Canada's TAC increased for Hunting Harp Seals
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Canada's TAC increased for Hunting Harp Seals

by Anai Rhoads Ford
March 2006 - Unphased by international outrage and protests, Canada plows ahead with its annual seal hunt.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans' Minister Loyola Hearn, who represents the Newfoundland and Labrador riding of St. John's South-Mount Pearl, released a one-year Total Allowable Catch (TAC) that will allow 335,000 seals to be killed this year, up by 5,000 from last year. This TAC will be the highest quota for killing harp seal pups in its history.

"Unbelievable; with all of the risks already facing the harp seal population this year, the federal government has chosen to issue such a ridiculously high quota and allow this unsustainable, unacceptably cruel, so-called hunt to continue," said Olivier Bonnet, IFAW Canada director.

Despite official details on how the harp seals are hunted (over 90 percent are shot, but some hunters still employ a hakapik to crush the seal's skull) Hearn defends the hunt by saying, "The image of sealers killing white-coated baby seal pups is a tempting one, one that the anti-seal activists cultivate widely."

According to the most recent polls in Canada, 69 percent of its citizens strongly oppose the annual seal hunt. Unfortunately, Canadians are forced to pay for it through ongoing government subsidies, despite opposition by 77 percent.

It is illegal to hunt a baby harp seal while it still has a white coat, but images have been captured time and time again of hunters brutally attacking seal pups as young as a day old.

Over a million harp seals and their pups have been slaughtered in the last 3 hunting seasons in Canada.

2006 Anai Rhoads Ford. Reproduction must be authorised in writing by author only. Altering, redistributing, or selling this material is strictly prohibited.

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