to politics and emotions on this issue — and not the facts," Fisheries Minister Gail Shea told The Chronicle Herald in a telephone interview from Ottawa.
(…)
"The Europeans defined a problem, we addressed the problem, but they’re still voting for the ban. What it tells me is that their voting was to stop the Canadian seal hunt. Period. That’s why I think the Europeans are in an area that is outside their jurisdiction, here."
Should the EU end up passing the legislation, Canada would likely look to the World Trade Organization to see whether the move would violate international trade rules.
About 150 sealers in Nova Scotia could be directly affected by the ban because Europe is one of the primary markets for seal pelts.
But the decision could also have devastating effects for the province’s entire fishing industry, the president of the North of Smokey Fishermen’s Association said.
"What effect is this going to have not only on the sealing industry, but … on the fishing industry in general?" Robert Courtney said.
"Without a harvest there’s going to have to be some other kind of control … to keep the herd in check. If not, well then the whole fishing industry in Atlantic Canada is in jeopardy."

What a rubbish - now, Canadians want to persuade that EU ban is going to devaste their fishing industry. As we know (from DFO !!!) there is no connection between number of seals and fish stock in Canadian waters.

media:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5h9MG0Ua-IwSRePU7bECM6iiWkQ6A

20.02.09 Seal hunt commercial quotas for 2009

At the front it will be of 275,000 Harps seals and 8,200 hooded seals (plus the aboriginal quota of 4,950 harps + allowable catch of 2,000 harp seals + a fleet denied quota of 2008 of 19,000 harp seals).
The seal hunt at the Magdalene islands will start in late March. The one on the front it is intended to start on the middle of April.

19.02.09 200 Hay Island seals killed after hunters find pelt buyer

By THE CANADIAN PRESS
Tue. Feb 17 - 6:54 PM

Sealers have killed 200 grey seals on a tiny island off Cape Breton, a week after their buyer unexpectedly backed out of taking any pelts, putting the controversial hunt in limbo.

A group of hunters took to Hay Island on Monday for the first time since the spit of land officially opened for a commercial hunt two weeks ago.

Gus van Helvoort, a spokesman for the federal Fisheries Department, said Tuesday the sealers notified federal officials they had found another buyer in Newfoundland for about 200 seals.

There were no hunters on the island Tuesday and it was unclear whether they would return.

This year's hunt looked uncertain after sealers were told their original buyer's plant in Newfoundland was undergoing renovations and could not take any pelts.

Sealer Robert Courtney of Dingwall, in northern Cape Breton, said securing a different buyer was welcome news even though the number of pelts requested was low.

“It's not what we wanted but it's better than nothing,” he said.

Hay Island, which has a quota of 2,200 seals, will be closed to seal hunting in mid-March.

Van Helvoort said Monday's hunt was monitored by fisheries officers and an official from the Natural Resources Department.

Bridget Curran of the Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition said she was upset her group, which monitors the hunt, wasn't notified that sealers were on the island.

“It just shows a total lack of transparency on DFO's part,” she said. “As licensed observers, we have a right to be there to monitor and document the kill.”

The hunt has sparked controversy among environmentalists and anti-sealers who argue the province doesn't have the right to permit the hunt in a wilderness area that's protected under provincial law.

The province insists it's well within its rights to allow the hunt and is doing so partly in hopes of helping dwindling groundfish stocks in the region.

more news: http://www.harpseals.org/resources/news_and_press/2009/sealhunt09.html

13.02.09 The most controversial and the most cruel seal slaughter cancelled!

Maybe because of the worldwide recession (as media say) maybe because of the future ban on seal products there is no market for grey seal skins from Hay Island hunt. The reason doesn't matter for those 2000 grey seals who now are safe but for antisealing campaigns it's a huge step - it's the moment to say to Canadian gov - the hunt is over! There is no market for seal skins, people have enough to watch cruel videos and canadiands won't be happy to pay their taxes to keep the business.
More info: http://blog.stopthesealhunt.com/

The hunt on Hay Island, Nove Scotia is the most controversial as it's illegal - neither goverment of Nova Scotia nor DFO have produced any evidence that a hunt of grey seals in protected wilderness areas was neccessary.
"Under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, the Nova Scotia Minister of Environment can only allow hunting on Hay Island if it is proven it will aid in the restoration of indigenous biodiversity of the protected area."
And it's the most cruel slaughter of seals "In the 10 years I have observed commercial seal hunting in Canada, this was the most violent slaughter I have seen," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of animal programs for Humane Society International/Canada. "Sealers herded the pups into groups, clubbed the moulted pups with wooden bats and cut them open with box cutters. One of the most heartbreaking images was the mothers trying to put themselves between their babies and the sealers."
Seals slaughter on Hay Island infos: http://www.antisealingcoalition.ca/GreySeals/slaughter_hayisland2008.php

12.02.09 Club hangs over Canadian seals slaughter

foczka.jpg

Canadian government still feels confident with their seal bussiness but of course they know that selling the skins is getting harder and harder. The fact is that for Canadian government it doesn't matter if there will be any profit from this year slaughter they just don't want to lose the battle.
But unfortunatelly for them latest news are not good - there is no interest in seals skin market.
Just a few weeks ago DFO decided to kill grey seals on protected areas of Hay Island but the slaughter hasn't startted yet. It's a good start for us who are waiting for the end of Canadian seal slaughter.

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | 3:57 PM NT
CBC News

Anti-sealing activists are on standby, awaiting definitive word that a seal hunt off Cape Breton is cancelled.

