Monday, May 03, 2004

(Yarmouth Port, Mass. - 3 May 2004) - The U.S. Senate moved one step closer to an official condemnation of Canada's seal hunt when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommended the Levin-Collins Resolution to the full Senate. The resolution, which was introduced in November 2003, urges "the Government of Canada to end the commercial seal hunt... Whereas the persistence of this cruel and needless commercial hunt is inconsistent with the well-earned international reputation of Canada..." 15 senators have already signed on as co-sponsors to the resolution, the next step for the bipartisan resolution will be consideration by the full Senate.

"This move illustrates that the international opposition to the Canadian seal hunt is not a fringe opinion, but a worldwide consensus that ranges from the halls of government to the man on the street," said IFAW President Fred O'Regan. "The issues are the same as they were when IFAW began, 35 years ago, to stop the hunt. Killing baby seals doesn't make sense economically, ecologically or in regard to the humane treatment of animals."

The move by the U.S. Senate parallels similar responses around the world to this year's hunt, the largest in several decades. The Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Italian Parliament recently adopted a resolution to ban the import of sealskins and seal products. All four Dutch political parties support a move by the EU to ban sealskins and Austria's Green Party has brought forward a motion in parliament to consider a ban.

Despite global opposition, Canada's hunt for baby seals continues. Seals as young as 12 days old are killed legally between November 15 and May 15. This year's hunt will continue until the industry reaches its quota of 350,000 seals - the largest in history. So far, 321,199 harp seals have been killed this year.

IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) consistently observes and documents the hunt each year, bringing media and parliamentarians from around the world to witness the cruelty of the slaughter. IFAW has submitted video evidence of more than 660 probable violations of Canada's marine mammal regulations to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). To date, no charges have been placed. These abuses include skinning live seals, dragging live seals across the ice with hooks and shooting seals and leaving them to suffer.

To learn more about how to help seals, visit www.ifaw.org and sign the Million Signatures for a Million Seals Petition.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare) was founded in 1969 to end the Canadian baby seal hunt. Over the next two decades, IFAW won many hard fought victories for seals, including the 1983 European Union ban of whitecoat and blueback sealskins. These aggregate victories almost stopped the baby seal hunt in the 1980s - arguably the most visible and important that has ever occurred in the animal welfare movement. To learn how to help IFAW protect seals, please visit www.ifaw.org ###

For media-related inquiries, contact:
Chris Cutter, IFAW, U.S. Tel: 508-744-2066, Email: ccutter@ifaw.org
Editors: For more information visit www.ifaw.org