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Saturday, April 19, 2003

Iraq's Zoo Animals: Underneath the Cries of Liberty and Horror Another Desperate Sadness

This article from ENS points out some of the horrors that have befallen the Iraqi zoo animal population from the war, as is little talked about in major media (especially pro-war US media), animals are always amongst the major innocents claimed by such human brutality...this because there is a constant war against them regardless, and so they hold the lowest rung amidst prioritizing relief efforts. As I have documented previously, the stories of the animals like Marjan the Lion in the zoos in recent US wars in Kosovo and Afghanistan are amongst the most haunting and truly sad that I have ever heard. The crying wails 30 minutes prior to the bombing runs -- the animals often pick up on the jets and incoming missles long before the human population can -- the stories of insanity and disease, animals starved to death, and nervously biting off their own feet they are so terrorized...only to become target practice for locals if they do survive the tremendous agression of the bombs, or to become a starving person's dinner as the local zoo is transformed in a post-war atmosphere into a supermarket.

The ENS article spins it such that the relief is coming for these animals -- but this is too little too late. We have no reason to feel good about this story. It may be that such groups as the International Fund for Animal Welfare would be better off spending their 25K on the attempt to stop zoos as a cultural norm, and to increase the conservation of original habitats instead...

Posted by Richard
4/19/2003 09:18:17 AM | PermaLink

60 Endangered Manatees Die Off of Florida Coast

Generally speaking, such red tides are caused by agricultural or industrial run-off into streams that feed into the ocean, or by the direct dumping of sewage and related organics (or organic stimulants) into the coastal sea (Boston harbor of the 1980s comes to mind). Florida has repeatedly had this problem, as the state, that is properly a freshwater/salt marsh everglades throughout its entire southern half, has drained and retrograded those wetlands for a farmland that washes its fertilizer, etc., directly into the Gulf. Sadly, Florida is not the only coastal region in America with siginficant toxicity, with a majority of the US coastal waters dangerously polluted. Here's an archived post that links some of this from Florida's Black Tide catastrophe of last year.
MIAMI (Reuters) — A toxic red tide has killed at least 60 endangered manatees along the southwest Florida coast in the last two months, the second-largest mass death of sea cows blamed on the deadly algae bloom, state biologists said Thursday.

The deaths, caused by a huge red tide stretching from Venice to Marco Island, represent about 2 percent of the Florida manatee population.

In 1996 a red tide was blamed for 149 manatee deaths, most of them during a six-week period in March and April.

The Florida manatee, a leathery aquatic mammal averaging about 10 feet in length and weighing 1,000 pounds, dates back at least 45 million years. It has hovered on the edge of extinction for years, despite having no natural enemies.

Population surveys done in January indicated there were about 3,000 manatees in Florida coastal waters. According to state statistics, 305 died in 2002 and about 120 died in the first three months of this year.

The Florida Marine Research Institute said 60 manatee deaths between Feb. 27 and April 15 were caused by red tide. The animals were all found along the southwest Florida coast.

The one-celled organism that causes red tide contains a brevetoxin released into the water when the algae dies.

"They can ingest the toxins when they eat or they can inhale the toxins when they come to the surface to breathe," said Tom Pitchford, a wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "Once the toxin is in the animal, it affects their coordination and causes a paralysis."

Six manatees that scientists know of survived the red tide. Two were helped by people who held their heads above water as they recovered from the effects of paralysis, while four others were being treated at marine sanctuaries.

Pitchford said the red tide this year was unlikely to cause as many deaths as the one in 1996 because manatees had already started to disperse from warm-water areas where they concentrate in the winter by the time the algae bloom began.

Florida's population of beloved sea cows has long been the focus of battles between conservationists and the boating industry. Dozens of manatees are killed each year by boats, which crush or gash the slow-moving animals as they rise to the surface to breathe.

The state has enacted restricted speed zones in Florida waterways and other protection measures fought by the industry.

Posted by Richard
4/19/2003 09:06:55 AM | PermaLink

 
Friday, April 18, 2003

Luntzspeak.com

The following was released 4/17 by the National Environmental Trust:

Are you a member of the Republican leadership or even, possibly, the President of the United States? Is your record on the environment terrible? Is that terrible record making you dread the fast approaching Earth Day like a visit to the dentist? Then maybe it's time you visited LUNTZSPEAK.COM!