Members of Humane Society International intended to observe and document the grey seal hunt on Hay Island.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) hasn't closed the hunt, but sealers learned Tuesday that they don't have a buyer for their pelts.

"I think it is highly significant," said Mark Glover, director of the Humane Society International-U.K.

"There is a demand for these products around the world…. If we can close down the market for these products, obviously you take away the motivation for them being killed, and that's certainly part of our plan."

Nearly 30 sealers from Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island expected to start the harvest last week.

As they waited for the weather to improve, they found out the seal processing co-op in Newfoundland won't buy their pelts because the co-op lost its market in Norway.

Sealers like Robert Courtney were counting on the extra money.

"If you can go out for a week or part of two weeks and make a couple of thousand dollars at that time of the year, it means a lot," Courtney said.

DFO had approved the harvest of 2,200 grey seals on Hay Island, a provincially protected area off Louisbourg.

There are an estimated 300,000 grey seals in the region.

29.01.09 Hay Island seal slaughter AGAIN!

foka.jpg

Nova Scotia Minister of Environment David Morse authorized a commercial hunt on Hay Island again this year. The window of time given is February 2 - March 14th. DFO Science is going to "assess the herd" (so they're actually going to count how many there are and not set a quota higher than the actual number of pups this year) and then set the quota and confirm a start date (it's too early according to our colleague Bridget- last year they started on Feb 8th - the pups won't have finished moulting yet and there will be many whitecoats still on the island).

25.01.09 Canadian delegation came to Brussels to stop the ban

Canadians came to Brussels to persuade EU Commission that the proposal of a ban on seal products is pointless as Canadian seal slaughter is, of course, humane.
"The 16 Canadian officials in Brussels say they are educating European parliamentarians on the humane way the annual seal hunt is carried out in Canada."
On 21st Jan there was held public hearing organised by the internal market and consumer protection committee to debate a draft report by UK ALDE deputy Diana Wallis on a commission proposal for an EU-wide ban on the trade in seal products. During the hearing both opponents and deffenders of seal hunting promoted their views.
Rebecca Aldworth, director of the Humane Society International Canada showed footage from Canadian hunting.
"It has been reported (…)that Canadian Ambassador of Fisheries Conservation Loyola Sullivan turned away, unwilling to watch the footage. Someone sitting near Sullivan watched as he kept his face averted until the film had concluded. " read the article HERE
The article says also about ignorance of Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea; "Sealers had expressed concern that recent proposed amendments to the Marine Mammal Regulations would prove dangerous if they were forced to go onto the ice to retrieve seals. Shea responded to these concerns on January 6th with the statement, “I have never witnessed the seal hunt, but I assume they have to go over the side anyway to get the seal”.
antisealingcoalition.ca:
"On January 13th Minister Shea told media that Canada’s commercial seal hunt was "consistent with animal welfare standards". How would she know? By her own admission, she has never witnessed it herself, and her own words illustrate her ignorance of the cruel methods used by sealers. I encourage everyone to contact Minister Shea to ask her how she can continue to defend the commercial seal hunt when she obviously is not in possession of even basic facts, such as methods used to kill seals."

Contact Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea: ac.cg.opm-ofd|niM#ac.cg.opm-ofd|niM

24.01.09 It's only a proposal at now - but already makes a mess

antisealing coalition:
"Canadian fur officials are blaming the European Union's proposed ban, as well as a waning global economy, on a poor showing for Nunavut seal skins so far this year.

None of the 10,000 Nunavut seal pelts that went up for auction this month had sold at the first auction of this year at Fur Harvesters Auction Inc.'s auction house in North Bay, Ont.,

"The entire collection remains unsold," said Fur Harvesters Auction CEO Mark Downey, adding that the auction house will have to slash prices on the seal skins.

"We're looking at probably a 50 per cent price reduction to get the thing started again," he said. "The whole thing's got to be revitalized."

Nunavut government officials say they are exploring other options for selling the furs, such as marketing them within the North.

"We have a number of local people who are taking seals," said Wayne Lynch, director of fisheries and sealing with the Nunavut government.

"As well, we have interest in northern Quebec .… There's many different areas that have contacted us for a hundred here or a thousand there."

Northern buyers bought almost 2,000 seal skins in 2008, accounting for about 25 per cent of total sales. Lynch said more marketing and promotion could boost those numbers, and help Nunavut's hunters avoid a complete collapse in the seal skin market.

Nunavut hunters have generally been paid an average of $50 per pelt. Unless buyers come forward, Lynch said that price could drop. "

16.12.08 Ban on Seal Products Stuck in EU

Not good news from Ericka Ceballos (Coordinator of the International Campaign for the Total Ban of Canadian Seal Products at the European Union) The next seal slaughter in Canada is coming and we seem to be still in the some point with the ban.

"France who has now the EU Presidency, hasn't organized yet the Coordination Meeting at the European Council, and it seems they are in no hurry to do so, because they are under lots of pressure of the Canadians, and on January 1st 2009, the Czech's will have the EU Presidency so then they will have to deal with the Canadians.

Carl Schlyter (MEP), told me this Meeting can be delayed up to February 2009!

The big problem is that if this decision gets delayed for one reason or another, this could be a total disaster if this is not decided when the Swedish take the EU Presidency next year, because they are OFFICIALLY against the ban!!!

So what was suppose to be decided this week in Brussels at the European Parliament and Council about the Resolution regarding the trade of seal products at the EU, has been posponed.

