Beware the Ides of March: The International Day of Protest Against Canada's Seal Hunt
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
The Right Honourable Paul Martin Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa Ontario Canada K1A 0A2
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.
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