Text: S.Res.269 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (11/20/2003)

[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. Res. 269 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

  1st Session
S. RES. 269

 Urging the Government of Canada to end the commercial seal hunt that 
                      opened on November 15, 2003.



                           November 20, 2003

 Mr. Levin (for himself and Ms. Collins, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Reed, Mr. 
    Lautenberg, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Jeffords, and Mr. Kennedy) 
submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee 
                          on Foreign Relations



 Urging the Government of Canada to end the commercial seal hunt that 
                      opened on November 15, 2003.

Whereas on November 15, 2003, the Government of Canada opened a commercial hunt 
        on seals in the waters off the east coast of Canada;
Whereas an international outcry regarding the plight of the seals hunted in 
        Canada resulted in the 1983 ban by the European Union of whitecoat and 
        blueback seal skins, and the subsequent collapse of the commercial seal 
        hunt in Canada;
Whereas the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) bars 
        the import into the United States of any seal products;
Whereas in February 2003, the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada 
        authorized the highest quota for harp seals in Canadian history, 
        allowing nearly 1,000,000 seals to be killed over a 3-year period;
Whereas harp seal pups can be legally hunted in Canada as soon as they have 
        begun to molt their white coats at approximately 12 days of age;
Whereas 97 percent of the seals culled in the 2003 slaughter were pups between 
        just 12 days and 12 weeks of age, most of which had not yet eaten their 
        first solid meal or learned to swim;
Whereas a 2001 report by an independent team of veterinarians invited to observe 
        the hunt by the International Fund for Animal Welfare concluded that the 
        seal hunt failed to comply with basic animal welfare regulations in 
        Canada and that governmental regulations regarding humane killing were 
        not being respected or enforced;
Whereas the 2001 veterinary report concluded that as many as 42 percent of the 
        seals studied were likely skinned while alive and conscious;
Whereas the commercial slaughter of seals in the Northwest Atlantic is 
        inherently cruel, whether the killing is conducted by clubbing or by 
Whereas many seals are shot in the course of the hunt, but escape beneath the 
        ice where they die slowly and are never recovered, and these seals are 
        not counted in official kill statistics, making the actual kill level 
        far higher than the level that is reported;
Whereas the commercial hunt for harp and hooded seals is not conducted by 
        indigenous peoples of Canada, but is a commercial slaughter carried out 
        by nonnative people from the East Coast of Canada for seal fur, oil, and 
        penises (used as aphrodisiacs in some Asian markets);
Whereas the fishing and sealing industries in Canada continue to justify the 
        expanded seal hunt on the grounds that the seals in the Northwest 
        Atlantic are preventing the recovery of cod stocks, despite the lack of 
        any credible scientific evidence to support this claim;
Whereas 2 Canadian Government marine scientists reported in 1994 that the true 
        cause of cod depletion in the North Atlantic was over-fishing, and the 
        consensus among the international scientific community is that seals are 
        not responsible for the collapse of cod stocks;
Whereas harp and hooded seals are a vital part of the complex ecosystem of the 
        Northwest Atlantic, and because the seals consume predators of 
        commercial cod stocks, removing the seals might actually inhibit 
        recovery of cod stocks;
Whereas certain ministries of the Government of Canada have stated clearly that 
        there is no evidence that killing seals will help groundfish stocks to 
        recover; and
Whereas the persistence of this cruel and needless commercial hunt is 
        inconsistent with the well-earned international reputation of Canada: 
        Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the Senate urges the Government of Canada to end the 
commercial hunt on seals that opened in the waters off the east coast 
of Canada on November 15, 2003.