Ottawa refuses $16M offer to end seal hunt
Thursday, April 06, 2006
OTTAWA -- Ottawa has turned down a U.S. businesswoman's offer of $16-million US to immediately end the controversial east coast seal hunt.
Cathy Kangas, CEO of PRAI Beauty, a U.S.-based beauty products firm, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper Wednesday, outlining her multi-million dollar offer.
"Your government has repeatedly stated that the $16 million US realized from the slaughter of Canadian baby seals is vital to the fishing communities of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and Newfoundland," Kangas wrote.
"If you stop this year's hunt immediately, we will provide you with this US$16 million to be distributed at your discretion."
But Steven Outhouse, a spokesman for Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, said the federal government would not be taking Kangas up on her offer.
"Besides the fact that most within the industry say it's worth more than $16 million . . . and notwithstanding the fact that this is an annual income, I don't know whether she was planning to offer $16 million a year for the next decade or if this was a one-time deal or what have you," he said. "It's our position that this is a legal, regulated hunt. . . . From our perspective, it is a sustainable use of a resource and that's where we stand."
"The short answer is no."
Kangas, an animal rights activist, also offered to work with Canada to institute a buy-back program for existing hunting licences, and to launch a eco-tourism program.
She said she's even willing to travel to Atlantic Canada to meet with fishermen to detail her offer, as she believes they've been misled by Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, who recently defended the centuries-old hunt during a televised debate with former Beatle and animal rights activist Paul McCartney.
"I'd like to meet the fishermen and say, `I know you believe your politicians and Danny Williams but what they're telling you is just not true,' " she said.
"We want to say, `Here we are. Here's a paycheque. Join the other side.' "
The businesswoman is a member of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and an adviser to the Humane Society of the United States. Both organizations are opposed to the seal hunt.
The hunt in the southern gulf ended last week when hunters took just under 20,000 animals.
The second phase of the hunt, in the northern Gulf, starts later this week. The catch limit there is about 70,000 seals.
The largest hunt starts April 12 off northeastern Newfoundland, an area know as the Front. That hunt is expected to land about 230,000 animals - the vast majority of them harp seals.
This year's hunt has drawn criticism from high-profile celebrities like McCartney, Brigitte Bardot and Pamela Anderson.
Meanwhile, three seal hunters missing since Thursday off Quebec's north shore, have been found in good shape.
Lieut. Sonia Connock of the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said the men were hunting in the Ile de Petit Mecatina area and were unaware a search was underway.
Connock said they had a small radio but were out of range and could not be contacted.
"They didn't know that anyone was looking for them," said Connock.
"They could be seen from the shore last night and appeared to be stuck on the ice."
They men were picked up by the Coast Guard vessel Pierre Radisson which was taking them home to Tete a la Baleine, Que.
The Canadian Coast Guard, meanwhile, was monitoring nine sealing vessels stuck in the ice off southern Labrador.
The coast guard said the boats were not in any danger, but an icebreaker will keep watch.
The sealers were off L'Anse-au-Loup in the Strait of Belle Isle.
So a baby seal walks into a club...
F her and her fucked up ideals.
So if you hit a seal on the head and put it between bread???
Does that make a club sammich???