The Seal Industry is on it's Way Out

Supporters aim to clear up misinformation in the industry, store owner says Supporters of the province's seal industry are working to promote awareness of the industry's sustainability through new initiatives this month. The Natural Boutique, a store selling sealskin and fur products in downtown St. John's, partnered with Sharing the Harvest, a newly formed community group that distributes local moose and caribou meat to local food banks, to give away seal flippers to customers over the weekend. Kerry Shears, co-owner of the boutique, called the giveaway an "anti-protest" against people who have previously protested the seal hunt in front of his store. Read more

'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

Seal Products

This year’s seal slaughter begins. This article is loaded with the typical propaganda and misinformation.

Canada’s annual seal hunt began last week, much to the dismay of, among others, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Chefs for Seals – the organization’s anti-sealing campaign – has, for eight years, promoted a boycott against all Canadian fish and seafood products as a means of pressuring Ottawa to impose a ban on commercial sealing.

The campaign’s Facebook page states that, “More than 6,000 restaurants and grocery stores (in addition to 800,000 individuals) have joined the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. They are making it clear that the Canadian annual commercial seal hunt is an unacceptable business practice undertaken by Canada’s fishing industry.

Why, though, is commercial sealing an unacceptable business practice?

Seals aren’t endangered. Indeed, the threat status for harp seals – determined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – is “least concern” and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), in a 2011 report on the status of Northwest Atlantic harp seals, indicates that, “The current population is at its highest level seen in the 60 year time series.”

For instance, an estimated eight million harp seals inhabit Newfoundland’s eastern coast, 400% higher than the DFO’s 1950 estimate. Furthermore, sealers harvested an average of 65.14% of the annual total allowable catch between 1971 and 2013 (though the HSUS claims otherwise). The commercial seal hunt is not, therefore, a conservation issue.

On the contrary, the Northwest Atlantic harp seal’s predatory nature necessitates population control measures that mitigate its ecological impact. For instance, harp seals consume tenfold Canada’s annual seafood export and are a major impediment to regenerating Newfoundland’s vulnerable fish population. Employing the commercial seal hunt to cull Newfoundland’s seal population is, consequently, justifiable considering its predaciousness and explosive growth rates.

Similarly, the European Union – despite its charlatan opposition to the Canadian seal harvest – permits seal culling to protect its fish stocks.

As a result, adversaries of the commercial seal hunt justify their opposition on moral grounds – an appeal to emotion instead of reason.

The ethicality of seal hunting, however, compares with (if not exceeds) other methods of animal slaughter. Unlike cows and pigs, for instance, seals are free-range animals liberated from the vices of factory farming. Furthermore, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the World Wildlife Fund consider the hakapik – a club used by seal hunters (with the exception of the Inuit, who use harpoons) – to be a humane method of slaughter. Not to mention that it is illegal to slaughter newborn seals, despite the stubborn use of imagery suggesting otherwise.

Nevertheless, the Chefs for Seals campaign vows to promote the senseless boycott of Canadian fish and seafood products until the federal government imposes a ban on commercial seal hunting: “Canada’s sealers make much more money from exporting seafood to the United States than they do from killing seal pups, and this gives us a lever.”

That “lever” reprimands an entire industry for the supposed wrongdoings of a select group of individuals accused of neglecting Canadian rules and regulations. Anyone who violates Canada’s laws and regulations regarding the humane culling of seals, and engages in unethical hunting practices, undoubtedly merits opprobrium. Scapegoating hardworking Canadians, though, is absurd (especially considering the environmental and ethical inconsistencies of HSUS’s campaign).

Ultimately, however, consumer preference outweighs any argument for or against harvesting seals – a cold reality for Canadian industry, which must defend itself against HSUS’s outlandish campaign. The facts above make a good place to start.

National Post
Source: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/11/28/shaun-fantauzzo-in-defence-of-the-seal-hunt/

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg

Court upholds EU ban on importing products from seal hunts, except from Inuit communities

A court says the European Union’s ban on importing products from seal hunts can stand, despite a challenge by manufacturers and traders.

EU law authorizes the marketing of seal products resulting only from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit communities for subsistence.

