Opportunity on Horizon for Canadian Sealers

    ST. JOHN'S, Jan. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - During a meeting yesterday in
St. John's, NL, the Fur Institute of Canada's (FIC), Seals and Sealing Network
assembled about 100 stakeholders from all aspects of sealing, sealers, Inuit,
veterinarians, industry and government, to discuss the potential crisis in
Europe based on pending seal product import bans, and the opportunity to meet
and exceed European wildlife harvesting practices.
    "Virtually every country in the world hunts and traps wild animals for
food, clothing and to manage wildlife populations," said FIC Chairman, Bruce
Williams. "And, public concern for the animal welfare aspects of these
activities is legitimate. Some of the countries that are introducing bans on
the import of seal products, including pelts and oils used in Omega 3
supplements, such as Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Austria, hunt
millions of animals a year in wildlife management and pest control programs.
Such bans do nothing to address the humaneness of hunting practices and, in
fact, discourage the sustainable use of abundant wildlife."
    "We are encouraged by the commitment and resolve of sealers in Canada
from Maritime and northern communities to review and further improve
harvesting practices and participate in educational workshops," said Rob
Cahill, FIC Executive Director. "This commitment and the Government of
Canada's challenge of the Dutch and Belgian seal product import bans at the
World Trade Organization are important steps towards engaging the Europeans in
meaningful discussions on broad animal welfare and wildlife conservation
issues. We believe that a genuine dialogue between countries with major
wildlife harvesting activities, such as Canada, the United States, Germany,
Italy, Greenland, Finland, Norway and Russia, needs to be established to
facilitate an exchange of information to assist the international community in
meeting its animal welfare obligations, regarding respectful hunting
    The Fur Institute of Canada is well represented at the Seal Advisory
meetings in St. John's today and tomorrow.

For further information:

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

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