HALIFAX – Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea says a trade agreement to sell seal meat in China has been largely thwarted by animal rights activists.
Shea announced the deal in January 2011 in Beijing, saying that gaining access to the world’s most populous country would breathe new life into an industry crippled that year by a new European ban on seal products.
But the Chinese government later said it had called for a review of the deal, which has remained stalled ever since.
Shea is now blaming the animal rights movement for pressuring the Chinese government to back away from the deal over concerns the Canadian seal hunt is inhumane.
She says those opposed to the sealing industry have succeeded in spreading misinformation about the slaughter of seal pups, a practice that was banned in the 1980s.
The annual East Coast hunt started Monday amid heavy ice conditions off the northwest coast of Newfoundland.