CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. -- March 29 -- News Advisory:
Rebecca Aldworth is leading a 10-person team of observers from The Humane Society of the United States who are documenting today's killing of thousands of baby seals on the ice floes in Eastern Canada.
Up-to-the-minute reports of the Canadian seal hunt from the ice and nearby Prince Edward Island.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has issued the following statement from Rebecca Aldworth, HSUS director of Canadian wildlife issues:
"Starting at dawn today, boats carrying hundreds of seal hunters converged in the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The baby seals we've watched for the last several days are being killed as Canada's gruesome seal hunt begins again. Over the next few weeks, thousands more seals, totaling over 300,000, will be shot or clubbed to death.
"The hunt is inhumane and cruel. Veterinary studies have shown that humane killing guidelines are not enforced and in many cases seals are skinned while conscious. Each year, parliamentarians, journalists and animal welfare observers report incredible cruelty at the hunt, including dragging conscious seals across the ice with boathooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in agony and skinning seals alive.
"Today's killing levels meet and even exceed those of the 1950's and 60's, when close to two-thirds of the harp seal population was wiped out.
"Together with a powerful alliance of like-minded organization The HSUS is now calling for a boycott of all Canadian seafood. Almost three-quarters of Canadian seafood is exported to the United States each year, contributing $3 billion for the Canadian economy annually. This dwarfs the few million dollars brought in by the seal hunt each year. We believe the Canadian fishing industry will soon see that the price of an international seafood boycott is not worth continuing this cruel commercial seal hunt."
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization. On the web at http://www.hsus.org . For more information on the seal hunt, go to http://www.protectseals.org .
High-resolution photographs and video b-roll available upon request via secure FTP server.