LuntzSpeak is the exciting (some would say "sneaky") new way to spin your anti-environmental record, and it has been widely embraced by the Administration and some Republicans in Congress. That's why the National Environmental Trust created LuntzSpeak.Com: so that anyone can learn LuntzSpeak and recognize it when they see it in a press release or hear it in a speech.

go to: http://www.mapcruzin.com/news/greenwash041903a.htm for entire press release. Luntzspeak is good for an eye-opening laugh amidst the shock and awfulness.

Posted by Richard
4/18/2003 08:15:06 AM | PermaLink

 
Thursday, April 17, 2003

European Resource Centre for Alternatives to Using Animals in Higher Education

What is EURCA?

EURCA actively promotes the use of alternatives to using animals in higher education (HE). We aim to provide a mechanism for effective dissemination of information about alternatives to using animals in HE.

Their database of alternative approaches (which is in the building stages) won't please people who object to animal lab science, etc., not just on humane grounds but at the level of the entire worldview which produces and supports it. However, it is useful to point out and archive the ways and means in which animal testing and vivisection are no longer necessary and can be outmoded by any number of simulations.

Posted by Richard
4/17/2003 09:40:43 AM | PermaLink

4000 Monkeys Sacrificed at Fort Detrick for Weaponized Anthrax

At Ft Detrick in Frederick Maryland, 4000 monkeys were sacrificed in 1 weaponized anthrax experiment alone, said an employee who was interviewed on Walter Cronkite's PBS Armageddon series.

The experiment was geared to what level of weaponized anthrax needed to be used to kill 50% of test monkeys.

Experimentation upon primates (vivisection and experimentation in general!) needs to be abolished immediately -- to not take a stand on this clear moral and ethical wrong is akin to turning one's back on such modern abuses as the slave trade and the denial of rights to women.

The following photos -- taken from recent Russian tests upon monkeys -- serve to highlight the cruel barbarism to this practice:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/030415/170/3t6f2.html

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/030415/170/3t6ep.html

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/030415/170/3t6h0.html

Posted by Richard
4/17/2003 09:32:08 AM | PermaLink

 
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

New Urbanism is Growth By Another Name

It's hard to tell whether New Urbanism best fits the definition of a cult or a conspiracy. It has elements of both. Either way, my advice is not to drink the Kool-Aid. Embracing a politically correct excuse for growth is suicide for the West's small towns. New Urbanism is the name given to a collection of ideas about land-use planning and architectural design as exemplified by a book called Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. It seeks to recreate the "traditional neighborhoods" once common in American cities and that are still a feature of many urban areas whose layouts predate the automobile.

By Bill Roberts, at: http://www.tidepool.org/original_content.cfm?articleid=73421

Posted by Richard
4/16/2003 10:15:31 AM | PermaLink

Vegetarian Nutrition Resource List

Surfing around I came across this list put together by the Federal Government -- the USDA to be exact -- on vegan/vegetarian nutrition. They claim it is updated to May 2002. I would be interested if anyone spots anything that is clearly biased or outdated...

At: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/pubs/bibs/gen/vegetarian.htm

Posted by Richard
4/16/2003 10:13:00 AM | PermaLink

 
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Operation End Extremism" in Effect by Republicans -- Attempt to Bar the Environmental Regulations on Military

The Republican staff of the US Senate's environment committee have taken it into their own hands to combat what they see as a threat to the US military: environmental regulations.

They have even given their efforts a militaristic moniker: the catchy "Operation End Extremism". The five-week-old campaign - whose main weapon is e-mail - underscores the controversy surrounding efforts to insulate the US military from environmental lawsuits.

Last month, the Defense Department asked Congress to "clarify" environmental regulations governing marine mammals, toxic waste, air quality and endangered species. The Pentagon says vague legal definitions leave it vulnerable to legal challenges, damaging its ability to train soldiers.

As the Pentagon has devoted most of its efforts in recent months to Iraq, the baton appears to have passed to James Inhofe, the Republican chairman of the environment committee. Employing an unusual tactic for a committee, Mr Inhofe's staff send periodic e-mails to journalists offering sentence-by-sentence rebuttals of environmental groups' criticisms of the Pentagon's request.

"The environmental movement has lots and lots of money and has been very good at reaching out to the public," said Mike Catanzaro, an aide to Mr Inhofe. "We thought that we needed to get our message out there to counter some of their distortions."

