April 9, 2009

Canada’s Annual Seal Hunt Begins Second Stage

The second part of Canada's yearly seal hunt started Wednesday with the killing of 63,500 seals mandated by authorities, even though there remains a lack of interest for their pelts.

The profitable hunt began on Newfoundland province and Quebec's lower north shore, stated fisheries department spokesman Phil Jenkins. However, powerful winds and chilly rain slowed down the hunters, Jenkins noted.

In the first part of the hunt, 19,411 seals were butchered in the south part of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

The largest part of the hunt is slated to begin on April 15 in Newfoundland, with 188,600 seals marked for slaughter in the last chapter, with a total anticipated kill of 338,000 seals.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is pleased about the news of a smaller amount of sealers hunting this year from a "lack of markets for seal fur."

"Of course we are pleased," IFAW researcher Sheryl Fink said. "If market conditions ultimately lead to the demise of this inhumane slaughter, that's fine by us."

The IFAW says that the price of seal skins have decreased to $12 from $81 in 2006.

Jenkins gave no notice to the price drop, calling it "cyclical."

Canada's Fisheries and Oceans department appraised the Canadian seal hunt at six million dollars last year, dropping from 10 million in 2007 and 27 million in 2006.

The seals are normally killed for their pelts, meat and fat, used in beauty goods.

Environmental groups denounced Canada's choice to increase its yearly target for seal hunting to 338,000, 55,000 animals more than last year's total.

The groups cautioned that with an anticipated near future European ban on seal products, the increase is illogical.


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