OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada
February 22, 2002 (ENS)
In a unanimous judgment, the Supreme Court of Canada today ruled that the federal government has the right to prohibit the commercial killing of newborn harp and hooded seals during Canada's yearly hunt.
Court Upholds Ban of Seal Pup Pelts
By Janice Tibbetts
The Supreme Court of Canada dealt a crucial blow to Newfoundland seal hunters when it upheld the federal government's right to ban the controversial sale of seal pup pelts. The unanimous 9-0 ruling was a defeat for Ford Ward, a seal hunter from La Scie, Nfld. He and 100 other seal hunters must now go to trial on charges they violated federal Marine Mammals Regulations that prohibit the sale and trade of baby seals by selling their pelts. Mr. Ward, supported by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, had stopped the trial in its tracks for more than five years, while he argued before the courts that the federal rules encroach on provincial jurisdiction. Wildlife activist Rick Smith, Canadian director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, lauded the court ruling as "a very important verdict that has very broad implications" because it was a symbolic test of federal jurisdiction over resources. A royal commission on the seal hunt in the mid-1980s found that Canadians found the hunting of young seals morally wrong.
Source: The Animal Spirit
Blood On The Ice
Seal Cull Returns
Hunters are set to defy protests and slaughter 275,000 pups as seal products make a comeback. The world's most notorious bloodbath is about to begin. Next week commercial hunters will start slaughtering more than a quarter of a million seals to supply an international trade in furs and health supplements that will soon target Britain's shops. Sealers are set to defy international protests by clubbing and shooting more animals than they have for decades, leaving the Atlantic sea ice off Newfoundland stained red. After years of being taboo, seal fur is making a comeback. Last year the LOUIS VUITTON collection shown in Paris featured coats, tunics and pinafore dresses made from sealskin. DONATELLA VERSACE recently featured sealskin in her first collection. Helped by Canadian government subsidies, sealers are developing new markets for the by-products of the animal. There are four companies producing seal oil capsules - companies working on a lotion for eczema and psoriasis - meat products - salami, pepperoni and seal sausage - seal leather - seal protein shakes for sports enthusiasts. Dr Rick Smith, the Canadian director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, insisted the hunt should be banned outright: 'It is allowed to operate in a way that is so inhumane, it is shocking. It is clearly an industry from another century, and should have been relegated to the history books.'