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Beware the Ides of March: The International Day of Protest Against Canada's Seal Hunt

March 02, 2005 | Seals

**Office of the Consulate General of Canada**
15 March 2005, Noon to 2:00 pm.
Open to all.

In Act One of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, Caesar, soon before being killed, asks a soothsayer for advice. The answer: "Beware the ides of March."

And for over 2,000 years since, the 15th of March has been known as the date by which debts are usually settled. Debts, for seals bludgeoned to death by Newfoundland's hunters each spring, are unlikely ever to be settled. But right now, before incurring any more ethical debts, Canada should call off its annual seal hunt.

This spring is part of the Canadian Department of Fisheries' three-year plan to facilitate the death of the better part of a million seals. (Last spring, 365,971 seals were slaughtered on the ice -- more than 15,000 over the established quota of 350,000.)

The Canadian government continues to subsidize this annual slaughter off Newfoundland's northeast coast. Seal pelt exports to Europe and Asia have nearly doubled each year since 2002.

Each pelt represents the irreplaceable life of a harp or hooded seal pup who was too young to swim away from the club. Mother seals defending their pups are often killed along with the youngsters.

On March 15, Friends of Animals will bear witness to this tragic and senseless practice, in an international day of protest. On the same day, activists will hold vigils in solidarity with the seals throughout Europe, and in Central and South America.

We come to the door of the Canadian Consulate in Manhattan, to alert New York residents that the world's largest commercial hunt continues. We call on all people to join us in urging Canadian Consulate General Pamela Wallin and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin to end the seal hunt now:

Pamela Wallin, Canadian Consulate General
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY, United States 10020-1175
Telephone: 1-212-596-1628
Facsimile: 1-212-596-1790

The Right Honourable Paul Martin Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa Ontario Canada K1A 0A2
Facsimile: 1.613.941.6900

Ask these leaders to make Canada a beacon of a humane global society. If the Canadian government wishes to help Newfoundlanders, it should not mean the skin off a seal's back. Support for Newfoundlanders doesn't have to mean support for the seal market.

Tell them that we, along with people throughout the world, look forward to hearing that they will press for an immediate stop to the seal hunt.

Not a Fish Boycott
Several animal protection groups have promoted a so-called seafood boycott campaign. We do not see fish or other marine animals as seafood and we reject the notion that the public ought to use their capacity to eat fish as leverage in support of seals. Thus, we simultaneously oppose both Canada's seal kill and humane groups selling out of the other living beings in Canadian waters. Seals are part of a diverse marine biocommunity which we respect in entirety.

Seal pelts comprise a lucrative market in Norway, Germany, Greenland, and China "“ not to mention in Canada itself. Activists in all of these regions should firmly and constantly make it known that fur of any kind is a deprivation of other animals' lives, not a wardrobe accessory.



Hi Samantha, Some consumers choose imitation fur because it is not the product of killing an animal, and yet, it still has that "fur-look", which the fashion industry promotes as glamorous. It's often hard to tell the difference between clothing made from the fur of a non-human animal and the synthetic variety. And that's a problem. Faux fur is not real but it still conveys the message that fur is acceptable. If we want to end the seal hunt, we must reject fur completely, whether real or imitation. Besides, who needs fur to be fashionable? Ellie

Hello Friends...please provide me with some information so I may hold a demo in Burlington, VT. Although this area is predominantly progressive, I do notice many people who publicly promote their taste for death by wearing furs and leather in public. Fortunately, unlike Alaska, Vermonters are sensitive (for the most part) about the lives of non-human beings and seem to show a level of concern I have not seen in many places. A demo here would certainly raise awareness and the proximity to Canada would be a benefit. Thanks Scott

I would like to thank all of the men and women who will be at the protest in Canada. Sadly, I won't be there, but I'm going to tell everyone I know to write to these people. I also saw tons of fur adds in the paper. I find it nessesary to write the press and ask them to take out the adds. Please continue to protest. We are praying for you!

I wish that they would just stop killing these creatures of God. He put them here for a purpose like humans.

This brutal and unnecessary cruelty should be outlawed. I will be there on March 15 and we should all remember the Ides of March 2005 as the day the Canadians halt this is a horrible practice.

I have been actively protesting the seal hunt. Ottawa must be tired of my letters and e-mails and all the replies I get contain the same unjustifiable and ignorant excuses for the hunt. At least I got the support of my MP who has expressed to the Minister of Fisheries that the seal hunt must stop. Newfoundland is destroying our marine ecosystems (with the help of mismanagement by the Federal Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans). The cod stock has collapsed, the snow crab population is in trouble and the harp seal population is being decimated in the name of tradition and fashion. When all these creatures are wiped out, I wonder what these Newfoundlanders are going to do for a living. It is hard to respect people who have no humaneness towards living creatures, as long as they can profit from their slaughter. How about thinking about the environment and future generations? How about the future of their own kids? Shouldn't they go to school and prepare themselves for more viable jobs for the 21st century? For any Canadian that is reading this, we need to vote this Government out! Don't give Paul Martin and Mr. Geoff Regan, the mInister of Fisheries, another chance to destroy our marine wildlife. Speak up for the seals and vote the murderers out! The Liberals brought the seal hunt back in 1995 after it stopped in the 80's due to public outcry. The Liberals continue to buy Newfoundland's support with sealing licenses. The Liberals allow anybody, with no formal training (although they deny this, of course) to get on the ice and crush seals' skulls with clubs. Hundreds of violations to the sealing regulations were caught on tape at this years' hunt. Mr. Regan has not pressed any charges yet. The people that skinned seals alive, dragged live seals with boat hooks and took more seals than their allowable catch, are getting away with murder. Like I said, we hold the power to stop this. Firstly, don't support Newfoundland and Labrador' s tourism and tell them why, don't eat seafood, especially if it comes from Newfoundland and use your vote to get the Liberals out!

Hi Nancy--thanks for writing. Animal advocates have opposed the Canadian seal hunt since the 1960s, and yet mass slaughter continues with ever increasing quotas. It's way past time to re-evaluate this campaign. For decades, animal welfare groups have tried to regulate the hunt by supporting "humane" methods of killing. Training hunters, as you mention above, is part of this well intentioned effort. Yet in reality, these regulations give tacit acceptance of the killing. Such a strategy will not end the hunt. And because "humane" regulations cannot be enforced, animal welfare groups have called for a boycott on Canadian seafood, which I see you support. It's worthwhile to remember that in 1980s a similar boycott was held in Europe, but the hunt continues. Whatever point on the political spectrum you happen to be on, the seal hunt is rooted in our lack of respect for the individual interests of non-human animals. This does not begin or end with seals. When we recognize the interests of other animals--including their most basic interest in surviving-- it follows that we should not exploit them--whether they are seals, fish, or cows. In turn, our environment will be relieved of the problems animal use has created. The boycott on Canadian seafood uses the sale of one marine animal against another. It conveys the idea that people can eat fish, just not fish from Canada. Whether or not the boycott causes great financial losses, it is not a good argument against the hunt--i.e., if it's ok to kill fish, then why is it not ok to kill seals? The Canadian government is spending millions of Canadian tax dollars on subsidizing the hunt, and marketing seal skins. Friends of Animals asks advocates to respect the seals and Canadian workers by ending these subsidies, and using this money to create jobs and real support for economically disadvantaged workers. Ellie Friends of Animals, New York City

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