More than 50 Chinese organizations sign open letter to Canadian Senate
More than 50 Chinese environment and animal protection groups, representing tens of millions of supporters, have sent an open letter to the Canadian Senate, calling on Canada to respect Chinese values and stop exporting seal products to China. The open letter comes just a few weeks before the Senate considers whether to advance S-210, a bill to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada, to third reading.
“We are writing to the Senate because we are disappointed in the Canadian government,” said Madame Qin Xiaona, director of Beijing’s Capital Animal Welfare Association. “We want Canadian Senators to realize that Ottawa’s promotion of seal products in China is unwise and short-sighted. It has caused irreparable damage to Canada’s reputation in China. Our campaign against seal product trade will continue until the Canadian government ceases its efforts to promote these products of cruelty in China.”
“The Canadian government’s promotion of seal products to China tarnishes its image as a developed democracy,” said Sun Jiang, professor at Northwest China University of Law and Politics. “China in recent years is exploring ways to improve animal protection through legislative efforts. Canadian promotion of inhumanely sourced products to China shows Ottawa’s arrogance and reveals that the Canadian government is out of touch with the latest developments in China. While we call on Canada to be sensitive to the feelings of the Chinese people, we urge the Chinese authorities to legislate against the import of products of animal cruelty.”
“Despite the millions of taxpayers’ dollars spent by the Canadian government to promote seal products in Southeast Asia, China has failed to emerge as a significant market for seal products,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. “Chinese animal protection and environmental groups are more determined than ever to make sure their country does not become a dumping ground for these products.”
Canada’s two largest trading partners, the United States and the 27 member nations of the European Union, have banned trade in products from commercial seal slaughters. Last year, the Russian federation, Belarus and Kazakhstan prohibited trade in harp seal fur, the primary product of the Canadian seal slaughter.
With global markets for seal products closing fast, HSI/Canada calls on the Canadian government to support a federal buyout of the commercial sealing industry. Such a plan would compensate fishermen for any lost income as the seal slaughter comes to an end, and invest in developing economic alternatives in the communities involved.