Despite millions of dollars in government financing provided to the sealing industry this year, most sealers are not participating in the slaughter. In recent days, only a few dozen sealing vessels have hailed out, down from more than 1,000 in the past. As of April 15, about 25,000 seals have been killed out of a quota of 400,000.Senator Mac Harb, who sponsored the bill that may finally bring an end to this pointless ritual, feels that the seal hunt is in its final years.
While the scale of the slaughter so far has been smaller than in previous years, it was devastating to witness the suffering of the very young pups, who were killed just so their skins could be stockpiled. Just as notable was the impact of climate change on these ice dependent harp seals. Instead of solid pack ice, we found tiny, melting ice floes and only a few thousand pups in regions where there should be hundreds of thousands.
Between closing seal product markets and the melting sea ice, there is no future in commercial sealing. Instead of providing pointless subsidies to an industry that cannot be revived, our government should end the slaughter by affording immediate compensation to sealers in exchange for their sealing licenses and investing in economic alternatives.
The end of the commercial sealing industry is now inevitable. It's time to take the politics out of the debate and simply acknowledge the facts.If you live in Canada, go here to support the Harb Seal Bill.
The Conservative government is ignoring Canadian opposition to the commercial hunt and has turned a deaf ear to the international community and its global boycott of commercial seal hunt products. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have joined the European Union, the United States, Mexico and others who have banned trade in seal products. And despite millions in taxpayer dollars spent by the federal government, markets in China have failed to materialize. The global market for these products has been eliminated.
There now appears to be unstoppable momentum towards the end of the commercial seal hunts around the world. Canada stands virtually alone in its defense of this industry.
Workers in East Coast rural communities need to hear the truth from the government. They do not need to be patronized with handouts and hollow promises that the industry might come back, some day, maybe... The Conservative government should stop wasting taxpayers’ dollars, tell the sealers the truth that the market is dead, and transition these hard-working Canadians into sustainable economic development programs.
This is why I am re-introducing legislation to end the commercial sealing industry in Canada. Formally acknowledging the end of this industry will send a clear message to Canadians that we are working towards a viable future for the workers of this region and it will end the costly and economically damaging challenges currently before the WTO.
I encourage you to contact members of the Senate of Canada and call on them to support my bill to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada.
For the latest updates, please follow me on twitter at: @mharb20. Your efforts are making a difference and I thank you for your encouragement and support.
No matter where you live, if you oppose the seal slaughter, go here to take action. There are links for people outside of Canada to send messages to the Canadian Senate, and ideas for other actions.