The General Court of the European Union ruled Thursday that, as different member countries were enacting their own regulations, EU-wide action was needed to preserve the single market.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, said animal rights activists are “thrilled that the European General Court has rejected this shameful attempt by the commercial sealing industry to overturn the EU ban on seal product trade.”

The ruling can be appealed to a higher court.

FoxNews.com
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/04/25/court-upholds-eu-ban-on-importing-products-from-seal-hunts-except-from-inuit/#ixzz2RjApl0VX

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg

FriendsForSeals.org applauds Taiwan’s decision to ban import and export or sale of seal and other marine mammal products. As with the EU, Taiwan still allows trading by foreign aboriginal people

The China Post reported the ban on its website. It was passed by Taiwan’s legislative yuan as changes to its Wildlife Conservation Act covers marine mammals like seals, sea lions, sea otters, manatees and sea elephants, which are also known as elephant seals.

Taiwan had become the third-largest Asian consumer and the fourth in the world in terms of the consumption of marine mammals and their products, the newspaper reported.

Cape Breton sealer Robert Courtney saw the ban as more bad news for the industry, but it was hailed by the Humane Society International/Canada’s executive director Rebecca Aldworth.

“It is going to create more problems,” Courtney said.

“Hopefully it can pick up somewhere else and get through it.”

Courtney said seal products from Cape Breton hunters went to buyers in Newfoundland and some likely ended up in Taiwan.

He described the seal hunt as one of the most humane harvests of any animal in the country.

Aldworth said in a release the compassionate actions of the Taiwanese legislature will save countless seals and other marine mammals from “a horrible fate.”

Click here to read the full Cape Breton Post article.

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg

Boycotts and closed borders have radically cut international demand for seal products.

The seal hunt is underway in the northern area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, although fishermen with larger vessels says markets are too small to justify the expense of even heading out.

So far, the vessels heading out from Newfoundland’s west coast are smaller members of the local fleet.
Vernon Lavers on the seal hunt: ‘It’s in your blood.’ (CBC )
“For us to be at it, we got to have better markets than what it is,” said Dwight Spence, a veteran Port au Choix fisherman who operates a 65-foot vessel. Spence said he would need to be able to take in at least 2,000 pelts to make a profit.

By contrast, Vernon Lavers, who has headed out to the Gulf for a week aboard his 35-footer with a crew of three, said he needs to take in just 500 seals to make the trip worthwhile.

“It’s like anything — it’s a gamble, I suppose,” Lavers said.

“You got to take a chance on it, and hopefully it works out for the best.”

Boycotts and closed borders have radically cut international demand for seal products.

Lavers said the seal hunt remains a vocation, though, and a way to earn cash while gearing up for primary fisheries.

“It’s in your blood,” he told CBC News. “It’s a chance for a little bit of income for us while we’re waiting for other fisheries to start.”

Click here for full story

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg

Government provides $3.6 million loan to sealing industry

The provincial government announced today a $3.6-million loan to the sealing industry.

Fisheries Minister Darin King, flanked by representatives of the sealing industry, made the announcement in St. John’s and said the money is to be used to buy raw seal material.

King framed the announcement as a short-term measure to get the sealing industry through a tight few years.

“Through today’s announcement, our government is providing financial support for the seal processing industry in order to protect the future viability of the province’s seal hunt,” King said. “Securing new market access is extremely important if all stakeholders are to collectively revitalize the sealing industry. Today’s commitment by the Provincial Government of $3.6 million will ensure adequate raw material is available to Carino to address market demands as they arise, and will ensure hundreds of harvesters secure an income this year.”

This initiative will see an inventory loan provided to Carino to a maximum of $3.6 million for the purchase of seal pelts and blubber or fat. The company will show its commitment to the future of the industry by making a matching contribution for processing/marketing activities.

“Seal products harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts of Atlantic Canada provide significant economic benefit to the region, as well as other parts of the world,” said Dion Dakins, Chief Executive Officer of Carino. “Uncertainty around market access and political risk has made it increasingly difficult for companies trading in seal products to secure financing from traditional sources. Therefore, the support of the Provincial Government is essential to secure our future in Newfoundland and Labrador. This industry can continue to make a significant contribution to the economy once the external political issues are resolved over the next year or so. We are confident this will occur.”

Click here for full story

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg