Sunday, April 30, 2006

Help Save Our Little Brothers and Sisters

Urgent: Over 230,000 More Seals Will Die

The senseless slaughter of 230,000 seal pups began this week off the coast of Newfoundland.

This second phase of Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt takes place off the remote Front of Newfoundland and Labrador, its cruelty usually safely out of sight from the rest of the world. A competitive, reckless environment known to be extremely difficult to regulate and monitor by government authorities, IFAW is at the Front to show the world the truth about the seal hunt. But I need your help to continue documenting the cruelty we have already witnessed in our first days of helicopter observation.

Where have all the seals gone?
The location of the sealing has moved much further north due to the drifting ice. On our first day of observation we saw 10-12 sealing ships attempting to navigate through the broken chunks of floating ice, trying to find seals to hunt.

Climate change is affecting the ice that harp seals depend on for breeding, nursing and resting. It is unclear if the terrible ice conditions have already taken most of the young seals, or whether the seals are simply too spread out for sealers to find.

Either way, it’s not possible under these conditions for the government to accurately assess the current seal population or the true impact of the hunt. To slaughter over 300,000 seals in the face of uncertain ice conditions that may continue for the foreseeable future is beyond irresponsible.

Already, the first phase of the seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence took more than 16,000 seals over their quota for this year.

Guns or clubs: the suffering remains the same

Rifles are used to kill 90% of the seals on the Front, yet the cruelty continues. Seals are shot, taken onto the boats, skinned, and then tossed back into the ocean.

We have already documented several cases of seals being shot, wounded, and then lost under the ice. We caught one poor seal on film that slipped into the water after it was shot, struggled to stay afloat, and then finally disappeared under the ocean.

You can see the latest hunt video diaries and audio podcasts here.

Five ways you can help stop the seal hunt

It’s not too late to speak out now and add your voice to the growing international pressure against the seal hunt. We’ve made it easier than ever before for you to make a real difference: simply visit our Seal Action Center for five different ways to help.

And if you haven’t done so already, please consider making a contribution to IFAW to help support our efforts on the ice. The costs of documenting the hunt from the remote and dangerous Front are extremely expensive: from helicopter travel to remote video equipment and connectivity, I need
your help to expose the cruelty being inflicted on baby seals to the rest of the world.

Thanks again for your ongoing support,

Fred O’Regan
President and CEO

P.S. You can listen right now to an audio podcast of IFAW Seal Campaigner Regina Flores as she talks about the opening of the Newfoundland phase of the commercial seal hunt, in which over 230,000 seals will be killed over the next few days.

International Fund for Animal Welfare April 14, 2006
PO Box 193 • 411 Main Street Yarmouth Port, MA 02675

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