Monday, July 27, 2009

European Union Nations Gave Final Approval to a Ban on Importation of Seal Products: Could Force Canada to End its Annual Baby Seal Slaughter

Even if this doesn’t fully end the horrible and brutal Canadian baby seal slaughter, a move such as this, if permanent, will definitely help to lessen the numbers killed each year. This is a great example of getting a strong ban in place via an official body. We can only hope that it holds.

For those who need to be reminded of just how cruel the annual Canadian seal slaughter is, please see our posting at


EU gives final OK to seal product ban

By CONSTANT BRAND, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jul 27, 9:22 am ET

BRUSSELS – European Union nations gave their final approval Monday to a ban on imports of seal products in an effort to force Canada to end its annual seal hunt.

A majority of the EU's 27 member states see the way Canada conducts its hunt, the world's largest, as inhumane.

The EU's foreign ministers said the a ban was being put in place "in response to concerns about the animal welfare aspects of seal hunting practices."

The ministers said in a statement the ban would be implemented in all EU countries over the next nine months and will be in place before the annual seal hunt off Canada's eastern coast.

The ban was approved without debate at a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers, although Denmark and Romania abstained from backing the measure, which Ottawa is protesting as an unfair trade restriction. Austria also abstained because it wanted an even stricter ban.

The measure was already adopted by the European Parliament in May.

The import ban will apply to all products and processed goods derived from seals, including their skins — which are used to make fur coats, bags and adorn clothing — as well as meat, oil blubber, organs and seal oil, which is used in some omega-3 pills.

It will exempt products derived from traditional hunts carried out by Inuit in Canada's Arctic, as well as those from Greenland, Alaska and Russia. However, they can only export products to the EU "on a not-for-profit basis."

Canada appealed Sunday to EU countries not to follow through with the ban.

Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Fisheries Minister Gail Shea appealed to the EU "to reconsider" the trade ban, rejecting European claims that the way the Canadian hunt was conducted was inhumane.

They said in a statement issued in Ottawa that the measure "will serve no purpose other than to damage the livelihood of coastal and northern Canadians and their families." It added that the EU was "misinformed" over Canada's indigenous Inuit community and its traditions.

Canada is pursuing a trade case against the ban at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
Lesley O'Donnell of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said the ban will save the lives of thousands of seals.

"We expect the commercial seal hunt to continue its inevitable decline until it is wiped out once and for all," she said.

Canada's East Coast seal hunt is the largest in the world, killing an average of 300,000 harp seals annually. The EU bill targeted the Canadian hunt because of the size of the annual slaughter and the way seals are killed — either clubbed or shot with rifles. In the past, they also have been killed with spiked clubs, or hakapiks.

One-third of the world's trade in seal products passes through EU countries. Last year, Canada exported seal products — pelts, meat and oils — worth around euro3.5 million ($5 million U.S.) to the EU.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cruel Namibia Once Again Allows Massive Seal & Baby Seal Slaughter: Expected to Club Over 90,000 Seals & 85,000 Pups: Videos Show Horror

Like the Canadian baby seal slaughter, this brutal and violent bloodbath has become an annual event in Namibia -

To see just how cruel and blatantly violent this is, see the following videos. Hard to believe that there are humans out there that can do this; and to do so with such hate. The second video even shows them cutting one open while still alive. Let the videos speak for themselves.


Namibian seal hunt to go on, 90,000 to be clubbed

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By MICHELLE THERIAULT, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jul 6, 11:48 am ET

JOHANNESBURG – Namibia's annual commercial seal hunt will go on despite objections by animal welfare groups, a government official said Monday.

Frans Tsheehama of the Namibian fisheries and marine resources ministry said that the season started on July 1 and will run until Nov. 15.

Hunters are expected to club over 90,000 seals, including 85,000 pups.

The hunt was expected to begin last week, but there was confusion over whether the killings had begun after numerous media reports that a South African-based animal rights activist was in negotiations to halt them.

Namibia is one of only a few remaining countries with a commercial seal harvest. The government argues that the seal population needs to be controlled to protect fish stocks.

However, animal rights activists say the practice is inhumane and outdated.

Seals are hunted for skins, fur and meat, and seal genitals are sold as traditional medicines and aphrodisiacs in Asia.

Activist Francois Hugo of Seal Alert South Africa said last week that he had made a bid to buy out the company that purchases the Namibian seal pelts, effectively halting the hunt.

Hugo said that clubbing an animal to death is cruel, criminal and in defiance of international animal protection laws.

He also challenged the Namibian government's claim that the hunt maintained healthy seal populations, saying that in the past whole colonies had been devastated.

Namibia's seals number about 850,000 and live on a dozen remote, rocky islands off the coast of the sparsely populated southern African country.

The hunt takes place under clandestine circumstances to avoid the glare of publicity — and to avoid upsetting tourists.

The government has said seals consume 900,000 tons of fish each year, more than a third of the fishing industry's catch, and that the cull is needed to protect fisheries. Animal welfare groups counter that most of the seals killed are still-nursing pups.