The debate about environmental exemptions for the military is all the more contentious because of the timing. Congress broadly rejected a similar request by the military last year. Now, with the US military engaged in Iraq and other places across the world, the Pentagon says there is a more acute need to reduce limitations on combat training. "There's a wave of pending legislation that we do see as a threat," says Benedict Cohen, deputy general counsel at the defence department. "We don't want to wait until there is a train wreck."

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental campaigning group which comes under heavy fire in "Operation End Extremism", accuses the defence department of taking advantage of the prevailing patriotic winds.

"Unfortunately, the Pentagon seems to be exploiting the situation in Iraq," says Rob Perks of NRDC. "Existing laws already allow national security to trump environmental concerns, so they don't need new, sweeping exemptions. And they've never proven that the laws even constrain military training. The Pentagon is using classic Bush administration Orwellian logic."

Some senior Democrats agree. "We can protect our environment and protect our people at the very same time," says Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic presidential contender, who is a vocal critic of the Bush administration's environmental policies.

"We can defend the red, white and blue - and be green at the same time."

One of the contentious issues involves the Marine Mammal Protection Act, designed to protect whales, dolphins and other cetaceans. The changes sought by the Pentagon would allow it to test sonar equipment with less fear of lawsuits. But environmentalists question the need for change.

"The navy is (already) entitled to seek exemptions to MMPA but has never invoked them," says Gerry Leape, vice-president for marine conservation at National Environment Trust. "In fact, it has admitted that the MMPA has never impeded the readiness to date."

In some ways, the dispute about the Pentagon's request to Congress mirrors the debate about what level of pre-emption is needed to deal with member countries of the "axis of evil".

"The MMPA changes are critically important," write Mr Inhofe's staff. "Without them, the navy's ability to employ sonar that detects quiet diesel submarines, used by rogue states such as Iran and North Korea, would be dangerously impaired."

One of the more confusing elements is the apparent U-turn by the US Environmental Protection Agency. In February, Christie Todd Whitman, the agency's administrator, said: "I don't believe that there is a training mission anywhere in the country that is being held up or not taking place because of an environmental protection regulation." But last month Ms Whitman appeared to reverse course, saying she was "very comfortable" with the Pentagon's proposals.

Traces of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks can be found all over the debate. The Pentagon says that despite its "superior performance in Afghanistan", it still requires clarifications to the environmental laws.

"We must be ready to face evolving threats, many of which call for different skills than required in Afghanistan," the Pentagon says. "The Department of Defense faces an increasing challenge in this regard from the cumulative effect of urbanisation and the increasing application of environmental restrictions on military readiness activities."

By: Demetri Sevastopulos, Financial Times

Posted by Richard
4/15/2003 07:06:41 AM | PermaLink

Orangutan Habitat Threatened by Palm Oil Trade

Malaysia is worried about the economic impact of a campaign by Western non-governmental organisations seeking protection for orangutans whose habitat, they say, is being threatened by oil palm plantations.

The groups claim that forests in the region are being cleared to make way for bigger palm plantations, thus reducing the orangutans' habitat. While the campaign's main focus is Indonesia, Malaysia is affected as its territory includes the orangutans' habitat on the Malaysian part of Borneo, and local firms are expanding plantations into Indonesian territory.

The Malaysian government has decided that the campaign could affect consumer perception on palm oil.

Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik sees the campaign to save orangutans as a "smear campaign" that is being waged against the palm oil industry and Malaysia would oppose any move linking trade with environmental issues.

He has even related the campaign to save orangutans to a campaign some years ago that claimed soy bean was healthier to consume than palm oil.

From: New Strait Times Press (Malaysia)

Posted by Richard
4/15/2003 06:57:02 AM | PermaLink

Hunger Crisis in Africa

Listed below are the estimates of people needing emergency food aid in Africa, according to the World Food Programme.

Ethiopia: Food is short because of prolonged drought; 14 million people need food aid to avoid starvation.

Eritrea: Severe food shortages from two years of drought; one million people need aid to avoid starvation.

Sudan: Recurrent drought and civil war have caused food shortages; 2.9 million people threatened with starvation.

Angola: 1.9 million people in danger from food shortages resulting from drought and prolonged civil war, aggravated by corruption. International Monetary Fund says US$900 million (RM3.4 billion) of public money disappeared in 2001, three times the value of humanitarian aid supplied this year.

Zambia: The government has declared a national disaster after severe drought caused total crop failure in the south and grain production last year fell 30 per cent; 2.3 million people need food aid.

