A deal for the seal

Published: Saturday 15 June 1996

IN A move that has raised eyebrows among animal rights activists, Canada called off the seal hunt on its east coast a few weeks ago. The opponents of the hunt suspect that the decision was taken because hunters had exceeded their quotas. The official explanation is that hunters had shot nearly their entire quota in record time, aided by favourable ice conditions. The department of fisheries and oceans (DFO) had launched the seal hunt claiming that their growing numbers were threatening the population of cods. Meanwhile, the quotas for seal hunters and subsidies for seal meat were increased.

The DFo apparently stopped the hunt when it was found that the hunters had killed at least 16,500 of the less common hooded seals, more than double the quota. The hunting figures for the more numerous harp seals stood at 120,000. According to Arthur Cady of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the cutting short of the hunt indicated that "The sealers were obviously out of control".

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