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Calling on Canadians to End the Seal Slaughter

March 13, 2009 | Seals

UPDATE: Rallying and Marching for Canadian Seals -- March 15th, New York City

Beginning mid-March, and lasting for about six weeks, Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will have up to 300,000 baby seals clubbed or shot and killed off Newfoundland's coast. In 2008, the Department recorded a total of just over 219,000 harp and grey seals slaughtered on the ice. The Canadian government insists the kill provides economic opportunities for Canada's coastal communities. Reality check: The government squanders a lot on these bloody ice follies. Canadians' money provides support in the form of icebreakers, helicopters, patrol planes, Coast Guard salaries, and legal expenses, including payments for four drownings and two more near-drownings of seal kill crewmembers.

Currently, the seal pelts derived from this kill, when expenses are subtracted, net about 6 million Canadian dollars -- one tenth of 1% of Newfoundland's GDP, according to Toronto-based lawyer and journalist Murray Teitel. In "The Millions Ottawa Spends Subsidizing the Seal Hunt" (Financial Post; 17 Apr. 2008), Teitel wrote, "This $6-million costs Canadians at least 10 times as much and does so year after year." That's because of the use of the highly expensive Coast Guard for rescues on the treacherous ice, the constant marketing efforts and attempts to overcome NAFTA and four European countries' seal pelt bans -- and dealing with all those legal expenses and dead kill workers. Seal pelts are sold in Norway, Russia, Eastern Europe, and China, and in Canada itself.

People everywhere should firmly and constantly make it known that fur of any kind is not a wardrobe accessory; it's a deprivation of others' lives. Canada's annual seal kill should not exist. It is violent, unjust, morally degrading. And now we see it is also a travesty of economics. The members and supporters of Friends of Animals demand that the Canadian government end the seal slaughter immediately. Opportunities within respectful eco-tourism and green technologies should be encouraged, and coastal residents should be enabled to pursue careers in these fields. If the Canadian government wishes to offer genuine support to Newfoundland, it could and should get on with it, and let the seals be. Join us in sending this message to those who should lead this initiative to stop the massacre.

1. Ask the heads of Canadian environmentalist groups to ENDORSE FoA's STATEMENT. E-mail us the names of any who do:

2. YOUR URGENT ATTENTION IS NEEDED; please remember what the seals face in just days, drop everything for a few minutes, and contact:

  • Canadian Consulate General Daniel Sullivan 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1175 Telephone: 1.212.596.1628 Facsimile: 1.212.596.1790
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington St. Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2 Fax: 1.613.941.6900 Fax: 1.613.995.7858 Email address:
  • Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans House of Commons 441-S Centre Block Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Fax: 1.613.992.1974 Email address:


Can you imagine what the seals are feeling right now, as they try to prepare to avoid this certainly-remembered annual kill? Terrible - no wonder animals around the globe are perpetrating inter-species forays and attacks.

I am a Canadian citizen, and I have been actively involved in marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation for over 20 years. I have taken a major interest in the annual commercial seal hunt and in all aspects of the sealing industry. Over the years I have gained a considerable amount of technical knowledge and anecdotal information. I have been to the ice floes, observed the commercial seal hunt at close range, and have witnessed a level of cruelty that would not be tolerated in any modern civilized society, a condition to which Canada ought to aspire. Many "studies" and surveys, allegedly carried out by independent veterinarians, to support the Department of Fisheries and Oceans claim that the commercial seal hunt is regulated and "humane" are done by persons who are contracted by the Government and the Fur Institute of Canada. This clearly might appear to be open to conflicting interests. The shameful waste of taxpayers money, used up by endless junkets to European countries by politicians and DFO, in attempts to promote this dying and uneconomical slaughter, are a national disgrace. The fact that these enormous sums of money and other continuing subsidies to the sealing industry are hidden from the Canadian taxpayer is unconscionable. Government claims that families in Atlantic Canada depend on the hunt are clearly ill informed. Even the Government of Canada and the sealers themselves do not claim total dependence on the seal hunt. It is a well known fact that most sealers are engaged for a matter of days, rather than weeks, and make $1200 or less for risking their lives under dangerous conditions in this barbaric rite of passage. We the tax payers of Canada have to foot the bill for the services of the Coast Guard, extra fisheries enforcement officers, observers, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police(RCMP). This is a travesty! Because of the physical environment in which it operates, and the way in which it is conducted in order to be commercially viable, the Canadian seal hunt is - and will always be - inhumane, and decades of tinkering with legislation by Canada has made little difference. I suggest that ethics and morality can and must figure into Canada’s political economic and even scientific reasoning regarding the commercial seal slaughter. The conduct of this annual barbaric ritual denigrates humanity and is a blight upon all who allow it to continue. Perhaps God will bring His judgment upon Canada one day. If He does, it will be because millions of good Canadians put their faith in a government whose policies and actions were obviously false and clearly immoral.

