At noon on Saturday, March 19, 2011, concerned Comox Valley residents will demonstrate their opposition to Canada’s annual east coast commercial seal hunt in downtown Courtenay. The demonstrators will gather at noon at the corner of Cliffe and the 17th Street bridge to remind people to make their voices heard by writing or calling the offices of elected officials. They will be standing in solidarity with Canadians of conscience also protesting in Nanaimo on Saturday, and those in other British Columbia communities and across the country gathering throughout the month to demand an end to the imminent slaughter.
“We think the government should implement a one-time license buyout and retraining for sealers”, says Denman Island activist Fireweed, founder of Citizen Support for Marine Mammal Protection. “At least half of the sealers who shared their opinion in an Ipson Reid poll were in favour of a buyout, so instead of stalling the government should be helping now by investing in economic alternatives.”
“We want the federal government to stop wasting our tax dollars trying to overturn the European Union trade ban that has justly rejected Canadian seal products, and to stop trying to dump these products on China,” says regional wildlife advocate, Michael Nestor. “The writing is on the wall”, adds Nestor. “More than 40 Chinese organizations urged Canadian Fisheries Minister Gail Shea and sealing industry representatives to leave China during a visit to promote seal fur and other products to the Chinese people earlier this year.”
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China has accepted two legislative proposals to ban Canadian seal product imports to China. A press release states that the proposed resolutions are a blow to the Harper government’s insistence that China promises to be a lucrative market for Canadian seal products.
“The BC SPCA and Humane Societies across the country and around the world are opposed to the hunt on grounds that it is inherently inhumane,” says Fireweed. “Trying to kill a moving animal with either the blunt force of a hakapik or a gunshot out on the slippery ice floes is a recipe for horrific suffering that has been documented over and over again by seal hunt observers.”