AJ Cady of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said that the industry is "collapsing" worldwide, citing a recent European Union ban on the import of seal products combined with the global economic downturn. In this year's Canadian harvest, sealers killed less than a third of their quota on weak demand.

"The great question here is who is really buying these things?" Cady said. "The cruelty is so obvious."

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health & Columbia U School of Public Health & 27 Public Health Schools Start Meatless Monday Campaign

The direct link to the website for the Meatless Monday campaign is

The fact that it’s well known and respected schools of public health that are behind this shows that vegetarianism isn’t just an animal rights issue; it is a health issue as well. If you look at the website you’ll clearly see that the goal is to help people increase their level of health. And, quite simply, eating a meatless diet, even one day a week, will increase your level of health. As they state at their site:

“Our goal is to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

“Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.”

Here is an excellent video on the project and about the many people who have decided to pledge to go meatless on Mondays.

So check out the site. It also contains recipes and nutritional facts. The direct link to the website for the Meatless Monday campaign is


Here’s an article about the Meatless Monday Campaign

Meatless Mondays: Do Something Good for the Earth and Your Health

By Kathy Freston, AlterNet. Posted July 6, 2009.

A new campaign is focused on convincing the world not to eat chickens, pigs, and other animals -- just one day per week.

I love a practical solution, especially when it's good all around -- for personal health, the environment, and for living consciously. So when I received an email from Chris Elam, the director of the Meatless Monday campaign -- a project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Columbia University School of Public Health, in association with twenty-seven other public health schools -- I was thrilled.

The campaign is focused on convincing the world not to eat chickens, pigs, and other animals -- just one day per week (on Mondays, as you may have guessed).

Since it's sponsored by a slew of public health schools, the campaign was set up to promote health, and since I've already written extensively about the fact that eating meat leads to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and lethargy (for example here), I'll skip extended analysis of these facts, other than to say: When Johns Hopkins, Columbia, the American Dietetic Association, and dozens of other health organizations argue that the less meat you eat, the better off you'll be, it's worth listening to them.

Chris wrote to share the fact that Michael Pollan had just argued in favor of the campaign on Oprah, saying, "[w]e don't realize it when we sit down to eat, but that is our most profound engagement in the rest of nature... To the extent that we push meat a little bit to the side and move vegetables to the center of our diet, we're also going to be a lot healthier..." I wasn't surprised, since Pollan's most recent book calls on all of us to eat "mostly plants," and his new movie (Food, Inc.) offers a stomach-turning look at factory farming and slaughterhouses (I highly recommend it).

As an aside on Food, Inc.: The scene that I found most interesting is the one where Joel Salatin, proprietor of Polyface Farm, was slaughtering chickens and talking a mile-a-minute through the process. He was talking about treating the animals with respect, but in the theater where I saw the film, this scene elicited perhaps the most audible shock of the entire movie because you can actually see the animals being slaughtered (contrast this with the secrecy of factory farms and slaughterhouses -- no one is allowed because, as Paul McCartney likes to say, the process would turn everyone vegetarian). Anyway, this scene seemed to shock a lot of people, even though this is poultry slaughter at its most humane. Actually, the scene reminded me of that Sarah Palin interview that she conducted in front of the turkey slaughter; it's worth remembering that most chickens and turkeys have a far more horrific experience in the factory farms that process more than 98% of the birds we eat.

Chris also wanted to share their new video, in which their scientists tell us that if all Americans switched from eating chickens and pigs to eating beans and grains for just one day per week, that would stop as much global warming as if everyone in the U.S. shifted to ultra-efficient Toyota hybrids (which is the weekly equivalent of using 12 billion fewer gallons of gasoline). Of course I have to point out the obvious: If we all stopped eating animals completely and shifted to vegetarian foods, that would save 84 billion gallons of gas per week (and all the troubles that go with that kind of consumption).

I know that some readers will argue that the issue is not the meat industry, but factory farmed meat. But in fact, environmentally, all meat requires exponentially more resources to produce than eating grains and beans, as eloquently discussed in the Audubon Society's magazine a few months back. And all meat contributes to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and so on. Some meat may be "less bad," but according to the science, no meat is good.

And I know that some vegetarians pooh pooh Meatless Monday as not enough. I'm sympathetic to that view, but I think it's unnecessarily strident. For people who think that going totally vegetarian is too challenging, the Meatless Monday campaign offers a gentle entrée into the idea of eating without eating animals. My hope is that people will use the campaign as a stepping stone -- first one meatless day per week, then three, then five, then seven. As we lean into meatless eating -- switching out more and more meat meals for meatless meals -- we end up feeling better, both physically and ethically.

And another point for those who might think that Meatless Monday is not enough: The first family of vegetarianism -- Sir Paul McCartney and his daughters -- recently launched the campaign in the UK. Stella and Mary have been vegetarian since birth, and Paul has been a vegetarian for more than two decades.

For recipes and cooking information, check out the Meatless Monday site. And for tips on making the transition to vegetarian eating, please click here.

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