A recent Russian trade ban is set to have terminal consequences for the Canadian seal hunt. At last our longest running campaign appears to be over.
Following decades of international pressure from animal welfare groups, celebrities and politicians, for the first time ever, Canadian politicians and media have started talking about whether the seal hunt is over. The catalyst – a recently announced ban on the trade in seal pelts by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan - that we are now able to confirm as authentic, not to mention a decision that the Russians will stand behind in the face of the inevitable Canadian government diplomatic onslaught.
The importance of this ban cannot be overstated. Russia receives 90% of seal skin imports from Canada and was considered the most important partner in the seal product market. In conjunction with Canada's failed attempts to gain entry for seal products into the Chinese market, the prognosis for sealing in 2012 looks bleak indeed.
As a direct result of the ban, Carino, one of the two big Newfoundland seal pelt buyers, cancelled their earlier agreement to buy 100,000 skins this year, putting a huge dent in the prospective profits for this year's seal hunt.
Additionally, industry representatives implicated in the Grey seal hunt are saying that they have been unable to secure buyers for seal products anywhere, making it highly unlikely there will be a grey seal hunt this year. Coupled with Environment Canada's forecast for a poor ice year, which will further complicate the hunt for Harp seals, the Canadian sealing industry appears to be on the ropes.
It is disappointingly seldom that those working in animal welfare are granted the opportunity to pass on positive news to supporters, thus it is with pride and optimism we announce that one of the longest running campaigns to save animals from cruelty, a campaign started by our founder, Brian Davies, appears to be in the home stretch.