Senate Bill to Ban Seal Hunt Challenged

May 2, 2012 Updated: May 4, 2012

Liberal Senator Mac Harb is facing renewed opposition to his bill in the Senate to end the commercial seal hunt.

“After millions of dollars being wasted over the years to prop up and defend the dying commercial hunt, it became clear that only by formally ending the hunt would the government shift its focus to the issues of compensation, retraining, and investment in other industries required to transition those involved into more viable employment,” writes Harb in a recent op-ed defending his legislation.

The Canadian sealing industry, however, lambasted the bill on Tuesday.

“Mr. Harb’s claims are unfounded. The Canadian sealing industry is very much alive and well,” said Dion Dakins, chair of the Seals and Sealing Network.

“Consumer demand remains strong. And with positive results at the WTO and the European General Court, we feel there will be a level trading field for seal products.”

The network says that between 2005 and 2011, over US$70 million worth of seal products were exported to 35 countries. Meanwhile, the price for seal pelts has increased from $15 a pelt in 2009 to $20-$25 a pelt in 2010 and 2011, and $32 in 2012.