CATCA is in constant contact with the Czechs who are also on the second round of votes at their Parliament to adopt a national ban on all Canadian seal products. They support the ban at the EU level too.

So this should be decided in about two months time.

I want to make clear to all of you out there, that THE SEAL HUNT IN CANADA WILL NOT BE AVOID IT FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS! Many of you believe that this Resolution will have an inmediate impact in Canada and the seal hunt will stop automatically. I WISH! Unfortunately, this is not the case. The sealers feel the pressure already: the prices of the seal pelts went down dramatically, the hunt is risky due to the extreme weather conditions, the seals are scarce due to global warming, so on.

This Resolution if the decision is for a TOTAL BAN, it would help to end this atrocity within few years. To start with, to be implemented it would take probably 18 months, and then the pressure will be felt here.

But THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO ACHIEVE IT!

Another thing is that the Swedish are not alone against the ban, but they always counted with the support of Denmark (because of Greenland), and today I just got confirmation that Finland it's on their side too!

Demostrations, collection of petitions, signatures and letters to the Canadians are just a waste of time, money and efforts. This going on at the highest level in Europe is the only possible solution to bring to an end the seal hunt in Canada.

CATCA will launch in January a couple of e-mail campaigns, so you from any country in the world can help the seals directly. If you want to add your name to our e-mail list contact us.

CATCA has been in Europe three times this year lobbying in person and at the highest levels, and had several meetings in the Ministries of Environment, Ministries of Agriculture, Parliaments and even the European Parliament and European Commission.

The countries that CATCA lobbied for 3 years (and this year, with the help of all my awesome anti sealing and animal rights/welfare colleagues in Europe and Canada (and the US and Latin America), involved in this campaign, and all of you out there), that WE ALL convinced to support the ban during this campaign are: Poland, Slovakia, Portugal, Spain and we take some of the credits for the Czech Republic. We have been lobbying hard with the Irish and they are apparently in favor, but they haven't spoke openly about it.

I have been lobbying with most of the EU contries for three years and so far the majority are simpathetic to our cause, but because this Resolution includes the seal products coming from Canada, Norway, Russia, Greenland and Namibia and there are so many issues involved there and "loyalties" too, make this upcoming decisions more complex.

About the UK, Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Italy and France adopting national bans, well, most of these countries kind of halted this issue. Now the main focus is this Resolution to be decided at a EU level.

We have no funding for what we do, so we need your help to be able to keep doing this high level lobbying in Europe, paying for the airfare, trains, buses, hostels, materials printed, long distance phone calls, stamps, so on. We are in big need of economical support. We are looking for monthly donations, yearly donations and one time donations from supporters like you, to help us keep on doing this lobbying and maintain this ongoing campaign for the seals.

Big well known orgs. do not help us economically (not even to borrow money from them!), so we are alone doing this and CATCA has been going to Europe to lobby for the Canadian seals, on behalf of the Western Canada Anti Sealing Coalition and all the other provincial and local anti sealing groups in Canada, the real grass roots, willing to end this massacre of the baby seals and without funds. We may not have staff (CATCA is run by volunteers), nor have a fancy building as an office, nor millions of dollars, but we have the will!

Contributions/donations can be send to CATCA:

Ericka P.O. Box 16021, 617 Belmont Street, New Westminster BC V3M6W6 Canada
or go to the main page to donate by Paypal
http://www.catcahelpanimals.org/sealseuropa.html

Thank you!"

Ericka
Coordinator of the International Campaign for the Total Ban of Canadian Seal Products at the European Union

30.10.08 PRESS RELEASE 2898th Council Meeting Luxembourg, 20 October 2008

The Environment Ministers held a first exchange of views on the draft regulation concerning trade in seal products (12604/08) in order to direct the work at technical level that is continuing with a view to carrying this dossier forward as quickly as possible.

The discussion centred on two questions presented by the Presidency concerning, on the one hand, the ambitiousness of the regulation as regards animal welfare and, on the other, the implementation conditions.
At the end of the meeting, the Presidency summarised the outcome of the discussion as follows:
– All the delegations which gave their comments underlined the importance of the draft regulation and expressed their sympathy, broadly shared by European citizens, with the issue of seal welfare.
– Delegations were receptive to the fact that the basic interests of the Inuit communities linked to traditional hunting and subsistence should not be compromised.
– To ensure the practical implementation of the regulation, a more detailed examination seems necessary, particularly as regards the scope and feasibility of certain provisions.

Yeah, but with expression of sympathy and reception of facts they wont go far…
"a more detailed examination seems necessary"
So, it will take another months to the next talk during some meeting and Canadians can slaughter without concern about market.

23.10.08 Proposed ban on seal products divides EU countries

It's not surprising as some of EU countries actually make money on seals death. According to news the EU proposal does not as it stands find much sympathy in Sweden, Denmark, or Finland. "Last July, the European Commission declared that an outright ban on seal products was essential in order to stop the killing. The only exception within the Union is for the products of the Inuit population of Greenland."
In Finland it is feared that the total ban would hurt the small-scale output of seal products on the West Coast in Pohjanmaa. Juliane Henningsen (IA), who represents Greenland in the Danish parliament, said: 'We believe that the directive should be annulled,' 'There is no legitimate argument to impose a ban, and the Inuit exception casts doubt on how an Inuit is to be defined.' Danish representatives want to exempt Greenland's seal hunting and trading from the ban. Every year Greenland kill 70.000 - 100.000 harp seals without any quotas.

Environment ministers from the 27 EU countries were supposed to discuss the ban at a meeting on 20/10 in Luxembourg. No press release has been published yet.

23.07.08 European Commission adopted a proposal for the ban

europa.eu: "The European Commission adopted today a proposal for a regulation banning the trading of seal products within, into, and from the European Union to ensure that products derived from seals killed and skinned in ways that cause pain, distress and suffering are not found on the European market. Trade in seal products would only be allowed where guarantees can be provided that hunting techniques consistent with high animal-welfare standards were used and that the animals did not suffer unnecessarily.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: " We propose a ban on the placing on the market and importing into EU, transiting through, and exporting from the European Union on seal products. Seal products coming from countries which practice cruel hunting methods must not be allowed to enter the EU. The EU is committed to upholding high standards of animal welfare."

Full article

Canadian fools still hope that their seal slaughter will be accepted by these regulations as humane.
cbc.ca: "Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn said Wednesday that Canada expects its "humanely conducted hunt" will be exempt from any ban."

However there are fears that high standards Dimas was talking about could be not enough.

"London Labour MEP Robert Evans today rejected the European Commission’s proposal for a partial ban on the trade in seal products in the European Union as 'a poor effort' and 'not worth the paper they are written on'
The European Commission today proposed a draft regulation for banning the trade in seal products within, into and from the European Union. The proposals, if endorsed by the European Parliament, would mean that only those companies, hunters and countries that provide a guarantee that hunting techniques are consistent with high animal-welfare standards and that the animals do not suffer unnecessarily will be able to carry on hunting seals for their skin, meat and fat.
However, Robert Evans was angry that the Commission did not go further and propose a total ban, saying:
“Only a total ban on the trade in seal products can be the answer. Regulation, guarantees of standards and monitoring are not enforceable. Most of these hunters are roughnecks who wouldn't respond to regulations. The areas they work in are some of the most remote in the world. It would be impossible to police a hunt to see if it was done 'humanely'. ” http://www.robertevansmep.net/cgi-bin/go.pl/news/index.html

07.07.08 Europeans To Rule on Seal Product Ban this Month

The lives of millions of seals around the world is now in the hands of the European Parliament.
A bill to ban products made from the inhumane slaughter of seals will be put to a vote of the 27 member nations of the European community between July 16th and July 23rd.
Inhumane killing will apply to all seals that are slaughtered by clubs and will affect the market for seal products from Canada and Namibia especially.
European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has confirmed that inhumane killing will be applied to death by clubbing.
Mr. Dimas was near Paris yesterday for an informal meeting with European environment ministers. They agreed that the proposed ban would be presented to the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, on either July 16 or 23.
The 27 member countries will then decide collectively whether to approve or reject the ban, his spokeswoman said by telephone.
Mr. Dimas appeared confident it will pass. "We have strong support from the French presidency," he told the wire service Agence France-Presse.

"When you club (seals) them it is probably the most effective way to do it," said Jim Winter, a founder of the Canadian Sealers Association. "It's a huge hypocrisy."
"Gas chambers were the most effective way of killing Jews," said Captain Paul Watson. "Effectiveness is a NAZI like justification for cruelty. The slaughter of seals has no place in the 21st Century and Jim Winter is simply a paid public relations whore who would justify the slaughter of human babies if he were paid to do so."
The sealers are hoping that demand for fur in Russia and Asia will negate the impact of the loss of markets to the European Union countries. However Europe will not allow transhipment of seal products to other markets and it is a fact that Europe dictates fashion trends internationally and what is out in fashion in Europe will be out in Russia and Asia also.

"Now is the time to take this issue on," said Gerry Byrne, Liberal MP for the ….Newfoundland…. riding of Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte. "We'll wait till Paul McCartney and gang move on to something else, some other issue of the day, and we'll continue the seal hunt. As we have for generations and generations."

"Byrne is dreaming if he thinks the world will ignore the agony and screams of the seals." Said Captain Paul Watson. "I have devoted my life to protecting seals and I have been there for them for the last thirty years and I will be there for them until the end of my life and I can assure Mr Byrne that Paul McCartney, Brigitte Bardot, Martin Sheen and other celebrities that have voiced their opposition to the annual Canadian seal massacre will always be there to continue to oppose it. You don't sweep cruelty under the rug. Join the 21st century Mr. Byrne, it's time for your small minority of seal killing thugs to get off the government dole and learn a respectable trade – one that does not involve cruelty and the waste of tax-payer dollars to subsidize a tradition that most Canadian are rightfully ashamed of."

"The day that the European Parliament passes this bill will be a milestone in the movement to protect and conserve seal populations around the world, it will be a giant leap forward in the evolution of human kindness and it will reflect the years of hard work, sacrifice and hardships endured by so many around the world to bring this horrifically cruel industry to an end. The sealing industry must be tossed upon the trash heap of history and the word sealer forever equated with inhumanity and savagery."

03.07.08 Rallying to protect seals in the EU

1,500 seal supporters from all over Europe turned out in Brussels on Tuesday, calling for the European Union to ban trade in seal products.
Read seal campaigner Rebecca Aldworth's reflections on this important event, and watch a special video message from Paul McCartney.
Rally for Seals

12.06.08 'Scottish Are Misled Over Seal Hunt Fur'

Seal skins from the controversial Canadian hunts are being sold in Scotland to make sporrans - and buyers are being misled about their origin, Sky News has found.
video and info: The Sky News Investigation

12.05.08 Polish Ministry of Economy rejected the proposal for a ban on import of seal products!! Action needed!!!

The reply given by Polish Ministry of Economy is rather ridiculous, the conclusion is that Poland is not interested in animals welfare at all and is not interested in cases which the country has nothing to do with. That make also clear why Poland hasn't joined IWC yet…

Ministry of Economy states that from 2004 there has been a ban on products from hooded and harp species baby seals in Poland (it's the EU directive 83/129/EWG from 1983 - more than 20 years old), that import of seal products from Canada in Poland doesn't exist (85% of import in was from China, 15% from Italy and Greece) and that Poland, as a member of the EU has to wait for its decision.

To its reply Ministry of Economy attached the propaganda statement from Canadian Embassy about the seal hunting what means that the Ministry does not believe in cruelty of the seals slaughter - it's very strange how they can be obedient to the EU when they use materials which were questioned by Stavros Dimas??

The fact is that in years 2002 and 2003 Poland was one of the biggest importers of seal products (3rd and 4th place in the world) and the ban is a question of morality independent of being an importer or not.
Apart from that, according to poll results about 65% Polish citizens are opposed to Canada’s commercial seal hunt and would support a ban on the import of seal fur and other products.

The Ministry did not care about the people voice, demonstrations, the petition to Canadian Embassy to stop seals slaughter, the petition to Polish Government to Ban Import on Seal Products; the ban was proposed on 10th of April (Parliament received the letter with the proposal on 27th of March) and we had to wait for 40 days for reply from Ministry of Economy instead of 21 (according to Polish Parliament regulations and Polish Constitution an answer should be given in 21 days).

Please send your comments to Polish PM: lp.vog.mrpk|ofniric#lp.vog.mrpk|ofniric
to the Ministry of Economy: lp.vog.gm|kainaB.lafaR#lp.vog.gm|kainaB.lafaR, lp.vog.gm|ofni#lp.vog.gm|ofni, lp.vog.gm|sypaG.akzseingA#lp.vog.gm|sypaG.akzseingA, lp.vog.gm|kartS.rogI#lp.vog.gm|kartS.rogI
and the copy to the people who are still fighting for the ban: lp.mjes|iksnizdjamzS.yzreJ#lp.mjes|iksnizdjamzS.yzreJ, lp.gro.aviv|oruib#lp.gro.aviv|oruib, moc.liamg|todikiw.sseniaga#moc.liamg|todikiw.sseniaga
as it will be the proof that they've got your comment

18.04.08 Europe prepares to ban all seal product imports

Peter O'Neil, Canwest News Service
PARIS — Canada fumbled its chance to prove once and for all that its critics are wrong in asserting that the seal hunt is cruel and inhumane, Europe's environment czar said Thursday.
European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the Canadian government, which complains that the EU is being manipulated by anti-sealing groups spreading misinformation, blocked a team of European experts sent on a fact-finding mission during the 2007 hunt.
"If a team of experts wasn't able to look at what is happening, and how it is being conducted, why do they [the Canadian government] claim that other evidence is not correct?" Dimas, in Paris to attend a major climate change conference, told Canwest News Service.
"I don't know whether it was bad faith. I don't think so. But the fact is they were prevented from doing what they were going to do."
The comment from Dimas, who said he will present legislation soon to ban all seal product imports into Europe, represented a two-pronged attack Thursday on the embattled Canadian industry.
The second assault was launched domestically when Green leader Elizabeth May denounced the hunt and called for its permanent closure.
She said the hunt is "inherently inhumane," dangerous for workers, produces little economic benefit and hurts Canada's reputation abroad.
"Taxpayers' dollars have been wasted on a grand show for the European Union, complete with an expensive propaganda campaign and lobbying effort," May said in a statement.
She also criticized the recent arrest of crew members and detention of the Farley Mowat, a hunt observation vessel operated by Paul Watson's Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn shot back that May "has chosen to parrot propaganda from a militant organization which jeopardized the safety of sealers instead of standing up for Canadians in coastal communities."
Canadian Fisheries Conservation Ambassador Loyola Sullivan, who has just returned from a tour of European capitals, said the EU delegation announced the trip at the last minute and was denied access to the 2007 hunt for safety reasons.
"We entered into the heaviest period of ice you can imagine. We had 100 vessels stranded. We had vessels lost in ice. They had to be airlifted to save human lives," Sullivan said in an interview.
"And it wasn't practical to use our fisheries patrol vessels or coast guard vessels to move people out to the ice when we had human life at stake."
He said EU delegations would always be welcome to observe the hunt under normal circumstances, and lamented the body's apparent intention of imposing a ban without being fully informed.
The Canadian government has pointed to a 2006 anti-seal hunt resolution that passed overwhelmingly in the European Parliament. It declared that almost half of harvested seals are skinned alive. Canadian officials note that this claim was refuted last December by the EU's own European Food Safety Authority.
That same report also recommended that sealers bleed seals after they are clubbed or shot if there is any indication the seals aren't dead prior to being skinned. That step was introduced by the Canadian government as a requirement for this year's hunt.
The EU's apparent determination to impose a ban unless there is irrefutable proof that all harvested seals are killed quickly and humanely is neither realistic nor fair, Sullivan said. Imposing those standards "would shut down every wild hunt and every slaughterhouse in the world."

