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Monday, April 27, 2009

The Seal Hunt is Dead! Long Live the Seals!

seal pupThe Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has lost a ship but we are winning the war to save the seals.

On Friday, the European ambassadors approved a European Union proposal to ban imports of furs and all seal products. This moves the 27-nation bloc much closer to the final decision to impose the ban and final approval now is really only a formality.

Canada and Norway are threatening a trade war with Europe but Canada needs trade with Europe far more than Europe needs seal products. Canadians in the non-barbaric industries will not have much patience in losing profits in defense of the slaughter of seals.

Canada and Norway are threatening to take Europe before the World Trade Organization.

However, "Nothing should now stand in the way of this ban being adopted," said an official from the EU's Czech presidency, which brokered a deal this week that will exclude hunts by Inuits. "It needs to go before the European Parliament in May, but that should be a formality because parliament negotiators have already agreed to it informally," the official added.

Canada, Greenland and Namibia account for around 60 percent of the 900,000 seals hunted each year.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote to EU trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton this month arguing that the ban broke the principle of free trade and set a dangerous precedent on the harvesting of renewable resources.

A European official said the Commission believed the plan was "legally sound".

The 15 seal species now hunted are not endangered but European politicians demanded action after finding what they said was evidence that many are skinned while still conscious. The animals are usually first shot or bludgeoned over the head with a spiked club known as a hakapik.

Russia banned the hunting of baby harp seals last month, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called it a "bloody industry".

The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat was seized by the Canadian government in an act of piracy in April 2008 and was auctioned off with secret bids this month without the ship ever having been arrested, charged with any offence, without a court hearing, without a summons and without due process of law.

Apparently the ship was auctioned off on April 21st, but the government has not released any information on who the ship will be given to. Sea Shepherd intends to take legal action against the buyer on the grounds that the Farley Mowat is the property of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and was never legally forfeited.

Sea Shepherd officers Captain Alex Cornelissen and 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt were charged with the "crime" of breaking the Seal Protection Regulations by documenting and witnessing the killing of seal pups.

They are scheduled to appear in court on April 27th but Canadian Immigration officials ordered them deported last April and informed them they are inadmissible to re-enter Canada.

"This is very convenient," said Captain Paul Watson. "Canada will be able to seize $10,000 in bail money and will avoid the embarrassment of the trial and they will accuse our crew of refusing to appear. But they can't appear in court in Canada if they are not allowed to enter Canada."

However despite the hassles and the loss of a ship that the Society was going to retire anyway, the publicity generated by last year's campaign to oppose the sealers helped in convincing the European Parliament to ban seal products and thus the trade-off was well worth the expense and the inconvenience.

"Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war," Said Captain Watson

Meanwhile Canadian politicians are spouting threats and whining like cowardly Nazi's in a bunker as the waves of civilized reform crashes down on the barbaric mindset that has for so long endorsed and applauded the grossly inhumane and savage slaughter of one of the most innocent creatures on the planet - the baby seals.

"These cruel and sadistic baby killers have had their day," Said Captain Watson. "The price of seal pelts has fallen to their lowest levels and soon this obscene industry will go the way of the slave trade, cock-fighting, bear-baiting, and child labour - in short it will go extinct and all of us who have fought our entire lives for this great victory will be grateful for the European nations for realizing this wonderful dream. The seal hunt is dead - long live the seals"

Farley Mowat confiscated