anti fur protest 311.
(photo credit: Sharon Udasin)
On the pavement outside Tel Aviv’s Canadian Embassy on Wednesday afternoon, a
stuffed seal pillow with painted blood running down its face sat amid a circle
of yahrtzeit candles, as members of Israel’s International Anti-Fur Coalition
lit the candles and read brief words of dedication to the thousands of seals
hunted annually in Canada.
“[Canada] defends this moral atrocity by
claiming this as tradition,” said Mitzi Ocean, organizer of the event for the
past four years and a leader of the Anti-Fur Coalition, a group that among other
things, is pushing to get an anti-fur bill drafted by MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima)
through the Knesset.
Over 50 people showed up for the day’s rally, which
Ocean said was taking place in front of Canadian embassies all over the world to
combat the hunting of seals in Canada, whose government the Anti-Fur Coalition
claims is raising the cap of animals allowed to be skinned each
Last year’s cap of 320,000 rose to over 388,200 this year – though
only 65,000 were actually hunted last year, according to Ocean.
Anti-Fur Coalition expressed frustration that the trade is still occurring
despite the fact that 90 percent of Canadian taxpayers oppose the hunt and the
market for seal fur is contracting, as country after country bans the trade –
including the European Union, the United States and Mexico, Ocean
In addition to members of the Anti-Fur Coalition – and a few of
their small children dressed as baby seals – participants in the rally also
included members of the group Anonymous for Animal Rights and a few
representatives from the new haredi animal rights organization
“Canada is wasting huge amount of public funds defending this
barbaric tradition,” Ocean told The Jerusalem Post, noting that this year’s
seal-hunting season began a few weeks ago.
The coalition hopes that
Canada’s Green Party, which denounces the trade, will advance in the country’s
May 2 elections.
But according to the Canadian government, public funds
are not being “wasted” as Ocean claimed – rather, the seasonal trade provides
employment for up to 6,000 people each year and brought in approximately $10
million from seal product exports in 2008, the government said.
Canadian seal harvest is sustainable,” the Canadian government responded in a
“In fact, the Atlantic harp seal population is healthy and
abundant; it is currently estimated at approximately 9 million animals, more
than four times what it was in the 1970s. The harp seal population can easily
support a regulated and responsible harvest such as Canada’s; there is no
conservation reason to end the harvest.”
Meanwhile, in front of the Tel
Aviv embassy, Ocean held up photos of bloody seal cubs, with their mothers
sitting beside them after their deaths, explaining that baby seal fur is viewed
as more valuable than adult fur, and that seals are “actually one of the only
mammals that cry.”
But the Canadian government maintained that its “seal
harvest is guided by rigorous animal welfare principles [that] are based on
recommendations from the Independent Veterinarian Working Group and
internationally recognized by most independent observers.
the regulations is thorough and comprehensive, specifically ensuring adherence
to catch requirements, license conditions, and humane harvesting practices.
Penalties are tough and may include court-imposed fines, and orders to forfeit
catches, gear, boats and licenses,” the statement said.
sealing is about more than fur. It is a way of life for thousands of families
and an industry that values the full use of the animal.”