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Canada Permits 320,000 Seals To Be Slaughtered


Canada Permits 320,000 Seals To Be Slaughtered

By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland.

Scoop Report: Massive protests by animal-rights activists have not stopped the Canadian government from allowing the mass slaughter of Harp Seals. Canada has permitted the killing of 320,000 Harp Seals (phoca groenlandia). The plan has sparked massive protests in Canada by of animal-rights activists.

Canada's two-month-hunt starts on March 29 and takes place on ice floes in the Atlantic where the animals give birth to their babies. The Canadian government described the killing as necessary to keep the number of the animals low.

At the moment there are about five million Harp Seals, three times more than in the 1970ies. The culling will continue until the number of animals has been decimated to 3.85 million. The Canadian government argues that by killing the Seals fishing grounds will be protected and will susptain jobs for the fishing industry.

Conservationists argue that in the past, about 30 million Harp Seals lived in the Arctic region.

Moreover many animals will be skinned while still alive.

This week, opponents of the hunt held rallies in 50 cities around the world and called for a boycott of Canadian fish. Canada’s fish exports profit about three billion Canadian dollars (1.89 billion Euro) yearly. Seal hunting earns “only” 16.5 million Canadian dollars.

Pat Ragan from an U.S. animal rights organization told Reuters: “I think, this time they are really feeling the pressure.” The campaign would also target restaurant franchises like “Red Lobster”, she added.

Canada's fishing minister, Geoff Regan, accused the animal rights groups of publishing “delusive rhetoric and attention arousing pictures”, which portrayed a “selective, one-sided and often wrong story”. “It’s really a shame, that such a negative light is cast on the Canadian men and women within this industry,” Regan said.

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