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4.15.2011

right now, seals are being slaughtered

With everything that's been going on in the world, in Canada, and with me personally, I've neglected to post about something I usually touch on every year. On the ice off Newfoundland, seals are being slaughtered for their fur right now. It's called a hunt, but it's really an outdoor abattoir.

The excuses just don't add up anymore. The ice is melting; pregnant seals are having trouble finding places to give birth. The bottom has dropped out of the world market for seal fur. The EU has banned trade in seal products. But Canada is still subsidizing the slaughter. Indeed, the Harper government increased the legal kill limit by 80,000 seals.

There is an alternative. Many environmental groups are calling for a federal buyout of the sealing industry: pay a fair price for sealers' licenses and invest in economic alternatives for the communities involved. Polls have shown that a good half of Newfoundland sealers support this plan.

You can show your support for an end to commercial sealing by clicking here and signing a letter through the Humane Society International Canada.

Last year, the European Union implemented a historic ban on trade in seal products. This removed one of the biggest market for Canada's sealing industry, and likely saved thousands of seals.

It's no surprise that the Harper government tried to reverse the ban. The challenge to the EU ban would cost millions, even though the overwhelming majority of Canadians oppose the seal slaughter. Click here to add your voice to the call for Canada to drop the challenge to the seal trade ban.

I realize it's difficult to focus on this in the middle of the federal election. But the slaughter hasn't stopped. Your click adds one more voice to the growing chorus demanding an end to the seal slaughter.

And please, let's not argue about cultural traditions. Slavery was a cultural tradition. So was child labour. The government condemns "barbaric cultural practices" attributed to certain immigrant groups. Here's a barbaric cultural practice if ever I saw one: smashing the skulls of newborn animals so people can sell their soft, warm fur.

Senator Mac Harb is the first elected official in Canada to propose a law banning the seal slaughter. The Harb Seal Bill and the Senator's tireless public support has been a significant turning point for this movement. Here's an email update from Senator Harb, and below, a video from when he first tabled the bill.
I have recently tabled a Notice of Motion directing the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to find specific ways to help support Canada’s Inuit and aboriginal hunters affected by the European Union ban on commercial seal products. I am pleased to report that the motion was seconded by Senator Charlie Watt, who represents Northern Quebec in the Senate. Senator Watt also sits on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Along with looking at ways to help these Canadians take advantage of their unique exemption as subsistence hunters, I believe that this motion will compel the government to move past its futile efforts to challenge the EU ban on commercial seal products at the World Trade Organization. As we know, this challenge will take several years, will cost millions of dollars and is unlikely to overturn the carefully drafted EU ban.

Senator Watt and I will need the support of our colleagues in the Senate to ensure the motion passes and this issue is studied at the Committee. I would therefore encourage you to contact the members of the Senate, by email or letter using the link and address below, urging them to support Canada’s Inuit and aboriginal communities by voting in favour of the motion.

Canadians living in Canada’s Northern and Atlantic communities expect and deserve a proactive, viable strategy from their government as the commercial seal hunt comes to an end once and for all. I thank you for your interest and contribution to achieving this goal.

Sincerely,

Senator Mac Harb

List of Senators (English

Mail may be sent postage-free to any Senator at the following address: The Senate of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0A4.


Updates on the Harb Seal Bill can always be found here.

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