15.04.08 How to make seals slaughter more human?

It seems that Canada will be doing everything to stop any ban on seal products. Returning from Europe with nothing they made brain storm and here we are:

The Canadian Press:
Premiers call for ban on use of club in seal hunt
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The premiers of Newfoundland and Nunavut are calling for a ban on the use of the hakapik — the spiked club that is one of the most contentious symbols of the Canadian seal hunt.
Danny Williams and Paul Okalik met in St. John's, where they said they were writing to Ottawa to ask for a ban.
The tool, first developed by the Norwegians, has been used for years to bludgeon seals to death and drag their bodies over the ice.
For those opposed to the annual slaughter off Canada's east coast, the hakapik symbolizes the cruelty of the hunt.
Okalik, who has just returned from Europe where he was trying to counter negative publicity surrounding the hunt, said getting rid of the club would make a huge difference in how the hunt is perceived.
Off the north coast of Newfoundland, where 70 per cent of the seals are killed each season, the vast majority of hunters use rifles.
But Rebcca Aldworth, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of the United States, said banning the hakapik is just a "cynical ploy.''
Aldworth said the East Coast fishermen who hunt seals are, for the most part, not sharpshooters and the use of the rifle is just as inhumane and cruel as clubbing with a hakapik.
"Some of the worst examples of cruelty that we filmed this year were sealers shooting at seals, wounding them and the seals suffering in agony, crying out, bleeding and writhing in pain on the ice,'' said Aldworth, who has just returned from documenting this year's hunt.
"Rifles are every bit as inhumane as hakapiks and clubs.''
Aldworth said the politicians are not at all concerned about the welfare of the animals clubbed to death by hakapiks.
"In their minds, this is just about improving the way the hunt appears.''
The premiers drafted the letter Tuesday and Williams said he will raise the issue in the legislature.
It's the second time Williams has called for a ban.
In 2006, Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn responded by saying he would look into banning the tool, but he stressed that there was no obvious alternative for hunters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Unlike hunters in Newfoundland, those in the Gulf of St. Lawrence often work very close to each other, making hunting with guns more dangerous.

29.03.2008 Canadian gov statement - bullshit

Canadian government has tried to stop any organisation or jurnalist from observing this year's seal slaughter for simply reason - to cover that its words that this year’s slaughter will be more humane are one big bullshit.
For me "humane killing" is a nonsense anyway…. so the statement does no matter, it only shows how ridiculous people can be…

There you can find news from HS team about this year's slaughter and videos showing how humane the killing is:
"we have proved today it is the same hunt we have always"
http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2008/03/seal-hunt3.html

28.03.2008 Baby seals slaughter began

Just before dawn this morning, the annual hunt for baby seals began in Canada.

Over the next few weeks, 275,000 harp seals will be brutally clubbed or shot for their fur. Many people believe that Canada ended this hunt in the 1980s, but it's still happening — right now.

Canada’s government refused to issue hunt observation permits to HSI

From HSI (Humane Society International)
For four years, Humane Society International's ProtectSeals team has stood its ground as Canada's extraordinary harp seal nurseries are transformed each spring into bloody killing fields. The sealers have rammed our cars, smashed our boats, and brandished the very same clubs that they use to kill baby seals — all in a vain attempt to intimidate us.

Then yesterday, Canada’s government took an unprecedented step: It refused to issue hunt observation permits to our team — and to journalists — in time for us to document the slaughter this morning. This means that sealers, if they have reached the seals by now, are killing baby seals without witnesses. Which is exactly what they want.

Your support is essential. We are closer than ever to putting a permanent end to this atrocity. Markets for seal products are closing — in recent years, ten countries have either ended their trade in seal products or announced their intentions to do so. The European Union is considering a ban. Prices paid to Canadian seal hunters for seal skins are falling. And more than 3,500 businesses and half a million people have pledged to avoid Canadian seafood for as long as the commercial seal hunt continues, providing a strong economic incentive for the Canadian government to stop it.

Ban on trade in seal fur in Sweden?

05 March 2008: A new opinion poll released today by leading animal welfare organisations reveals a majority of people in Sweden are opposed to Canada’s commercial seal hunt and would support a ban on the import of seal fur and other products.
full text: http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/default.aspx?oid=226937

Russia moves towards banning the whitecoat hunt

Archives

Watch IFAW Seal Hunt Diary - 3.25.2007

Canadian Press, March 14, 2007
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HALIFAX — An animal rights group is urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call off the annual East Coast seal hunt because of a lack of seals.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare says ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are among the worst on record.
Harp seals normally give birth and nurse their pups on pack ice, but a lack of ice means few animals have been seen.
Sheryl Fink, a researcher for the group, says surveillance flights are reporting that there is not a single harp seal to be found in the southern Gulf.
The federal government has yet to announce this year’s hunt quota.
Fink says Harper has an opportunity to give Canada’s wildlife a fighting chance in the face of global warming.

Reuters Mar. 21

In March of 2006, ice melt increased tension and danger at annual Canadian seal hunt.
Last year the debate over Canada's controversial seal hunt took place against a slightly different backdrop —- open water.
Faster and wetter than in previous years, the struggle between seal hunter and hunt opponent has nearly eclipsed the traditional struggle between man and animal.
Intense chases and brazen passes made that year's hunt the most dangerous in recent memory.
Debroah Gembara reports.

Watch: http://www.reuters.com/news/video/videoStory?videoId=46035

Reuters' article by David Ljunggren: Canadian seal hunters: We're not a "savage race"

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Mark Small is fed up with being portrayed as a bloodthirsty killer for his part in an annual cull in which about 300,000 young seals are shot or clubbed to death on ice floes off Canada's east coast.
"It gives you a terrible feeling as a human being," said Small, a veteran hunter in Newfoundland. "We're not a cruel, savage race that came out of the forest somewhere."
As animal rights activists gear up for their protest against this year's hunt, the sealers complain no one wants to hear their side of the story. The hunt is a humane operation closely monitored by Ottawa, clubbing seals is the best way of killing them, and it supports a traditional way of life, they say.
But their media-savvy opponents are sure to get yet more pictures of men beating small harp seals with clubs on red-stained ice — a public relations nightmare for the seal hunters and for the Canadian government.
The protesters, backed by rock star Paul McCartney and former French actress Brigitte Bardot, say killing animals for their fur is barbaric.

