'Game over' for Norway’s seal hunt

Norway’s northern city of Tromsø used to be a major port for Norway’s controversial seal hunters, but they’ve now faded into the history books. For the first time in several hundred years, not a single Norwegian boat is heading out to hunt seals this season, and proponents of the hunt now blame climate change. “It’s over. Game over. The ice has shrunk,” Norway’s last seal hunter, Bjørne Kvernmo, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Friday. Kvernmo, skipper of the seal-hunting boat Havsel, was active in the hunt for more than 40 years. Now he says there have been “drastic changes” in the sea ice where seals congregated, and where hunters slaughtered them for their furs and meat. “Last year there was damn little ice,” Kvernmo told DN. “We found hardly any seals. It was a wasted trip, a huge downturn.” He lamented Read more

Feds put up $5.7 million to market seal products

The federal government is putting $5.7 million toward marketing the sealing industry, despite the hunt grinding to a halt. The money, announced in the 2015 federal budget, will be dedicated to opening up new products and markets for the sealing industry. The quota for the 2015 hunt is 400,000 seals, but in 2014 there were only 60,000 seals harvested. The last seal pelt processor, Carino Processing of South Dildo, N.L., was subsidized by the provincial government to buy pelts. Carino announced this year it will not buy seal pelts or fat this year, leaving a $1-million provincial loan on the table. That leaves the industry effectively dead. Anti-sealing groups no longer bother to fly to Newfoundland and Labrador to monitor the seal hunt. But the government is hoping the $5.7-million investment over five years can open up new markets, particularly in Europe. That may seem an Read more

Carino not buying seals this year

CEO calls decision 'short term pain for long term gain'; says market access key for future Carino Processing will not be buying seal pelts or fat this year, but company CEO Dion Dakins says the decision is geared to improve the industry's and the company's viability in the years ahead. Dakins said the company has inventory from previous hunts on hand. New player in this year's seal hunt promising to shake things up However, he said they will be purchasing a limited amount of seal meat from harvesters who are participating. As a result of the decision, Dakins said Carino has also decided not to access any of the $1 million loan announced last week by the provincial government. "At this point we just want to focus our efforts on the sale of our existing inventory," Dakins told CBC's Fisheries Broadcast. "It just falls into Read more

Canada Seal Hunt - Newfoundland And Labrador Opens Annual Hunt On Sunday

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The annual seal hunt off Newfoundland and Labrador will open Sunday. The federal Fisheries Department says sealers on the Front off northeastern Newfoundland and southern Labrador, as well as those based in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, can take to the water at 6 a.m. Fisheries says seal harvesters should check with their buyers to make sure there is a market for the seals before they head out. The department is also advising fishermen that they must do humane harvesting training before taking part in this year's hunt. The start of the season comes days after the Newfoundland and Labrador government contributed $2 million to two different processing plants to support the provincial sealing sector. An animal rights group condemned the financial aid, arguing the government is propping up a dying and inhumane industry. The Canadian Press Source: Read more

Swedish seal culls hit by new EU trading rules

The rules for selling seal products have been tightened. An exemption allowing the trade of products made from seals culled as part of wildlife management has been revoked by the EU, which could affect seal trade in Sweden. The EU commission made the decision after pressure from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which in November 2013 called the exemption discriminatory. Sweden is one of six countries in the world that allows the hunting of seals, though only as part of wildlife management and with permission from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket). Around 300 seals were killed in 2014. The EU decision does not forbid the culling of seals. But rather than selling the fur or the meat, the products must now be destroyed. Swedish MEP Christofer Fjellner, member of the Moderate party, was among those who hit out at the new rules Read more

‘Nail in coffin for Norwegian seal hunting’: Govt cuts subsidies

Norway has cut a 12 million kroner ($1.8 million) subsidy for seal hunting from next year's budget. Environmentalists have applauded the move. Some businesses say it is putting an end to a historical and eco-friendly practice. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries say stripping the seal industry of subsidy has been dictated by "economic priorities." The government is aware of how vital the financial support has been for the business. "Seal hunting businesses are run by 80 percent subsidies," State Secretary Amund Ringdal of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries told the Norwegian news agency NTB. "When they are removed, the consequences will clearly be big. But we cannot say whether it's the final nail in the coffin for Norwegian seal hunting." The opposition has criticized the government for yielding to pressure from the EU. "In reality the government gave in to Read more

Ground-breaking WTO decision puts animal welfare before Free Trade, based on morals.

After spending hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars to fight a ban put in place by the EU, the Canada and Norway governments received its answer from the World Trade Organization that countries can, in fact, ban products they consider to be inhumane. More money is spent on promotion, peddling, and fighting trade bans than the commercial seal hunt, which is performed by off-season, full time fishermen, could ever bring in. Since Canada's government can't prove that Northern economy depends on the seal hunt as they claim, a representative of Inuit was sent to trade ban hearings. This was irrelevant since Inuit are not included in the ban, and clearly the WTO thought so, too. There are still some Inuit who perform substantive hunting, and the EU and Taiwan international markets remain open to them. View the WTO Read more

Kaley Cuoco Latest Celeb To Oppose The Seal Hunt

In what is becoming a familiar refrain, a celebrity took to Twitter to post her thoughts on the Canadian seal hunt, and the "disgusting" practices carried out every year. Kaley Cuoco (who recently added her husband's last name, Sweeting, to her Twitter profile), star of "The Big Bang Theory," began her missives on Twitter on April 15, with this tweet: "@FriendsForSeals: http://t.co/CmkJUJYXOa pic.twitter.com/CDDcgaCiGu #sealhunt video" this is SO disgusting and needs to stop NOW please!— Kaley Cuoco Sweeting (@KaleyCuoco) April 16, 2014 The California native has continued since then, noting her disgust when people have defended the Canadian seal hunt: I'm disgusted hearing the Canadian seal hunt is "humane". It's so "humane" I'm unable 2 post any pics it's so grotesque. My heart breaks— Kaley Cuoco Sweeting (@KaleyCuoco) April 16, 2014 The Humane Society has clarified its position on the seal hunt, making Read more

"Why do some people say seal pups aren't killed?"

