U.S. Markets closed

HIS/Canada: Massive Seal Hunt Subsidy is Shameful

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Apr 8, 2015) - The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced that it will provide a further $2 million bailout to Carino Company Ltd. and PhocaLux International Inc. to prop up the dying sealing industry. Humane Society International/Canada Executive Director Rebecca Aldworth issued the following statement in response:

"Yet again, seal processors are relying on government handouts to continue their bloody business. Because of the inherent animal welfare and conservation problems associated with commercial sealing, global markets for seal products are closing fast, with more than 35 countries now prohibiting trade in products of commercial seal hunts. Moreover, despite multi-decade efforts by the commercial sealing industry and Canadian government to market seal products in Asia, China continues to block imports of seal meat.

"There is no future in commercial sealing, yet both the federal and provincial governments are sinking tax dollars into this senseless slaughter. In the past four years alone, more than $9 million in government funding has been made available to seal processors in Newfoundland, despite the clear lack of markets for these products. It is shameful that these funds are being provided to an industry that employs only a few hundred people on a part time basis, even as thousands of critical public service jobs are eliminated in Atlantic Canada.

"Instead of continuing to prop up this outdated slaughter, our governments should invest in a one-time buyout of the commercial sealing industry. Such a plan would involve the federal government ending the commercial seal hunt, providing compensation to sealers and investing in economic alternatives. Polling suggests there is broad support for such an initiative within the Canadian public and in the sealing community."


  • The United States, the 28-nation European Union, the Customs Union of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia; Mexico, Switzerland and Taiwan have all prohibited trade in some or all products of commercial seal hunts. Each ban contains a clear exemption for products of traditional aboriginal hunts.
  • Humane Society International does not oppose Inuit subsistence sealing. We are campaigning to end the industrial scale, commercial slaughter of baby seals for their fur in Atlantic Canada.
  • In the past two years, the World Trade Organization has twice upheld the right of the European Union to prohibit trade in products of commercial seal hunts, while the European General Court has rejected multiple legal challenges to the ban.
  • Government reports confirm that 98 percent of the seals killed in the Canadian commercial seal slaughter are pups less than three months of age. The Canadian government states that sealers target young seals because the skins of the pups are most valuable.
  • Leading veterinary experts have stated that Canada's commercial seal hunt is inherently inhumane because of the remote, harsh environment in which it occurs and the speed at which the killing is conducted for commercial and safety reasons.
  • Climate change is fast destroying the sea ice habitat of the ice breeding harp seals that are the primary targets of the commercial seal hunt. The Canadian government has estimated up to 100 percent mortality in seal pups born in key whelping areas when the sea ice melted too soon in the season.

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International-one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than eleven million members and constituents globally-on the Web at hsicanada.ca.