Europe: EU Takes Action in Defence of Seals – 2 Reports of Events of 05/05/09

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There’s been a huge victory for seals today! Thanks to the tireless efforts of members and supporters, PETA has scored a major victory for baby seals who have their heads bashed in or are shot for their skins in Canada’s annual massacre on ice.

Following our campaign, in which compassionate members and supporters sent more than 100,000 letters and emails to their Members of European Parliament (MEP) urging them to vote for a ban in the EU on seal fur products from Canada, the MEPs have voted in favour of seals, recognizing that these “hunts” can never be humane. The ban sends a resounding message to the Canadian government that this bloody massacre must stop once and for all and that the world will not stand by as baby seals are bludgeoned to death in front of their wailing mothers for a product that no one needs.

The world is demanding an end to the slaughter. But the massacre is not over, and seals still need your help.

All eyes are on Canada as it prepares to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. Now is the time to demand that the Canadian government hear the worldwide call to stop this bloody massacre of seals.

For people who have not taken action: Please seize this opportunity to urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper to use his clout to help stop the slaughter. 

For all you’ve already done – and will do – to help with this historic campaign, thank you.

Kind regards,

Ingrid E Newkirk



Today is a day to celebrate. The European Union has slammed shut the door on trade in the products of the commercial seal slaughter.

The Canadian government used every trick in the book to try to derail the ban: massive lobbying, misinformation, and even threats of trade reprisals. But the EU stood its ground and honored its citizens’ opposition to this trade in cruelty. By doing so, the EU has saved millions of seals from a horrible fate.

Every year, the ProtectSeals team has endured hazardous conditions to document the seal hunt. We are committed to showing the world that the Canadian government is lying when it claims that the hunt is humane.

On our trips to the ice, the ProtectSeals team has brought key opinion shapers such as Paul McCartney and Swedish Member of the European Parliament Carl Schlyter. After their trips, neither has wavered in speaking out against the hunt. Shortly after his trip to the ice, Schlyter drafted the first version of today’s EU ban. Our hunt footage was directly responsible for convincing the rest of the EU to agree to the ban. It gives me enormous satisfaction to know that we haven’t just documented the hunt, we have made history.

What Does It Mean?

This is the beginning of the end for the Canadian seal hunt. The Canadian government estimates that losing this primary market will cost Canada’s sealing industry $6.6 million (CAD) each year. The hunt brought in less than $7 million last year. It’s not hard to do the math.

Just the promise of an EU ban was enough to drive the prices for seal fur down to $15 (CAD) per skin — a decline of 86 percent since 2006. As a result, many sealers stayed home. Out of this year’s quota of 280,000 harp seals, fewer than 60,000 have been killed so far.

Now that the EU has banned its trade in seal products, countless more seals will live their lives in peace from this year forward.

What’s Next?

Canadian seal hunt supporters won’t give up just yet. With government subsidies still in hand, the sealing industry will be chasing down new markets. The ProtectSeals campaign is working to convince all targeted nations to follow the EU’s example.

We’re keeping the pressure on the Canadian fishing industry and government with the global boycott of Canadian seafood products. Since the boycott began, the Canadian fishing industry has suffered a $750 million (CAD) drop in the value of snow crab exports alone to the United States.

Canadian Senator Mac Harb has introduced his nation’s first bill to end the hunt. The ProtectSeals campaign is striving to convince other members of Canada’s Parliament to support the bill.

Yes, there is still much to do — and if you’d like to help, please visit to learn how.

But for the moment, please join me in celebrating this historic victory. Thank you for fighting alongside me to make this day possible. The seals could not ask for stronger allies.


Rebecca Aldworth
Director of Canadian Wildlife Issues
The Humane Society of the United States