AR-News: U.S. Senate considering call for seal hunt ban -- Tuesday
front page, St. John's Telegram (Newfoundland)
KarenDawn at DawnWatch.com
Wed Nov 26 07:13:19 EST 2003
The St. John's Telegram takes letters at: letters at thetelegram.com )
St. John's Telegram (Newfoundland)
November 25, 2003 Tuesday Final Edition
News; Pg. A1
U.S. Senate considering call for seal hunt ban
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is back to condemn the
annual East Coast seal hunt a week after it's begun.
Only this time they've garnered a little American muscle to boost their
At least nine U.S. senators support the IFAW's call for an end to the
world's "largest and, arguably, with 42 per cent of seals skinned alive,
cruelest mammal hunt."
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) introduced a resolution last week calling on
Ottawa to stop the "cruel and needless commercial hunt which is inconsistent
with the well-earned international reputation of Canada."
According to the resolution, posted on the U.S. Senate's website and backed
by eight other senators, "... 97 per cent of the seals culled in the 2003
slaughter were pups between just 12 days and 12 weeks of age, most of which
had not yet eaten their first solid meal or learned to swim."
It further claims that a 2001 veterinary report concluded as many as 42 per
cent of the seals studied were likely skinned while alive and conscious.
"(The hunt) is not conducted by indigenous peoples of Canada, but is a
commercial slaughter carried out by non-native people from the East Coast of
Canada for seal fur, oil, and penises used as aphrodisiacs in some Asian
markets," Levin told the U.S. Senate Thursday, five days after the hunt
leally opened Nov. 15.
"The fishing and sealing industries in Canada continue to justify the
expanded seal hunt on the grounds that the seals in the Northwest Atlantic
are preventing the recovery of cod stocks, despite the lack of any credible
scientific evidence to support this claim."
Levin told fellow senators that harp and hooded seals are a vital part of
the complex ecosystem of the Northwest Atlantic, and because the seals
consume predators of commercial cod stocks, removing the seals might
actually inhibit recovery of cod stocks.
"Certain ministries of the Government of Canada have stated clearly that
there is no evidence that killing seals will help groundfish stocks to
recover," he added.
The IFAW applauded the Senate's resolution.
"We are profoundly appreciative of Sen. Levin's commitment to seeking
solidarity within the U.S. Senate against Canada's commercial seal hunt,"
said IFAW spokeswoman Rebecca Aldworth.
The American public has also spoken out about the hunt, she said, citing a
2002 survey which showed 79 per cent of Americans opposed the killing of
seals for their fur.
The poll also indicated U.S. opposition could critically affect tourism and
related economic interests, particularly in Atlantic Canada.
Canadian Sealers Association executive director Tina Fagan could not be
reached for comment.
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