"We the tax payers of Canada have to foot the bill for the services of the Coast Guard, extra fisheries enforcement officers, observers, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police(RCMP). This is a travesty!" The Coast Guard, fisheries officers, observers, and the RCMP are there anyway and not just for sealers alone. Their there to catch smugglers, stop foreign overfishing, to protect other nations vessels, search & rescue and so on. Usually, if there are extra of these people out there it is because of the danger the animal rights people bring with them. [Blog editos' note: Seal-killers are just that, people who prey on baby seals who are unable to defend themselves. Calling this monstrosity "sealing," or some such thing is offensive. Anglers catch fish and that's a hazard to marine mammals -- stealing fish for a species that doesn't need it. There's no justification for humans to kill fish when marine mammals and birds depend on fish for their survival . Humans can have plant-based diets that are good for one's health and the environment. Animal rights people are not a danger to seals, but the Canadian government caters to the fur industry and it's high time that ended. Canadians must revolt and start that dissent NOW.]

We must protect all the living creatures that God gave to us. I am aganist cruelty to innocent, helpless animals......I will not wear fur ever!!!

Rallying and Marching for Canadian Seals--NYC March 15th, 2009--New York City Friends of Animals held a lively multi-media rally and a spirited march throughout midtown Manhattan on March 15th, with 100 supporters in attendance, in honor of the International Day of Action Against the Canadian Seal Slaughter. The day started out in front of the New York City Canadian Consulate's Office, where we commandered nearly the entire block with our materials and seal activists. Our supporters held dozens of color posters and banners which stated outrage against the continuing assualt on seals, starting in just a few weeks time. Our high-tech display was set up with a mounted wide-screen television displaying footage of the actual slaughter of the seals, including audio. We also had a sound system which we used to educate passerby and ask them to take our informative flyers to find out how to help end the seal massacre. Crowds of people formed to watch the footage, and to learn more. We handed out 1000 flyers to New Yorkers and tourists--all of whom we hope will use the information we gave to put pressure on the Canadian officials we listed. I was pleased to see several children in attendance with their guardians, and they were very eager to hand out flyers. After 1 1/2 hours spent at the Canadian Consulate's Office, we headed off for a high-energy march throughout some of the busiest and most tourist-filled areas of New York. Our large parade of activists held a huge banner, dozens of color posters, and kept up lively chants of "Hey Canada, What's the Deal, Stop Killing Baby Seals"--for well over an hour as we traversed through Rockefeller Center, down Fifth Avenue, past many high-end retailers which sell fur, and finally, through Times Square, where we ended our march and were surrounded by tourists from all over the world eager to help stop this slaughter. We attracted a great deal of attention, and we continued passing out flyers throughout our march, and answered questions from passerby. Many people told us that they were shocked to learn that this slaughter still goes on. Our message reached many thousands of people in just a few hours. We hope our efforts will contribute to the pressure needed for the Canadian Government to end this slaughter before it begins. Edita Birnkrant, New York Director Friends of Animals

I cannot believe that this killing of innocent baby seals is justified by the canadian government. I had heard about it , but I did not know it was at such a large scale. 300,000 !!! Incredible. And for what!! MONEY. That's it-- What a pitiful Government. In these article I wish they would put all the info about who to contact and complain to and, also who is on our side in that government that wants this slaughter stopped. Thanks

I just found your flyer in a vegan deli in NYC. After I ate, I called Daniel Sullivan, the Canadian General Consulate, at the number you provided(212.596.1628). I got right through and he answered. I let him know that I was the CEO of two successful companies ( & - the latter was just named by Time Magazine as one of the top 25 Blogs in the World for 2009.) I expressed my concern as a business owner about doing business in Canada if this continues, and this was his exact response: "If you are opposed to the seal hunt, you certainly shouldn't be doing business with or in Canada." - Canadian Consulate General Daniel Sullivan via phone 03/18/2009 Though he was saying this in a frustrated way, it seems to me we share the same position, and he endorses the idea of a global boycott of Canadian business until the hunt stops. He also said I was the FIRST person to contact him with regard to this. Either he is lying, or more of you need to call him! Probably both. If he says you were the first, say "What about Anthony David Adams from" ;)

Thanks to Anthony for the heads-up and for pestering the Canadian Consulate. We've done much the same although Daniel Sullivan doesn't find it convenient to mention a glut of protest calls. All the same, please do keep the pressure on Sullivan and the other apologists for Canada's annual seal massacre. It's a misery beyond description and there's no moral or scientific justification for any of it. We're all in agreement that a global boycott of everything Canadian should follow. No travel, no Canadian beer, and while we're at it, bury the fur trade. Priscilla Feral President Friends of Animals

I cannot believe they do this. Its beyond cruelty and the people who do the killing are like a "hitler" type of mentality. I will not buy anything from Canada. Maybe if they spent their time and money on necessary things like trying to get medical helicopters in Canada and to ski slopes. At least have them available which Canada does not have. Perhaps we would not have a dead Natasha Richardson from "their" delay in getting her to the appropriate hospital because they have NO Helicopters. Guess they are to busy with the killing of seals . They spend their money and time murdering innocent animals. Wake up Canada. Stop the Killing!!

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