Oh Canada...

Land of freedom, fairness, decency, subsidized slaughter?

Dear Canadians, 

Did you know that YOUR TAX DOLLARS are used to skin animals ALIVE?

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) unveiled a major media campaign to help stop Canada's commercial seal hunt. Although most people believe the hunt for "baby seals" ended in the 1980s, Canada is now killing more seals than it has in nearly 30 years. The Canadian government is paying hunters multi-million dollar subsidies to kill harp and hooded seals.

IFAW directors from the U.S. and Canada briefed reporters on efforts in both countries to stop the renewed slaughter of seal pups in Canada. IFAW released the results of its national poll of American attitudes and awareness of Canada's commercial seal hunt -- and previewed their new television commercials and print ads. This represents one of the largest campaigns ever launched by an animal protection organization.

The television ads, with heaviest concentrations in Boston, New England and Washington, D.C., began on October 22, 1997...The commercials will also run nationally on the Discovery and Animal Planet cable networks. The print buy includes 2 ads in the national edition of the New York Times.

"The U.S. campaign follows on the heels of the formation of Canadians Against the Commercial Seal Hunt (CATCSH) in Toronto on Oct. 9," said IFAW- U.S. Director Tom Moliterno. CATCSH is a group of high profile Canadians including actor William Shatner, film director Norman Jewison and Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient who joined together to publicly declare their opposition to the commercial seal hunt.

"As a Canadian, I think the commercial seal hunt sends the wrong image of our country. To slaughter those baby seals in what is supposed to be an enlightened age is totally inexcusable," declared Shatner.

"Canadians are deeply troubled by the evidence of widespread cruelty in the commercial seal hunt," stated IFAW-Canada Director Rick Smith. "This is the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world. CATCSH also released a new independent analysis of the sealing industry which concluded that the commercial seal hunt brings no net economic benefit to Canada," said Smith.

Results of the nationwide poll revealed at least 8 out of 10 New Englanders oppose Canada's commercial seal hunt. "When Americans learn a few details -- for instance that over 200,000 harp seal pups were killed last year and that some seals are skinned alive, impaled on metal hooks, clubbed to death with illegal weapons or wounded with gun shots and left to die -- their opposition increases," said Joel Benenson, Vice President of the polling firm of Penn, Schoen, Berland & Associates. "Once aware of these facts, 9 out of 10 Americans oppose the killing," said Benenson.

"IFAW hopes Americans will get involved by signing a petition, writing to the Canadian Ambassador or contacting their own elected officials," said Moliterno. "Canadians and Americans have always shared a deep concern for animals and their environment. Most Canadians want to end this hunt, and so do most Americans -- with 74% saying the U.S. government should take action to stop it," stated Moliterno.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, based in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, is recognized as one of the most effective animal welfare organizations in the world, with over 250,000 supporters in the U.S. and 1.7 million around the globe. One of the organization's primary goals is to protect marine mammals and other wildlife from commercial exploitation. IFAW encourages New Englanders and all Americans to support Canada's effort to stop the commercial seal hunt. They can receive a free campaign information pack (including campaign sticker and petition form) by calling toll free 1-888-201-1111.

SOURCE: International Fund for Animal Welfare

CONTACT: Susan Bennett or Ellen Beard, 703-518-5170, or Julie Burns, 617-367-9929, all for the International Fund for Animal Welfare / CO: International Fund for Animal Welfare, Massachusetts

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