Boycott Canada for sealing, U.S. humane society urges

Karen Dawn KarenDawn at DawnWatch.com
Wed Jun 18 10:33:06 EDT 2003


(The Record takes letters at: letters at therecord.com )

The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario)
June 17, 2003 Tuesday Final Edition
 FRONT; Pg. A3

Boycott Canada for sealing, U.S. humane society urges

 Canadian Press

ST. JOHN'S, NFLD.

The Humane Society of the United States is calling on Americans to boycott
Canada and Canadian products to protest the annual East Coast seal hunt.

A full-page ad that ran in the New York Times yesterday showed a masked
hunter clubbing a seal. Beneath it is written in blood-coloured type: "O
Canada, how could you?"

The ad asked supporters to call the Prime Minister's Office and the Canadian
Tourism Commission and threaten to cancel trips north. "Tell the Canadian
government you won't travel to Canada until it ends this senseless and
barbaric killing," the ad said.

The tourism commission received some calls yesterday, said spokesman Guy
Desaulniers. "I wouldn't qualify it as a high number," he said.

The commission provided callers with contact information for the Department
of Fisheries and Oceans, which administers the hunt.

The ad is part of a humane society campaign to "end the Canadian seal hunt
once and for all," according to the society's Web site.

The group is asking supporters not to vacation in Canada, particularly
Atlantic Canada.

The Web site site suggests those opposed to the hunt write letters to
newspapers and contact Canadian firms to question their position on the
hunt.

It also invites readers to wear a new Protect the Seals T-shirt sold on the
site for $32 US, of which $5 will go to the society's animal protection
programs.

The group hopes to raise $3 million over the next three years for a
publicity campaign.

Steve Outhouse, spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said
the ad campaign is misleading at best. The society Web page shows a doe-eyed
baby harp seal, or white coat, and criticizes the killing of baby seals. But
it doesn't state that it has been illegal to hunt white coats since 1987 in
Canada, Outhouse said.

Claims about the way seals are killed and accusations that the federal
government subsidizes the sealing industry are also inaccurate, he said.

In February, Ottawa announced the largest seal quota ever, allowing 975,000
animals to be harvested over the next three years. Most of them will be
harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador. Quebec and Nunavut also take part in
the seal hunt.

Federal scientists estimate there are 5.2 million harp seals off the East
Coast today, compared with 1.8 million in 1970.

The seal management plan is based on sound science, Outhouse said.




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