When harp seal pups are born, they are known as "white coats". This is the fur popular for non-essential fur items only. When they are about 12 days old, they begin to molt the fuzzy baby fur they were born with. At the thought of defenseless seal pups being killed, public outcry was enormous. But Canada government, still wants that beuatiful white fur, which is gone forever when at approximately 3 months old it's replaced by light gray with dark spots. What to do? Thinking they would appease the world, they decided that "technically" when the fuzz begins to shed (and the pups still have white fur) now being "ragged jackets", they aren't pups anymore. Counting on the public to just believe what they're told, Canada's government continues to declare that seal "pups", "babies", and "white coats" aren't skinned. In reality, and Read more

Gail Shea says animal rights activists stopped seal meat sale to China

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 Read more

Toronto Sun ~ “Canadian seal hunters dealt a blow, Lose bid to cull EU import ban”

Toronto Sun - “Canadian seal hunters dealt a blow, Lose bid to cull EU import ban”

A European Union judge has refused to suspend a ban on commercial seal products, delivering a blow to Canada’s trade.  On Thursday, Judge Marc Jaeger rejected the argument the embargo of seal products would cause severe financial damage to Inuit communities.
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Winnipeg Free Press ~ “Vanishing sea life Canadian Marine EcoSystems”

A multi-year study by the federal government has produced a troubling report card on the health of Canada’s marine environments, with major changes detected in all three oceans.  Vanishing sea species, warming water temperatures and a new wave of contaminants have struck Canada’s marine ecosystems, according to the document from the federal fisheries department.  The 38-page report was released, without fanfare, this summer.
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Truro Daily News-“Time to Mend Some Fences” re: Canada didn’t get open UN Safety Council seat, possible world view on seal massacre

Truro Daily News-“Time to Mend Some Fences” re: Canada didn’t get open UN Safety Council seat, possible world view on seal massacre

There was a time when a Canadian application for membership in the exclusive UN Security Council would have been considered a slam dunk, but considering this country’s poor showing in voting Tuesday for one of those cherished seats it appears as though the federal government has more than a few fences to mend among the international community.
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The Canadian Press ~ “Big Brother watching Twitter for Seal hunt $75,000 tax payer money”

They knew they were going into hostile territory, and it appears they didn’t sway many minds, but federal employees are feeling pretty good about going head-to-head with critics of the seal hunt in online forums, Twitter tweets and the blog of a teenage girl.  The pilot project, which ran last spring, could lead to more cases in which bureaucrats rebut government critics on websites big and small.
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CBC News ~ “Seal Hunt Extended”

The annual seal hunt off Newfoundland and Labrador has been extended until the end of May.  The season was scheduled to end May 15, but in a statement Tuesday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the season had been extended to allow hunters more time to find buyers for pelts.  The department estimates that 60,000 seals have been taken so far this season.
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Retailers in Taiwan stop selling Canadian seal oil products after animal rights campaign

Winnipeg Free Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Two leading retailers in Taiwan say they have stopped selling seal oil products in response to a campaign by animal rights activists to protect Canadian seals.

The Animal Society of Taiwan said Saturday more than 160,000 Taiwanese have signed a petition against using seal oil, which is used as a dietary supplement, after viewing a film about Canadian hunters clubbing the marine mammal to death.

In response, pharmacy retailer Watsons says it is taking seal oil products out of its 230 stores in Taiwan, and Cosmed says it is doing so from its 110 stores.

Despite the campaign, the Taiwan government has refused to ban seal oil imports.
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Los Angeles Times ~ “Seal Hunt Begins, This Time with Higher Quota”

Los Angeles Times - "Seal Hunt Begins, This Time with Higher Quota"

Canada’s annual seal hunt got under way Thursday despite a dwindling market for pelts and other byproducts following a European Union import ban and slumping demand.  Nelson Kalil, manager of communications at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada department, said about 30 to 40 boats are expected to head to Newfoundland and Labrador’s northern tip to participate in this season’s seal hunt, the world’s largest.
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“Encouraging the Commercial Seal Hunt is Keeping Canadian Workers in a Dying Industry”

"Encouraging the Commercial Seal Hunt is Keeping Canadian Workers in a Dying Industry"

Senators and Members of Parliament are once again using public funds to promote the seal hunt and prevent any possible transition from seal hunting to a sustainable industry as expected and desired by the majority of our trading partners.
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Senator Harb RE-Introduces his historical bill S-207; the first Canadian parliamentarian in history to introduce a bill to prohibit the commercial seal hunt.

On March 9, 2010, I re-introduced legislation in the Senate which, by amending The Fisheries Act, will effectively end the commercial seal hunt in Canada while respecting treaty obligations and protecting the rights of Canada’s aboriginal people.
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Examiner.com ~ “Seal Hunt and the Olympic Games”

A protest group from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare brought their message of stopping the Canadian seal hunt into the downtown streets of Vancouver today – to coincide with the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.  Sparky, the PETA 40-foot inflatable seal, made an appearance along with the demonstrators.
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