Seal Slaughter Cruelty Continues in Canada

    Humane Society International Documents Suffering, Apparent Violations of
Marine Mammal Regulations at 2009 Seal Kill

    OTTAWA, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, Humane Society
International/Canada released new footage from Canada's 2009 commercial seal
kill at a press conference with Senator Mac Harb, the first Canadian
parliamentarian to introduce a bill to end the seal hunt. Observers documented
numerous cases of extreme cruelty, including apparent violations of Canada's
Marine Mammal Regulations.

    "The cruelty we filmed this year proves that the slaughter is as cruel
and inhumane it has always been," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of HSI
Canada. "We filmed seals being shot repeatedly in open water, seals cut open
as they appeared to respond to pain, injured seals left to suffer on the ice,
and wounded seals allowed to escape beneath the water's surface where they
endure a slow and painful death. It's time the Canadian government ends this
cruelty by buying back the sealing licenses."

    Veterinary experts have repeatedly concluded Canada's commercial seal
hunt is inherently inhumane because of the environmental conditions in which
it operates and the speed at which the killing must be conducted.

    "Despite its best efforts, the Canadian government simply cannot regulate
a commercial activity that is carried out in such dangerous conditions in such
a short time frame," said Senator Harb. "The derby style of the commercial
hunt means it will never be humane, and given the economic realities of the
cost of the hunt and the lack of markets for luxury seal fur, it will never be
profitable either. I have witnessed with my own eyes the dangerous conditions
and the shocking brutality of the hunt. The majority of Canadians want the
commercial seal hunt stopped for good."

    Overwhelming opposition to commercial seal slaughter has led many
countries around the world to end their trade in seal products. Pelt prices in
Canada have plummeted this year to $15 CAD because of the lack of demand -- a
decline of 86 percent since 2006. Despite substantial government subsidies,
sealing contributes less than one half of one percent of the Gross Domestic
Product of Newfoundland and Labrador, and less than 2 percent of the landed
value of Newfoundland's fishery. Sealers are commercial fishermen who earn, on
average, well under 5 percent of their annual incomes from killing seals.

    Video is available for media to download.

    Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal
protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across
the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and
habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare.
HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International--one of the
largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than ten
million members and constituents globally--on the web at


For further information:

For further information: Camille Labchuk, +1-613-252-4570,, or Heather Sullivan, +1-301-548-7778,, both of Humane Society International/Canada Web

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