Text: H.Res.427 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in House (07/30/2007)

H. Res. 427

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

July 30, 2007.  

    Whereas on November 15, 2006, the Government of Canada opened a commercial hunt for 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 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 more than 1,000,000 seals have been killed over the past 3 years;

    Whereas harp seal pups can legally be hunted in Canada as soon as they have begun to molt their white coats at approximately 12 days of age;

    Whereas 95 percent of the seals killed over the past 5 years were pups between just 12 days and 12 weeks of age, many of which had not yet eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim;

    Whereas a 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 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 shooting;

    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 a commercial slaughter carried out almost entirely by non-Native 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 two 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 House of Representatives urges the Government of Canada to end the commercial hunt on seals.



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