Zimbabwe: Food shortages from drought and government seizure of most white-owned commercial farms; seven million people need aid.

Mozambique: Prolonged drought and two years of devastating floods in some areas created food shortages; 500,000 people need aid.

Malawi: President Bakili Maluzi declared an emergency in February because of food shortages, worsened by the sale of grain reserves in 2001; 3.2 million people threatened by famine.

Lesotho: A poor harvest after another year of severe weather; Southern African Development Community says 650,000 people, a third of the population, need aid.

Swaziland: Erratic weather blamed for second year of food shortages; 250,000 people, or 25 per cent of the population, need aid.

Western Sahel: Drought and repeated poor harvests have left 600,000 people short of food in Mauritania, Gambia, Mali, Senegal and Cape Verde.

Great Lakes Region: Drought and civil war have created food shortages in Congo, the Republic of Congo and Uganda; three million people need food.

West Africa: Poor harvests and civil war have created food shortages in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Liberia; 741,000 people need food. - (AP)

Posted by Richard
4/15/2003 06:54:40 AM | PermaLink

Farmers Put Live Chickens in Wood Chippers

Two California poultry farmers who fed some 30,000 live chickens into wood chippers will not face criminal charges because they had permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, prosecutors said on Friday.

But a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States called the farmers "callous and barbaric" and disagreed with the decision not to prosecute them.

The farmers needed to destroy the chickens because they were "spent" -- or no longer able to produce eggs -- and could not make chicken soup out of them because the farms were under quarantine for the poultry virus Exotic Newcastle Disease, District Attorney's spokeswoman Gayle Stewart said.

Stewart said the men, who run a poultry farm near San Diego, asked a senior veterinarian with the Agriculture Department if they could employ the wood chippers and were given permission.

"Once they had permission we decided that they did not have any criminal intent," Stewart said.

Brothers Arie and Will Wilgenburg, who run Escondido-based Ward Poultry Farm, could not be reached for comment on Friday. Earlier, they told the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper that they were doing "what we thought we had to do" based on expert advice and stopped as soon as they learned otherwise.

Wayne Pacelle, a spokesman for the Humane Society, said that explanation was unacceptable.

"The act of feeding live chickens into a wood chipper is an extraordinarily callous and barbaric act and I can't imagine any person with a whit of common sense would use a wood chipper as a killing tool," he said. "No person with any experience in killing animals would sanction the use of this technique."

Pacelle said the District Attorney's decision not to prosecute the brothers rested on the "faulty assumption" that using wood chippers to kill chickens was an accepted practice.

At: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=573&ncid=757&e=1&u=/nm/20030414/od_nm/odd_chickens_dc

Posted by Richard
4/15/2003 06:13:33 AM | PermaLink

 
Monday, April 14, 2003

The U.S. Military's War on the Earth

In this era of "permanent war," the U.S. war machine bombards civilians in places like Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It also makes "war on the Earth," both at home and abroad. The U.S. Department of Defense is, in fact, the world's largest polluter, producing more hazardous waste per year than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. Washington's Fairchild Air Force Base, the number one producer of hazardous waste among domestic military bases, generated over 13 million pounds of waste in 1997(more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower's iron structure). Oklahoma's Tinker Air Force Base, the top toxic waste emitter, released over 600,000 pounds in the same year (the same amount of water would cover an entire football field about two inches deep).

Just about every U.S. military base and nuclear arms facility emits toxics into the environment. At many U.S. military target ranges, petroleum products and heavy metals used in bombs and bullets contaminate the soil and groundwater. And since the Pentagon operates its bases as "federal reservations," they are usually beyond the reach of local and state environmental regulations. Local and state authorities often do not find out the extent of the toxic contamination until after a base is closed down.

At: http://www.unobserver.com/index.php?pagina=layout5.php&id=825&blz=1, by Bob Feldman

Posted by Richard
4/14/2003 08:44:42 AM | PermaLink

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age -- Bill McKibben

There will be a conversation in San Francisco on April 30 w/ McKibben and other leading experts in trans-genetics and social life on the dangers of a genetically-modified future. McKibben is apparently on a press tour for his new book (blurb below)...

