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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Costa Ricans Protest Seal Slaughter

San Jose, Costa Rica: On February 17, 2005, dozens of people protested in front of the Embassy of Canada in Costa Rica to express their concern about the indiscriminate slaughter of hundreds of thousands of harp seals taking place in Canada.

Costa Rica, although a small nation, is internationally recognized for its interest in environmental protection. Protesters carried enlarged photos with bloody shots of hunters killing harp seals.

This protest was in response to the government of Canada's authorized systematic slaughter of more than 300,000 harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and off the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland, Canada.

During the last season, more than 360,000 harp seals were killed.  Highly prestigious organizations have demonstrated scientifically that the cruel slaughter of these animals is unjustified, since they present no problem to the local fishing industry.  Given the infinite ways in which marine organisms interact, it is absurd to suppose that selective "culling" of one species will increase the population of another.

The Costa Rican protestors made the following points clear to Canada:  That this massacre is taking place in Canada, which is a civilized nation, and that the slaughter of almost one million animals in three years is occurring in opposition to the opinion of millions of people all over the world.

For these reasons, an official communiqué was delivered to Mr. Mario Lagüe, Ambassador of Canada in Costa Rica.

Luis Diego Marín Schumacher, President of APREFLOFAS (Asociación Preservacionista de Flora y Fauna Silvestre), said that thousands of people have signed a letter his organization posted some months ago on its website (www.preserveplanet.org), and which was sent to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Ambassador to Costa Rica, demanding an immediate halt of what is the largest massacre of wild animals thus far in the 21st century. Marín also indicated that APREFLOFAS, along with thousands of people throughout the planet, would continue pressure.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is pleased to hear of APREFLOFAS' stance on this issue and welcomes them to join Sea Shepherd and many other organizations on the International Day of Protest Against the Canadian Slaughter of Seals to be held March 15th, 2005, at embassies and consulates around the world.