Grey seal slaughter not based on science

Media Release, October 24, 2012

OTTAWA -- Sierra Club Canada is appalled the Senate is recommending a massive grey seal slaughter on Canada’s east coast despite testimony from independent scientists that a slaughter could damage ocean ecosystems.

Bowing to the east coast fishing and sealing lobby, the Senate’s fisheries committee wants tens of thousands of grey seals killed, supposedly to enable a come back for the cod fishery, virtually extinguished after decades of government mismanagement and industry greed. But even the federal Department of Fisheries admitted, in a 2011 study, that there is no scientific evidence showing slaughters are effective in bringing back depleted fish stocks.

“This is nothing more than a subsidy for a dead industry,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.  “No grey seals were killed this year and only 200 pelts were sold in 2011. The markets are gone because people no longer support seal slaughters.”

Taxpayers will foot the bill for the grey seal slaughter, estimated by some groups to be as much as $35 million or more.

“It’s a make-work scheme,” said Bennett. “But the money could be put to better use by buying out sealing licenses and creating sustainable employment for the sealers that isn’t based on animal cruelty and destroying the environment.”

Seals would be killed by shooting them in the open water where the likelihood of the animals cruelly perishing from their injuries, rather than being killed instantly, is high.

Bennett said that seals, fish and other wildlife existed in abundance and balance for millions of years until human interference severely disrupted ocean ecosystems.

“Like blaming wolves for the decline of Woodland Caribou populations, blaming seals for the decline of commercial cod stocks is, again, a convenient way for government to deflect attention from the real causes,” said Bennett. “Greed, government mismanagement, ocean pollution and climate change have all contributed to the overall destruction of the marine environment and the collapse of commercial fish stocks. Continuing to ravage Nature is not the solution.”

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For More Information

John Bennett
Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
613-291-6888
Executive.Director@sierraclub.ca

 

            

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