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Humane Society International/Canada Condemns Massive Newfoundland Government Subsidy to Sealing Company

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Mar 27, 2013) - Humane Society International/Canada Executive Director Rebecca Aldworth issued the following statement in response to an announcement by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that a $3.6 million loan will be provided to Carino Company Ltd. to bail out the dying sealing industry:

"Instead of providing financing to a doomed industry, our governments, both provincial and federal, should be pursuing a one-time buyout of the commercial sealing industry. That plan would put more money into the pockets of Canadian fishermen than the seal hunt ever could, and it would be a just and graceful way to remove the international stigma of being one of the last nations in the world to support commercial sealing.

"Because of the inherent animal welfare and conservation problems associated with commercial sealing, the two largest economies in the world--the United States and the 27-nation European Union--have closed their borders to seal products, along with Belarus, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Taiwan. Despite consistent government and industry efforts to develop seal product markets in China since the 1980s, those markets have failed to materialize.

"Last year, despite the lack of markets for seal products, the seal slaughter was kept alive through artificial life support in the form of a $2 million subsidy from the Newfoundland government to Carino Company Ltd.

"At the time, Carino pledged to repay the entire loan by Christmas, but then repaid only half of the debt. Despite this, the Newfoundland government has announced even more subsidies to Carino.

"The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador tabled a $7.6-billion budget earlier this week, which cuts 1,200 public sector jobs and shows the Province facing a deficit of $563.8 million. It is reprehensible that the provincial government is continuing to sink tax dollars into the economic sink hole of the sealing industry, while eliminating important jobs and services. Every dollar that the Newfoundland government sinks into the economic black hole of the sealing industry is lost for deserving businesses that can show real economic returns."

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its partners, constitutes one of the world's largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide - on the Web at hsicanada.ca