Last year the Canadian seal slaughter realized $16 million in income to East Coast seal killers.
This year, Sea Shepherd member and supporter Cathy Kangas has offered $16 million to compensate the sealers if they do not kill seals.
Ms. Kangas, the CEO and Founder of PRAI Beauty a global beauty company, has made the offer in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
"If you stop this year's hunt immediately, we will provide you with the $16 million to be distributed at your discretion," said Kangas.
Ms. Kangas also proposed working with the Canadian government to institute a program to buy back existing fishing licenses and launch a program of eco-tourism in Northeastern Canada to replace the seal hunt. "Canadian fishermen could earn more money serving as park rangers for high end tours to Canada to see the beautiful spectacle of seals giving birth on the ice floes," she noted. She said that whale-watching tours in Canada have been very successful attracting visitors.
"We are providing you with an alternative to what Paul McCartney called 'a stain on the character of the Canadian people.' If this is really simply an economic problem, then take our offer," Ms. Kangas stated in her letter. The money, she pointed out, will be raised from private citizens and animal protection groups worldwide.
Ms. Kangas added, "With the worldwide Boycott of Canadian Seafood, the television coverage of baby seals being clubbed to death for their pelts, and the involvement of high-profile celebrities such as Heather and Paul McCartney and Brigitte Bardot, one would think that Stephen Harper would welcome an economic solution to the seal hunt. We are willing to negotiate in good faith. However, should he choose to ignore my letter and continue with the hunt, we need to ask the world what will it take for Canada to end this barbaric practice?"
Through the Internet and home shopping networks, she created "Beauty With A Cause." Under this program, her company contributes a portion of its proceeds every month to a different animal protection organization.
A copy of Ms. Kangas' letter to Prime Minister Harper is below:
March 21, 2006
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Canada, KIA O42
Dear Prime Minister Harper:
Your government has repeatedly stated that the $16 million realized from the slaughter of Canadian baby seals is vital to the fishing communities of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland. If you stop this year's hunt immediately, we will provide you with this $16 million to be distributed at your discretion.
Furthermore, we will work with your government to institute a program to buy back the fishing licenses and begin a program of eco-tourism in Northeastern Canada, which would replace the seal hunt. Through this program, high-end tour companies, such as Abercrombie & Kent, would provide opportunities for its customers to see the beautiful spectacle of seals giving birth on the ice floes. This could be a whole new source of revenue for the region and fishermen could serve as Park Rangers showing the seals and protecting them.
The eyes of the world will be on Canada when the seal hunt begins. We are providing you with an alternative to what Paul McCartney called "a stain on the character of the Canadian people." If this is really simply an economic problem, then take our offer. The money is being raised from animal protection groups worldwide including The Humane Society of the United States, which alone has more than 9 million members.
We are asking you to negotiate with us in good faith. If we do not hear back from your office before the start of the hunt, we will have no other choice than to take this offer to the Canadian and worldwide media. We are providing the Canadian government with an opportunity to end the seal hunt and provide fishermen with an alternative livelihood. We look forward to discussing this offer with you. I can be reached through my assistant Diane Jacobitti.