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"We know that this hunt is cruel and unsustainable and quite frankly should have been ended many decades ago," said Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society of the United States.
The main part of the hunt takes place in April off the Newfoundland coast, a hard place to reach. Most media attention focuses on the first stage, near the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St Lawrence, which this year is due to start March 28.
"They've said publicly that we are barbarians and we massacre seals," said Jean-Claude Lapierre, head of the seal hunters' association on the Magdalen Islands. "Our reputation has been sullied across the planet."
Some hunters fear the activists will succeed and kill off a centuries-old way of life.
The European Union's executive commission, pressured by the European Parliament to ban all Canadian seal products, says it will investigate the hunt. Aldworth is optimistic.
"I think the implications are very serious for the Canadian seal hunt. I think it spells the end of commercial sealing in Canada," she said. Her remarks were condemned by Canada's fisheries minister, Loyola Hearn, himself no friend of the protesters.
"Their efforts have been futile and I can understand why they're now grasping at straws and twisting the truth any way they can," he said, dismissing the animal rights groups as money-grubbers.

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MALAISE
Critics say the fact that the bodies of seals jerk around after being clubbed shows the animals are suffering. Sealers describe the movements as muscle spasms and insist that a well-aimed blow with the blunt end of a hackapick club causes instantaneous death.
A new Canadian documentary on the hunt — which takes the sealers' point of view — shows a wild boar being slaughtered and then making the same movements when its throat is cut.
"There is a malaise in society. People have forgotten where food comes from," said Raoul Jomphe, the filmmaker.
Why, the sealers wonder, do people not focus on what happens in commercial abattoirs? And what about the massive game hunts in Germany?
"Our province takes no issue with the fact that they (the Germans) hunt 1.2 million deer and over 500,000 wild boars a year," said Tom Rideout, Newfoundland's fisheries minister.
"Therefore, it is hypocritical for them to take issue with a well-managed and sustainable seal harvest in Canada."
Hunters made more than C$30 million ($26 million) in 2006 from pelts alone. There is also a growing market for products such as seal oil, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are said to help ward off heart disease in humans.
Although the amounts may not seem like much, Canadian sealers say the money is crucial.
According to Lapierre, some hunters in the Magdalen Islands earn as little as C$10,000 a year, half of which comes from one week of the seal hunt. For sealers who have to rely for part of the year on social assistance payments, the hunt helps maintain some dignity.
"It's a form of pride … we go hunting to earn our bread, to find money to feed our families," he said.
Lapierre, like some other sealers, suspects animal rights activists do not want the hunt to end because it brings in too much money.
"It's the best business ever invented on the planet. It's super. You show pictures, you whip up emotions, you make people cry and then they get out their wallets," he said.
Aldworth dismissed the idea as absurd.
Last year she arranged for McCartney and his now estranged wife Heather Mills to lie on an ice floe next to a furry white-coated baby seal — pictures which were shown around the world. Hunting for white coats was in fact banned 20 years ago.
Many Newfoundland fishing communities were devastated by the collapse of cod stocks in the 1990s and the hunt is one of the few things sustaining remote coastal towns.
Official estimates say there are now close to six million harp seals off the east coast — almost triple the number in the 1970s. Hearn said the hunt helped keep numbers under control and protect fish stocks.

by Michel Comte Mar 29

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada's fisheries minister said Thursday 270,000 harp seals would be killed in its annual commercial hunt, deemed "the largest marine mammal massacre in the world" by animal rights groups.

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The harvest is down 65,000 from last year due to "poor ice conditions" in seal breeding grounds in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Minister Loyola Hearn said in a statement.
Up to 20 percent of the Atlantic herd usually nests on thick ice floes in the southern Gulf region in February or March. But this year authorities and animal rights groups found only slush and ice fragments too small to support a newborn pup.
Ice floes in the northern Gulf and around Newfoundland province where most of the seal hunting occurs remain in "good" condition, the minister said.
"We realize mortality will be higher than normal this year (in the southern Gulf)," a fisheries official said. "The ice continues to deteriorate, but there are seals there."
In the past three years, one million seals have been killed in the commercial hunt in eastern Canada.
Demonstrators in Europe and Canada have denounced the "cruelty" of seal hunting.
But Ottawa maintains the hunt poses no threat to the seal population. "This year's quota will not pose any long-term threat to the herd," a fisheries official said.
"These decisions are guided by principles of conservation. I also want to ensure that the people who depend on this resource for their livelihood will benefit from it over the long-term," said Minister Hearn.
Animal rights groups remained leery, out in force this month, stripping naked in front of Canada's parliament in freezing temperatures, dousing themselves in red paint to protest the seal hunt and appealing to the public.
"We're calling on the (government) to take a precautionary approach and stop this year's hunt," said Toni Vernelli of Greenpeace Canada last week.
"Continuation of the commercial seal hunt cannot be reconciled with the long-term conservation of the harp seal — an ice-dependent species which is already suffering critical habitat loss due to global warming."
"A large percentage of the seal pups born in the northwest Atlantic this year are dying as their habitat is destroyed," echoed Rebecca Alderworth, director of Canadian wildlife issues for the US Humane Society.
"We cannot allow the survivors of this ecological disaster to be slaughtered to produce fashion items," she said, estimating that more than 260,000 seal pups had perished due to climate change.
The government acknowledged the plight of the sea mammals, estimating 50 percent of pups in the southern Gulf did not survive, in its quota calculations.
But Hearn, backed by hunters, fur industry representatives and Inuit leaders, countered that opponents of seal hunting were presenting a "biased" view of a practice that he called "sustainable, economically viable and culturally significant."
The Atlantic seal population has ballooned over the past three decades to almost 5.5 million, he said.
Opening dates for the 2007 seal hunt will be announced in the coming days, the minister said.
The government also said fleets that harvest more seals than allotted will see their individual quota reduced by an equivalent amount next season, noting that hunters killed 10,000 more seals than prescribed in 2006.
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Canada Begins Their Extermination of the Seals

