Victoria could be the first Canadian city to publicly decry the seal slaughter on the East Coast. Dave Shishkoff of the international animal advocacy organization Friends of Animals is calling on Victoria City Council to ban the sale of seal products within the city limits.
“A new approach is needed; clearly the top-down effort over the last four decades hasn’t had an impact on getting Newfoundland or Ottawa to stop the slaughter on East Coast ice,” says Shishkoff. “Perhaps if individual Canadian cities, and eventually whole provinces, ban seal products, Ottawa will finally get the message that the Canadian public wants to see an end to this bloodbath. Let’s begin with Victoria, a city traditionally active against the seal kill.”
Friends of Animals was one of the first groups to oppose the seal slaughter in the late 1960’s and has continued as a vocal opponent over the decades. The United States banned seal products in the 1970’s, followed by Mexico, and now Europe has banned the import of seal products as well. The only marketable product from the seal slaughter is seal fur and seal oil in the form of capsules, neither of which have any popularity nor market demand in Victoria or wider Canada. Internationally, the demand for seal fur has dwindled.
“It’s a senseless practice and sensible folk are left wondering why it continues,” Shishkoff says. “Very little money can be made, as seal pelts are at all-time low prices, and fuel costs are at highs. For Newfoundland and Ottawa to expect individuals to risk their lives and rely on this for income is nearly as cruel as the practice itself. Friends of Animals maintains that long-lasting and fulfilling jobs need to be provided, and that throwing people to the ice to kill helpless animals is a unacceptable by their government’s representatives.”
Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, describes the seal slaughter: “It was one of the most gruesome spectacles I have ever witnessed. Utterly horrifying to watch fur seals as their skulls were bashed in. I feel sick this time every year, knowing what’s about to happen.”
The seal slaughter is now underway. Friends of Animals is calling on the animal-loving population and the city councilors of Victoria to speak up and end any support or involvement in the east coast seal slaughter. This can be accomplished through banning products from the killing. Nanaimo City Council should follow Victoria’s lead.