Subject: Canada seal hunters targeted i (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 15:33:06 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 97 02:52:00 GMT 
Subject: Canada seal hunters targeted i

Canada seal hunters targeted in U.S. ad campaign

    By Michael Ellis
     BOSTON (Reuters) - A lucrative Asian market for seal sexual
organs has reinvigorated the hunt for seals in Canada, an
international environmental group said Tuesday as it unveiled a
U.S. advertising campaign aimed at ending the cull.
     The International Fund for Animal Welfare, based in Cape
Cod, Mass. will spend more than $1 million on a four-week
television and print campaign which claims that seals, mostly
under a year old, are clubbed, skinned alive and sometimes
impaled on hooks.
     "This is by far the largest slaughter of marine mammals in
the world. It's certainly one of the most cruel," Rick Smith,
director of IFAW-Canada, said at a Boston press conference.
     IFAW and other animal rights groups helped pressure the
Canadian government to limit the hunt to about 60,000 seals
annually through the 1980s and early 1990s. French actress
turned activist Brigitte Bardot spoke out and a Barbie doll
stickeralbum also informed children about the hunt.
     But the Canadian Fisheries and Oceans Ministry raised the
annual harvest to about 268,000 harp and hooded seals last year,
the most since the early 1970s, to protect depleted fish stocks
and provide jobs in the most economically depressed region of
the country along the North Atlantic.
     As a result of the growing hunt, animal rights groups have
stepped up their campaign, Smith said.
     Many of the seals are killed only for the male sexual
organs, which are sold as aphrodisiacs in Asia, he said.
     "There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that seals
either caused the depletion of fish stocks or that they impeded
the recovery of fish stocks," Smith said.
     The advertising campaign comes two weeks after the start of
a Canadian campaign that enlisted the help of Canadian
celebrities, including William Shatner, who played Capt. Kirk
of "Star Trek" fame.
     The print ads, showing a bright-eyed baby seal, claim that
some 500,000 seals were killed last winter according to a
Canadian government scientist.
     But Canadian fisheries officials dispute the figure and said
many of the IFAW claims are incorrect.
     Sealing industry representatives say that 97 percent of the
annimals killed during the hunt are shot, while the remainder
are taken with a small club called a hakapik.
     Seal hunters make most of their money from the animal's
pelts, which are tanned and used in clothing, and not from the
sale of male sexual organs, he said.
     "I'm sure our enforcement is probably better than any other
wild animal hunt in North America," Jones said.