Sea Shepherd News 04.02.2007
Regardless of the fact that 250,000 seal pups are estimated to have perished from diminished ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has set the total allowable catch or quota on seal pups for 2007 at 270,000 seals.

The slaughter began today.

This quota is a reduction from the quota of 320,000 seals for the 2006 season. Unfortunately, a reduction of 50,000 seals does not even begin to compensate for the drastic impact in seal populations from the mortality due to lack of ice caused by global warming.

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The Canadian government is simply refusing to acknowledge global warming and climate change as having an influence on the seal populations.

"This is a grossly irresponsible decision by Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn," said Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson. "All this politician is concerned with is his popularity in his home province of Newfoundland. He is not taking into consideration the fate of the seals and he is not representing the views of Canadians outside of the province of Newfoundland."

The decision also does not take into account the fact that quotas were exceeded in 2006. There were no reprimands or penalties given for sealers who violated the quotas.

Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn continues to flog the party line that the seal slaughter is the most "well regulated, humane hunt in the world." This is the big lie that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) continues to promote in their effort to justify the horrific and obscene annual massacre of hundreds of thousands of defenseless seal pups on the eastern coast of Canada.

Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson has been legally banned from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador after being convicted of the "crime" of approaching a sealer killing a seal pup in 2005.

"It is amazing that in Canada it is illegal to witness the killing of a seal," said Captain Watson. "Canada knows that their big lie can only be sustained by keeping the truth of the slaughter away from the eyes of the public.

Sea Shepherd may return to the sealing area in 2008 despite the ban on Captain Watson. "We are moving our ship the Farley Mowat into the North Atlantic this year," said the ship’s Captain Alex Cornelissen. "We cannot reach the seals this year because our ships are in Australia, but we may be able to intervene in 2008. We are researching tactic and possible strategies for future interventions."

Incompetence on the part of the Canadian DFO is the reason for the collapse of the commercial fishing industries on both the east and west coasts of Canada. DFO refuses to recognize the crucial role that seals have in maintaining balance in the sea.

"If you lower harp seal numbers, you increase the numbers of the fish that the seals prey upon," said Captain Watson. "The largest predators of valued commercial fish species like the cod and the salmon are other species of fish, the very same species targeted by the seals.

He continued, "How much more damage will DFO do before the people of Canada arrive at the realization that this governmental bureaucracy is destroying the delicate balance between prey and predator in coastal ecological ecosystems?"

Arctic Ice Runs Red 7th April
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Canadian government officials and observers have both said it has been a terrible year for harp seals. The fisheries agency claimed the herd was "healthy and abundant" a week ago when it set the quota of seals to be killed this year at 270,000 seals. At the time, the agency also acknowledged that more than 90 percent of the seal pups likely died in the southern Gulf this spring. Ice pans melted out from under the newborns before they were able to swim in the water.
Newborn seals cannot swim and need solid ice to survive in the first weeks of life.
Although hunters no longer kill the newborn whitecoats, the vast majority of seals killed in the hunt are between three and 12 weeks of age.
Most of this year's hunt, as in past years, will take place off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland in an area called the Front, where 70 per cent of the quota will be taken.
The federal government maintains the hunt is humane, sustainable and a much-needed source of income for fishermen in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
The baby seals' eerie absence was unexpectedly also felt in the north, where solid ice floes were also in bad condition. Instead of the tens of thousands of pups that should have been there, there were empty, broken ice floes as far as observers could see.

Watch IFAW Seal Hunt Diary 5th April

04/25/2007 Austria Gives Full Support to the Seals

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is today applauding the nation of Austria for voting unanimously yesterday in support of a complete ban on the importation, processing, and distribution of all seal pelts from all species of seals.

Austria joins Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Croatia in banning seal pelts. Austrian Minister for the Environment, Josef Proll (OVP), stated that he will also work for a ban on the EU level.

04/26/2007 France to ban seals product!

Yesterday, Austria, and today the government of France has declared their intention to ban the import of seal products.

With this commitment, France joins Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico,and Croatia in speaking out against Canada's cruel, unsustainable, and unnecessary slaughter of harp seal pups.

09/30/2007 Canada: Stop Plans to Restrict Seal Hunt Observation

The Canadian government is trying to block observation of the seal hunt, and we have very little time to stop it. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is proposing unconstitutional changes to the Marine Mammal Regulations — amendments that would effectively block all independent observation of the commercial seal hunt.
Take action! Send your comments to the DFO today!

https://community.hsus.org/campaign/global_dfo_seal_hunt/w7737werp83bd5i?

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