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Canadian High Commission To Be Targeted Today

For immediate release

Canadian High Commission to be targeted by animal rights protesters

Local animal rights campaigners are joining an international day of action against the Canadian and Norwegian seal hunts with protests planned in Wellington tomorrow.

Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 at 12.30pm

The Canadian High Commission, 61 Molesworth St, Wellington.

Organised by Wellington Animal Action, Ph 385-6728

WORLDWIDE PROTEST AGAINST THE CANADIAN AND NORWEGIAN SEAL HUNTS: GAASH (GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST SEAL HUNTS) DECLARES AN INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

A newly formed coalition of animal rights and environmental organisations from around the world will join together on March 13th, 2001 in mass protest against the Canadian and Norwegian seal hunts. Demonstrations in at least 13 countries will take place in an international day of protest to show the strength of opposition to the annual seal slaughters. Activists in the following countries will take part in a growing number of protests outside Canadian and Norwegian embassies, consulates, and government offices:

* CANADA
* NORWAY
* U.S.A
* ENGLAND
* SCOTLAND
* IRELAND
* CZECH REPUBLIC
* HOLLAND
* SWEDEN
* SWITZERLAND
* SPAIN
* BELGIUM
* NEW ZEALAND


The Canadian government has announced that this year's quota for harp seals will remain at 275,000 with allowances for 10,000 hooded seals and a few hundred grey seals. The official quota is often surpassed with many more seals killed but not recovered ("struck and lost"). These seals are not included in the "landed" totals.

The annual slaughter that takes place on the ice floes of the Canadian east coast is a brutal display of cruelty against defenceless seals that are being used as a scapegoat for the collapse of the North Atlantic cod fishery. Scientific studies have shown that the Canadian government's mismanagement of the cod fishery was the main factor in its collapse. In fact, commercial cod stocks account for less than 3% of the harp seal's diet. Seals also eat many predators of the commercial cod stocks.

Footage of the hunt consistently shows that the methods of killing are cruel, that there are many violations of the limited regulations that exist and numerous other abuses not addressed by Canadian law. Video evidence has shown just some examples: seals being skinned alive, others that are left writhing in agony for several minutes after being either wounded by gunfire, clubbed, or caught on sharpened steel hooks, and many clubbed to death with illegal weapons.

The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits seal products to be imported into the U.S. and the European Union holds a general opposition to the hunt. In addition, the majority of Canadians strongly oppose the commercial seal hunt.

The Norwegian commercial seal hunt has a 2001 quota of 20,000 harp seals and 10,300 hooded seals. The situation in Norway is very similar to Canada - the seals are being used as a scapegoat for low fish stocks. In addition, the cruel and inaccurate killing methods often leave seals suffering on the ice or dying in the water after being struck. There are also reports from Norwegian sealers that seals have been skinned alive.

People around the world are voicing their opposition to the commercial hunting of seals in Canada and Norway. The growing list of organisations that are participating in the International Day of Action agree that it is time the inhumane and barbaric slaughters are brought to an end.

END.

Contact Details Wellington Animal Action Mobile: 021 158 6554 Office: 04 385 6728


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