I like Bill McKibben and it goes without saying that what is happening right now with the state and corporate implementation of trans-genes in plants and animals -- much of which goes on virtually (or actually) in secret and beyond democratic discussion or ethical mandate -- is one of the chief dangers of our danger-ridden age. However, as we read below, that ecologists and environmentalists will respond to this danger by voicing "the human" as a territory to defend is both reactionary and wrong-headed.

What is this "human" that is being defended, we might wonder? If it is the genetic species, then we know via Darwin (the creator of the "species" in some sense) that it lacks an "essence" and has always been morphing and changing under the requirements of evolution. On the other hand, if what is being defended is a human essence that is interior -- akin to the moral teachings of Humanism -- then we must realize that this figure of the "human" is a social construction that is linked up with thousands of years of oppression based on race, class, gender and "species." This "human" was erected on top of the animal as a social class to which Eurocentered male rulers could identify as they sought to promote the imperial extension of their culture over nature. Thus, the Humanist voicing of civilization as the making of a "second nature" which is better than the first. I cover this in-depth in my piece on Paideia and Humanitas and also somewhat in my piece on Paulo Freire (whom I also critique as unfortunately relying upon humanism as a radical cure).

So McKibben is simply wrong here, though his fear is right. We don't need a human against the post-human. We need the post-human -- not as the genetically engineered continuance of a future human, but as the passing of "the human." Ecologically, we need to deconstruct everything we've come to know and identify as being human, so that we can re-engage the world on more equitable terms.
From the best-selling author of The End of Nature comes a passionate plea to limit the technologies that could change the very definition of who we are. We are on the verge of crossing the line from born to made, from created to built. Sometime in the next few years, a scientist will reprogram a human egg or sperm cell, spawning a genetic change that could be passed down into eternity. We are sleepwalking toward the future, argues Bill McKibben, and it’s time to open our eyes.

In The End of Nature , nearly fifteen years ago, McKibben demonstrated that humanity had begun to irrevocably alter—and endanger—our environment on a global scale. Now he turns his eye to an array of technologies that could change our relationship not with the rest of nature but with ourselves. He explores the frontiers of genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnology—all of which we are approaching with astonishing speed—and shows that each threatens to take us past a point of no return.

We now stand at a critical threshold, poised between the human past and a post-human future. Ultimately, McKibben offers a celebration of what it means to be human, and a warning that we risk the loss of all meaning if we step across the threshold. His wise and eloquent book argues that we cannot forever grow in reach and power—that we must at last learn how to say, “Enough.”

Posted by Richard
4/14/2003 08:40:10 AM | PermaLink

Interview w/ Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

What this article doesn't mention is that Mr. Kennedy was torn apart by Fox news conservative pundit Sean Hannity some weeks back when he brought his anti-Bush environmental politics to a national audience. Hannity asked Kennedy why he was supporting the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound -- an elitist organization of Cape Codders who are fighting to stop the erection of sustainable wind turbines off the MA coast? RFK didn't have an answer -- clearly this was a case of the liberal "Yes! But not in my backyard!" That view from the Hyannisport mansion wouldn't be worth nearly as much with turbines whirling in the distance. It was also pointed out that though he is on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is (correctly I might add) on a campaing of "SUVs are un-American" due to their unsustainable use of energy and the pollution they create, he himself drives a Caravan. Further, Hannity asked him about the fuel efficiency of his private jet and the frequency of its use -- which apparently is quite frequent and the gas mileage worse than Ford's worst gas-guzzler. RFK responded weakly after saying repeatedly that this is not the issue that "he wouldn't buy a new one."

No offense Robert -- thanks for the work but liberal hypocrisy is not what either the movement or the planet needs right now. In fact, one's lifestyle in these matters is VERY MUCH THE ISSUE. A century of top-down party and corporate leadership has so perverted the mass consciousness that people ubiquitously act in ruinous and murderous fashion without ever giving it so much as a single thought. There has been a complete breakdown of the moral voice that connects person up to world, and this has systematically been replaced with advertising mobilizing a disempowered consumer identity.

I support legislation that will move away from the radical deregulation strategies of the criminal Bush administration, certainly. But this is only a stop gap towards the real project -- that is empowering each and every one of us (and perhaps it must begin with the leadership who are voicing these themes?) to reclaim our ecological heritage and live in peace, harmony and beauty with the wonderous planet. I understand and accept that there is not one of us that is not presently embodying some form of hypocrisy in these matters...the call is to "Get Vegan" not "Be Vegan"...this is about the process of getting well, and making a better world -- not proclaiming a holier than though eco-fascism. This is about a radically democratic eco-democracy.

