SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 24, 2011) - Humane Society International/Canada condemns the government of Nova Scotia and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for authorizing the slaughter of nearly 2,000 grey seals on Hay Island, a part of the protected Scaterie Island Wilderness Area off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. HSI Canada documented the slaughter.
"Today, in a Nova Scotia nature reserve, terrified baby seals were beaten to death with clubs and sliced open in front of each other," said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. "What we witnessed is a crime against nature. One of the greatest wildlife spectacles on Earth has just been turned into a killing field."
Grey seals were killed in large numbers on Canada's east coast throughout the past two centuries and, by 1949, were thought to have been wiped out in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While the population has begun to recover, fishing-industry lobby groups have repeatedly pressured for a cull of grey seals despite any evidence to suggest such a move is necessary.
The grey seal hunt is only the beginning of the sealing season. Next month, the world's largest slaughter of marine mammals — the Canadian harp seal hunt — will begin, with sealers likely authorized to slaughter hundreds of thousands of defenseless baby seals.
Humane Society International/Canada is calling on the federal government to implement a one time buyout of the commercial sealing industry – a program in which sealers would be compensated for their licenses and funds invested in economic alternatives including ecotourism.
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International—one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than 11 million members and constituents globally—On the Web at www.hsicanada.ca.