Germany's stand on seal hunting - moral or hypocritical?



    OTTAWA, March 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians are increasingly frustrated at
the double standards set by countries like Germany, who are denouncing managed
hunts of abundant wildlife populations as immoral and unethical - in this
case, it is seal hunting in Canada. Rob Cahill, Executive Director of the Fur
Institute of Canada, says, "We find it interesting that Germany hunts seven
times more deer and wild boar each year, for their high-end restaurant market,
than seals that are hunted in Canada. The hunting methods are virtually the
same, as 90% of the Canadian seal hunt is conducted with rifle."
    The German government's initiative to implement a unilateral seal import
ban undermines the European Commission's pursuit of a full and objective
assessment to ascertain humane hunting practices, based on the public's
concern over animal welfare of hunting around the world. Seals are one of many
abundant species hunted in Europe for commercial purposes. "Finland, Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, Greenland, Sweden and the UK all hunt seals," states Mr.
Cahill. "All of them utilize the meat, pelt and oils of the seal, except the
UK, where the seal is hunted as a 'pest' and is discarded." Throughout the
world, seals from abundant populations are hunted, and provide important
income for coastal and native peoples in Iceland, Namibia, Russia, Norway,
Canada and the United States, in addition to those in Europe. Endangered
populations are not hunted. It has been illegal to hunt pups since 1987.
    Germany has never produced any studies on the welfare aspects of sealing
practices to counter those conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medical
Association (CVMA) and an Independent Veterinary Working Group. "Animal
welfare is an important issue," says Pierre-Yves Daoust, a member of the CVMA
and frequent observer of the Canadian harp seal hunt since 1999. "It would be
very useful to have access to welfare studies that have been done in Germany
to establish that their hunting practices are humane. The international
community would benefit greatly from such information."
    "Our members support the sustainable use of abundant wildlife species,
and are opposed to import bans, which do nothing to encourage conservation or
respectful treatment of animals," says Mr. Cahill. The Institute has set up a
Seals and Sealing Network to inform people of the real facts surrounding
Sealing around the world. You can see more on its website at
www.sealsandsealing.net.

    The Seals and Sealing Network under the Fur Institute of Canada, a
national non-profit organization promoting sustainable and wise use
principles, is committed to the conservation and respectful harvesting of the
world's seal species through sound scientific management and internationally
accepted sustainable use practices. The Seals and Sealing Network is comprised
of Government, Inuit, Veterinarians, Conservationists, Health care
practitioners and Industry representatives. For more information, please go to
www.sealsandsealing.net.




For further information:

For further information: Robert B. Cahill, Executive Director, Fur
Institute of Canada, (613) 231-7099 x 226

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FUR INSTITUTE OF CANADA

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