But when our errors are paraded before others, let us have the intelligence and courage to admit and accept them. Let us learn from them, and so transform them. We should honor our failings by constantly acknowledging them. I don't see RFK doing this -- he's too much the Kennedy politician I fear...

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the environmental movement's 800-pound gorilla, parachuting into trouble spots throughout the Americas, equally adept at pulling celebrity connections and successfully suing corporate polluters. A senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and president of the Water Keeper Alliance, Kennedy is the third child of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated on Jun. 5, 1968. He spoke with IPS in an exclusive interview.

At: http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=17483


Posted by Richard
4/14/2003 08:22:27 AM | PermaLink

 
Sunday, April 13, 2003

Public Commenting on Environmental Legislation

The EPA now has a more public forum for public commenting they call the Docket (http://cascade.epa.gov/RightSite/dk_public_open_for_comment.htm?rbObjectType=dk_docket_collection&hdOrder=). Regulations or proposed regulations are announced in the Federal Register (http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/), which is searchable by day and type of legislation; but the Docket allows public comments to be posted, as well as, for finding important documents associated with the issue for further reading.

Posted by Richard
4/13/2003 02:46:37 PM | PermaLink

Truck Hauling Uranium Overturns -- In Related Story, State and Federal Officials Selling Bridges to Public Eager to Buy

I am reminded of the Iraqi military general in Bagdhad the other day, as bombs exploded all around him and small arms fire could be heard in the near distance, "That the Americans have entered the city is a lie. In fact, some did try to enter the city, but they were quickly repelled by the advanced fighting units -- we slaughtered them and took virtually no casualties...these bombs and explosions now? Er, these are NOT American munitions, but rather Iraqi victory celebrations...yes, that's the ticket!"

A truck hauling uranium hexafluoride to North Carolina overturned Thursday on Interstate 40 in Roane County, but state emergency officials said the radioactive material poses no threat to the public. "All five containers are completely closed...

At: http://newsobserver.com/nc24hour/ncnews/story/2429012p-2260215c.html

Posted by Richard
4/13/2003 07:36:15 AM | PermaLink

New Video Footage Documents Canada Seal Hunt Horrors, Conservationists Worldwide Called to Action

Graphic, new video and still imagery released today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW-www.ifaw.org) documents horrific acts of cruelty by Canadian sealers as they carry out the government sanctioned killing of 350,000 seals this year alone.

The images, shot by professional news photographers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, show the brutal killing of seal pups, most barely three weeks old, by Newfoundland and Magdalen Island sealers - with such cruel and illegal techniques as skinning or bleeding the seals alive and injuring large groups of seals with blows to the head before killing them.

In the last five years, IFAW has submitted evidence such as this of more than 660 probable violations of Canada's Marine Mammal Regulations that govern the hunt to the Canadian government. Not a single charge has been laid in response, despite the overwhelming evidence.

"This footage flies in the face of Canadian Fisheries Minister Robert Thibault's pledge to 'ensure the seal hunt is conducted humanely'," said IFAW seal campaigner Rebecca Aldworth. "In the five years that I have witnessed the Canadian commercial seal hunt first-hand, I have never seen such inhumane actions."

This year, photographers were permitted to come within 15 meters of sealers, allowing unprecedented documentation of the tortuous techniques used by the sealers.

"I saw this hunt from a very close range," said Aldworth, who grew up in Newfoundland, and traveled with the photographic team. "Many seal pups showed signs they were still responding to pain while they were being sliced open. It was just horrific to watch. We must end this massive and cruel commercial hunt."

In addition to the condemnation over the way the seals are killed, the Government of Canada received global criticism earlier this year when it announced plans to cull nearly one million seal pups over the next three years - the highest quota in history, for this, the world's largest marine mammal hunt.

Please join IFAW's Save the Seal campaign today by visiting www.ifaw.org, where you can take immediate action and make a real difference by sending letters to government officials, creating your own campaign website, and even get a chance to see the seals for yourself.

Editor notes:

Souce: Speaking notes for the Honourable Robert G. Thibault, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Ottawa, Ontario, February 3, 2003. Full text available at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/speech/2003/20030203_e.htm

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell
Associate Director of Global Media & Communications
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
jfm@ifaw.org

Web site:
www.ifaw.org

Posted by Richard
4/13/2003 07:24:09 AM | PermaLink