Monday, 30 March 2009 12:00 AM
Hunt observers with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) today obtained new shocking images and footage of seals being clubbed and skinned as they continue to document Canada's cruel commercial seal hunt.
Almost 20,000 seals were estimated to have been killed in just over two days after the annual slaughter opened off Canada's east coast on Monday. The largest marine mammal hunt in the world, this year's total allowable catch limit (TAC) is set at 280,000 harp seals.
Sealers once again turned the ice red today as they continued the race to fill their quotas, clubbing and skinning seals.
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, is currently in Canada observing the hunt. He said: "Canada's commercial seal hunt is unacceptably cruel. Every year, we see thousands of seals killed, primarily so their fur can be used to make fashion items. Many seals suffer slow and painful deaths to provide these products which nobody needs.
"As the EU stands poised to introduce a ban on the trade in products from commercial seal hunts throughout its member states, we urge the European Parliament to make sure this is an outright ban with no loopholes which would allow trade in seal products from cruel commercial hunts to continue.
"Citizens of the UK and the rest of Europe have pushed for this ban because they want to ensure Europe plays no further part in this cruelty. Prices for seal pelts are falling, and we urge the Canadian government to call an end to this hunt once and for all."
Recent economic evaluations have indicated that the market for seal fur is saturated, causing prices to drop by almost half. Processors report that sales of seal pelts all but stopped at the end of 2007, and in early 2009, still do not appear to have recovered.
Notes for Editors:
Belgium, Croatia and the Netherlands already have national trade bans on seal products from commercial hunts. Hungary, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Italy have also taken steps towards bans designed to close down markets for seal pelts. Elsewhere, bans are also in place in the US and Mexico.
Last year more than 217,000 seals were killed, 99.8% of which were pups under three months old.
The proposed EU trade ban would not affect Inuit seal hunting.
Contact information and access to footage and images:
For more information please contact Clare Sterling in Charlottetown on +44 (0)7917 507717. Alternatively contact Rosa Argent in the UK on mobile 07801 613530.
Latest broadcast-quality footage and still images from today's hunting are now available on www.hdvideotaxi.com